Skip to main content Accessibility help

Friday Veneration among Syriac Christians: The Witness of the Story of the Holy Friday



This article contains the original unpublished Syriac text of the Story of the Holy Friday, an anonymous hagiographic composition that promotes an idiosyncratic form of Friday veneration, which demands that Christians refrain from work on that day completely. The text of the Story, published on the basis of manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, syr. 234, is accompanied with an English translation and discussion of its unusual message, possibly related to the early period of Muslim-Christian relations in the Near East.



Hide All

This research was funded by the Advanced Research Grant “The Cult of Saints” from the European Research Council (Grant 340540). I would like to express my gratitude to Sebastian Brock, Bryan Ward-Perkins, and Nikolai Seleznyov for their valuable comments.



Hide All

1 See Schreiber, G., Die Wochentage im Erlebnis der Ostkirche und des christlichen Abendlandes. Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen 11 (Köln, 1959), pp. 168-206.

2 In addition to Schreiber's monograph, see Arbesmann, R., “Fasttage”, in Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, ed. Klauser, T. (Stuttgart, 1969), Vol. 7, pp. 500-524; Michels, T., “Montag, Mittwoch und Freitag als Fasttagesystem in kirchlicher und monastischer Überlieferung”, Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft 3 (1923), pp. 102-108.

3 Didache 8.1; edited by B.D. Ehrman, The Apostolic Fathers. Loeb Classical Library 25. 2 vols. (London, 2003), Vol. 1, pp. 428-429.

4 Included into the Apostolic Constitutions 8.47; edited by M. Metzger, Les Constitutions apostoliques. Sources Chrétiennes 320, 329, 336. 3 vols. (Paris, 1985-1987), Vol. 3, p. 300.

5 Metzger, Les Constitutions apostoliques, Vol. 2, p. 258.

6 Metzger, Les Constitutions apostoliques, Vol. 3, p. 50.

7 Hist. eccl. 10.12; edited by Bidez, J. and Winkelmann, F., Philostorgius. Kirchengeschichte, mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochien und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen. Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte 21. 3rd rev. ed. (Berlin, 1981), p. 131; translated by Amidon, P. R., Philostorgius. Church History. SBL Writings from the Greco-Roman World 23 (Leiden, 2007), p. 140.

8 Anonymous Collection, # 255; edited and translated by Wortley, J., The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers: A Select Edition and Complete English Translation (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 174-175. Cf. also the story #5 of Joseph of Panephysis in the Alphabetic Collection; PG 65, col. 229.

9 Hist. 7.22.3; edited by Hansen, G. C., Sokrates. Kirchengeschichte. Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 1 (Berlin, 1995), p. 368.

10 Edited and translated by A. Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac. CSCO 401-402, 407-408, Syr. 175-176, 179-180. 4 vols. (Louvain, 1979), Vol. 1, p. 42 [Syr.], Vol. 3, p. 37 [trans.]. This practice is mentioned also in the letter to Catholicos Mar Isḥaq by Marutha of Maipherqat (5th c.); edited and translated by A. Vööbus, The Canons Ascribed to Mārūtā of Maipherqaṭ and Related Sources. CSCO 439-440, Syr. 191-192. 2 vols. (Louvain, 1982), Vol. 1, p. 38 [Syr.], Vol. 2, p. 34 [trans.].

11 Vööbus, Didascalia, Vol. 2, pp. 207-208 [Syr.], Vol. 4, pp. 191-192 [trans.].

12 Edited and translated by A. Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition. CSCO 367-368, 375-376, Syr. 161-164. 4 vols. (Louvain, 1975-1976), Vol. 1, p. 54 [Syr.], Vol. 3, p. 69 [trans.].

13 Edited and translated by Vööbus, A., Syriac and Arabic Documents Regarding Legislation Relative to Syrian Asceticism. Papers of the Estonian Theological Society in Exile 11 (Stockholm, 1960), p. 73.

14 Vööbus, Synodicon, Vol. 1, pp. 68-69 [Syr.], Vol. 3, p. 81 [trans.].

15 Vööbus, Synodicon, Vol. 2, p. 64 [Syr.], Vol. 4, p. 68 [trans.]. Cf. also Canon 18 of the synod of John of Marde (12th c.); Vööbus, Synodicon, Vol. 2, p. 242 [Syr.], Vol. 4, p. 256 [trans.]. Several of these canons are quoted in the Ethicon of Barhebraeus (13th c.); edited and translated by Teule, H .G. B., Gregory Barhebraeus. Ethicon (Mēmrā I). CSCO 534-535, Syr. 218-219. 2 vols. (Leuven, 1993), Vol. 1, pp. 94-96 [Syr.], Vol. 2, pp. 81-83 [trans.].

