Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy


Eva Catafygiotu Topping

Heroines and Haloes


13The first major feast of the liturgical calendar. Because Mary's sainthood requires special treatment it cannot be discussed in this essay.
14Nikodemos l, 79 and Neon Martyrologion 3rd ed. (Athens, 1961), 86-188. In addition to Akylina and Philothee of Athens (February 19), the best known female neo-martyr, there are other women who remained faithful to Orthodoxy even unto death.
15From a hymn sung On September l in their honor, published in Menaia tou holou eniautou, 6 vols. (Rome, 1888-1901), I, 15. Hereafter cited as MR.
16Nikodemos, I, 83-86.
17Ibid., 5.
18Published for the first time in Analecta Hymnica Graeca, ed. Shiro, I: Canones Septembris, ed. A.D. Gonzato (Rome, 19|66), 41-51. Hereafter cited as AHG I
19Ibid., 46, 51
20Ibid., 48
21Ibid., 45.
22Nikodemos, 1, 54-55. See also the hymns in MR I, 210-219.
23Nikodemos does not mention her and her sons; but see the hymns in AHG I, 168-177 and the commentary, 423.426. Prokopios the hymnographer mentions a church built in their honor (AHG I, 175), thus suggesting the existence of a cult.
24Nikodemos, I, 48-49
25Ibid., 29-30. See MR I, 116-122 for the hymn to this trio of fourth-century female martyrs, composed by St. Joseph, the distinguished ninth-century hymnographer.
26Nikodemos, I 63-64. For the hymns of her feast day see MR I, 238-246.
27E.C. Topping,"Thekla the Nun: In Praise of Woman," Greek Orthodox Theological Review 25 (1980), 353-370.
28Anatolios, St. Andrew of Crete and Ioannes Monachos are among writers of hymns to Thekla.
29For example, Basil, Bishop of Seleukia (c. 440-459), PG 85, 477-617.
30Translated by A.J. Festugiere, 0.P., Sainte Thecle, Saints Come et Damien. . . (Paris, 1971), 81-82
31Nikodemos, I 47. For the hymns of her feast day see MR I, 178-187.
32See C. Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453: >Sources and Documents (Englewood. NJ, 1972).
33From the canon to Euphemia by Ioannes Monachos, MR I, 185.A
34Nikodemos, I, 4, merely lists her name along with a distich. Her sainthood derives primarily from her motherhood. Her famous son, by contrast, is praised by Nikodemos in 2 long columns.;Mother and son are celebrated on the same day.
35Ibid., 4
36Nikodemos, I, 114-116, assigns the feast of Andronikos and Athanasia to October 9, although other authorities give September 18 as the date.
37Nikodemos, 1, 64, relates how Euphrosyne revealed her true sex and identity on her death bed. For 38 years her father had been searching for his lost daughter. As she lay dying he came to her monastery. When she saw him, she said, "Father," her last word. Whereupon the old man followed his daughter's example and "forsook the world." Hosios Paphnoutios is celebrated on the same day as his daughter.
38For a description of Theodora's triumphs over Satan see Nikodemos, I, 32. She is sometimes identified with Amma Theodora who is quoted in the Apophthegmata Patrum. For the text of these sayings of the desert mother see P. K. Chrestou, Apophthegmata Geronton (Thessalonike, 1978), 288-293.
39Nikodemos, I, 306, assigns her feast to December, although the Synaxarium ;Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, 58-59, dates it to September l9, Preserved in 6 manuscripts, the hymn to St. Susanna by St. Joseph the Hymnographer is found in AHG I, 269-279 with commentary, 443.
40Nikodemos, I, 306.
41From the numerous examples of this attitude expressed in the hymns and in the church fathers I refer to a few; AHG I, 272, 276; Nikodemos, I, 22, 32. 65.
42These 3 "women->monks" are not unique. Among others, Hosia Anastasia the Patrikia (March 10, Nikodemos, II, 25-27); Hosia Maria (February 12, Nikodemos, II, 415) and Hosiopartheno-martys Eugenia (December 24, Nikodemos, I, 333-334) illustrate women's internalization of the masculine ideal.
43She is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, See E. C. Topping, "St Photeine, the Woman at the Well," The Churchwoman 49 (Winter 1983-84, 23-24.
44Nikodemos, II, 278-280.
45Nikodemos, I, 62-63, 7.
46Polyxena's career follows the model of team work by a male and female apostle, first recorded in Romans 16:3, 7.
47See above Heroines3 - St Thekla and notes 26, 27. 28.
48See, for example, MR I, 239, 245
49Nikodemos, I. 16-17
50AHG I, 88-97, with commentary, 412-413.
51Ibid., 89, 90, 96.
52Ibid., 89.
53Ibid., 89, 90, 92.
54Ibid., 89.
55Ibid., 91.
Addendum. For Mariamne see E. C. Topping, "St. Joseph the Hymnographcr and St. Mariamne Isapostolos," Byzantina 13 (1985), 1034-1052.