16. S. Mamantis
, styled in the MSS. of his works, νέος θεολόγος
, ἡγούμενος μόνης τον̂ ἁγίου Μάμαντος τοῦ ξηροκέρκου
, NOVUS THEOLOGUS (or THEOLOGUS JUNIOR) ET HEGUMENUS (s. ABBAS) MONASTERII S. MAMANTIS IN XEROCERCO, or, as some correct it, τοῦ ξυλοκέρκου
, IN XYLOCERCO. His title " Theologus" indicates his eminence as a writer on divinity; and the epithet " Novus" or " Junior" was evidently added to distinguish him from some other ecclesiastic, perhaps from Gregory Nazianzen, to whom at a much earlier period the title " Theologus" was given ; or more probably to distinguish him from some other Symeon, either Symeon Metaphrastes [No. 22] or Symeon the Pious [No. 24].
The time at which this writer flourished has been much disputed ; but the facts of his history enable us to assign him to the latter half of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century.
He was born about the middle of the tenth century, of wealthy and noble parents, named Basil and Theophano, at a place called Galate in Paphlagonia; and was sent at an early age, for his education, to Constantinople, where his relatives held high stations at the Byzantine court. His precocious attainments inspired the highest hopes of his family, and he was introduced by an uncle to the notice of the imperial brothers Basil II. and Constantine IX., apparently at the time when they were yet in their boyhood, and were emperors in name only, the reins of empire being really held successively by Nicephorus Phocas (A. D. 963-969) and John Tzimisces (A. D. 969-975).
After the sudden death of the uncle by whom he had been introduced at court, Symeon determined, though only fourteen years of age, to embrace a monastic life; but the monk Symeon the Pious (Σνμεὼν ὁ εὐλαβής
), or as Combéfis styles him, " Venerabilis," the Venerable [No. 24], whom he had chosen for his spiritual guide and father, having advised him to defer his purpose, he returned for a time to the house of his deceased uncle.
At a somewhat later period he commenced his noviciate in the Monastery of Studium at Constantinople; but was induced by the envy of the abbot and some of the monks, excited by his pre-eminence in monastic practices, to remove to the Monastery of St. Mamas, where he completed his noviciate, and, in course of time, became abbot and was ordained presbyter.
This was some time in the patriarchate of Nicolaus Chrysoberges, who was patriarch of Constantinople from A. D. 982 to 996.
After some years Symeon, who had experienced trouble and danger from the turbulence of some recusant monks, resigned the abbacy, and devoted himself to the composition of works of piety. His literary labours attracted the approving notice of Sergius II., who held the patriarchate from A. D. 999 to 1019 or 1020 : but this must have been quite in the early part of the patriarchate of Sergius, who was soon alienated from Symeon by the instrumentality of his syncellus, Stephanus, archbishop of Nicomedeia, a man of learning and eloquence, who was jealous of Symeon.
The charge against Symeon was, that he paid unauthorized honour to the memory of his spiritual father, Symeon the Pious, who was now dead; and to whom our Symeon paid the honours due to a canonized saint.
In consequence of this difference Symeon, after six years of persecution, was banished from his monastery, and from Constantinople, by the patriarch and synod.
This punishment was remitted, and high honours in the Church offered him, if he would comply with the wishes of the patriarch, but he would not purchase them by sacrificing the memory of his friend.
He was enabled by the liberality of his friends to found a monastery in the place where he had taken up his abode during his exile, a deserted chapel of St. Marina, on the Asiatic side of the Propontis; and there he remained till his death. His life has been written at length by one of his disciples, Nicetas Stethatus, who has embellished the narrative with the usual appendages of celestial gifts, divine visions, and miraculous incidents : and from a summary of this given by Combéfis, in his Auctarium Novissimum,
pars ii. p. 119, &c., and from an abridged translation of it in Romaic or modern Greek, we are indebted for the above particulars. Allatius considers Symeon to have been the precursor of the fanatic quietists, who some centuries after gave occasion to the controversy that so agitatea the Greek Church, respecting the uncreated light of Mount Tabor. [PALAMAS.]
The works of Symeon of St. Mamas are numerous, and are divisible into the following classes : --
This gives a catalogue of the subjects and opening sentences of seventy-eight of these, extant in various MSS. in the original Greek; and the list is transcribed by Fabricius (Biblioth. Graec.
vol. xi. p. 304, &c.).
Several of these, and some others of which the original Greek was not known by Allatius to be extant, thirty-three in all, were published in a Latin version by Jac. Pontanus, with a preface and notes by Jac. Gretserus, 4to. Ingolstadt, 1603.
The original of these thirty-three, in the order in which Pontanus gave them, together with twenty others, were in a MS. in the Coislin Library. (Moutfaucon, Biblioth. Coislin.
p. 407.) To this version Pontanus subjoined a Lation version of several pieces by different authors.
A modern (Romaic) Greek version of the works of Symeon contains ninety-two of these Λόγοι
The number of these varies in different copies, either from some copies being imperfect, or from a difference of arrangement : in some MSS. they are arranged in three divisions, and amount in all to two hundred and twenty-eight (comp. Allat. de Symeon.
p. 166); and this is the number in the version of Pontanus published with the Orationes.
The modern Greek version contains only one hundred and eighty-one; but it contains also other Κεφάλαιαα
, to the number of forty, by Symeon designated " the Pious" (Συμεῶνος τοῦ εν̓λαβοῦς
). [No. 24.]
Or, as Pontanus entitled them in his Latin version, Sacrae Commentationes.
These are in verse of various kinds, iambic, anacreontic, and of the kind called " versus politici." (This last kind of verses is described in a note to the article PHILIPPUS, literary and ecclesiastical, No. 27, p. 291.)
Allatius (p. 161, &c.) and, after him, Fabricius (Bibl. Graec.
vol. xi. p. 314, &c.), give the titles of fifty-eight of these Hymni, thirty-eight of which, according to Allatius, were translated into Latin, and published by Pontanus : but either by the subdivision or alteration of these, or by the addition of others, of which the original is not known, Pontanus, who has destroyed the poetical form of the original, and arranged them in one Sacrarum Commentationum Liber, gives forty " capita."
The modern Greek version is in verse, and comprehends fifty-one Λόγοι, Orationes s. Libri.
The dissertation Περὶ ἀλλοιώσεων ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος τῶν ἐξ ἀέρων
, τῶν ἐκ στοιχεῖων
, τῶν ἐκ βρωμάτων καὶ τῶν ἐκ δαιμόνων ἔτι γενομένων ἡμῖν λόγος
, De Alterationibus Animae et Corporis quae ex Varietate Coeli aut Aeris quaeque ex Elementis, ex Cibis, interdum etiam ex Daemonibus existere in nobis solent Dissertatio,
published, with a Latin version by the Jesuit Possinus, in the notes to his edition of the S. Nili Epistolae,
4to. Paris, 1657, is one of the Orationes
translated by Pontanus.
These are all the works of Symeon which have been published, and chiefly in Latin or modern Greek versions.
The Latin versions of Pontanus and Possinus are contained in the Maxima Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. xxii. ad init. fol. Lyon. 1677.
Modern Greek Editions
The modern or Romaic Greek version was made by Dionysius Zagoraeus (Διονυσιος Ζαγοραιος), a hermit of the desert islet of Piperi. off the promontory of Athos, and was published 4to., Venice, 1790. with the abridged Romaic version of Nicetas Stethatus's life of Symeon prefixed.
Works Extant in MSS
Allatius, Oudin, and Harless, in his edition of Fabricius, give the titles of various works of Symeon, extant in MS. in various libraries; but many of them appear to be only duplicates or extracts of those already mentioned, with titles more or less varied.
A Discourse in honour of Symeon the Just
Combéfis ascribes to him a discourse in honour of Symeon the Just, who is mentioned in the New Testament as taking the infant Christ in his arms.
The author of this discourse styles himself Συμεὼν ὁ ταπεινὸς
, “Symeon Humilis.
Symeon was held in the highest esteem in his own and following generations, and Allatius has quoted several laudatory poetical effusions in his honour.
Allatius, De Symeon. Scriptis,
p. 151, &c.; Fabric. Biblioth. Graec.
vol. x. p. 323, note h., vol. xi. p. 302, &c. ; Oudin. De Scriptoribus Ecclcs.
vol. ii. col. 587, &c. ; Cave, Hist. Litt.
ad ann. 1051, vol. ii. p. 138, ed. Oxford, 1740-1743.