16 Edited by P. Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum. 7 vols. (Paris and Leipzig, 1890-1897), Vol. 3, p. 426, n. 6.

17 Edited and translated by Gibson, M. D., The Commentaries of Isho‘dad of Merv, Bishop of Hadatha (c. 850 A.D.), in Syriac and English. Horae Semiticae 5-7. 5 vols. (Cambridge, 1911, 1916), Vol. 1, p. 101 [trans.], Vol. 2, pp. 169-170 [Syr.].

18 The only modern scholar who has paid attention to the Story was François Nau, who provided its summary in F. Nau, “Hagiographie syriaque. Saint Alexis. – Jean et Paul. – Danel de Galaš. – Hannina. – Euphémie. – Sahda (1). – Récits de Mélèce sur le vendredi, sur Marc et Gaspar, et sur un homme riche qui perdit tous ses enfants. – Légendes de Pierre le publicain, d'une veuve et d'une vierge de Jérusalem, de Jean, moine d'Antioche”, Revue de l'Orient chrétien 5 [15] (1910), pp. 53-72, 173-197, at pp. 192-194.

19 In his Thesaurus Syriacus, Robert Payne Smith quotes the phrase ܠܒܢ̈ܬܗ̇ ܡܣܚܝܐ ܗܘܬ ܘܚܝܦܐ ܠܗܝܢ, practically identical with ܠܒܢ̈ܬܗ̇ ܒܝܘܡܐ ܕܥܪܘܒܬܐ ܡܣܚܝܐ ܗܘܬ ܘܚ̇ܝܦܐ ܠܗܝܢ in our text (§9), while referring to “Pat. Vit. 224v” as his source; Smith, R. Payne, Thesaurus Syriacus. 2 vols. (Oxford, 1879-1901), Vol. 1, col. 1223, entry ܚܘܦ. Apparently, this source, described by Payne Smith as “Patrum Vitae e cod. MS. Quatr.” (Ibid., p. v), should be identified as ms. Paris, BnF syr. 234. It seems that this reference belonged originally to the French Orientalist Étienne Marc Quatremère (1782-1857), whose lexicographical notes were incorporated into Payne Smith's dictionary. In favour of such identification speaks the fact that the location of the phrase in the quoted manuscript, i.e. f. 224v, is identical with that of BnF syr. 234. I thank David Taylor for his help with solving this puzzle.

20 See Zotenberg, H., Manuscrits orientaux. Catalogues des manuscrits syriaques et sabéens (mandaïtes) de la Bibliothèque nationale (Paris, 1874), pp. 182-185. For an updated and more detailed description, see (last accessed 30 June 2018). An excellent digital reproduction of the manuscript is freely available at (last accessed 30 June 2018).

21 On these two communities in Crusader Antioch, see Cahen, C., La Syrie du Nord à l’époque des croisades et la principauté franque d'Antioche. Institut français de Damas, Bibliothèque orientale 1 (Paris, 1940); Weltecke, D., “The Syriac Orthodox in the Principality of Antioch during the Crusader Period”, in East and West in the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean I: Antioch from the Byzantine Reconquest until the End of the Crusader Principality. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 147, edited by Ciggaar, K. and Metcalf, D. M. (Leuven, 2006), pp. 95-124. On their manuscript production, see Briquel-Chatonnet, F., “Les manuscrits syriaques d'Antioche”, in Antioche de Syrie: histoire, images et traces de la ville antique. Topoi, Supplément 5, edited by. Cabouret, B., Gatier, P.-L. and Saliou, C. (Lyon, 2004), pp. 543-553; Brock, S. P., “Syriac Manuscripts Copied on the Black Mountain, near Antioch”, in Lingua restituta orientalis. Festgabe für Julius Assfalg. Ägypten und Altes Testament 20, edited by Schulz, R. and Görg, M. (Wiesbaden, 1990), pp. 59-67.

22 Chron. 19.6; edited and translated by Chabot, J. B., Chronique de Michel le Syrien, patriarche jacobite d'Antioche (1166–1199). 4 vols. (Paris, 1899-1910), Vol. 3, p. 339 [trans.], Vol. 4, p. 696 [Syr.].

23 In my edition I have reproduced only those diacritical signs that are used in standard academic editions of Syriac texts, retaining occasionally such signs as upper dots over some of the active participles of Pe‘al, to help the readers to avoid confusion.

24 Most of these are marked in footnotes.

25 Written as ܐܬܚܫܒܬ, but corrected using triple dots by the scribe.

26 One would expect the noun and the pronominal suffix to be in singular, i.e. ܒܟܠܗ̇ ܡܕܝܢܬܐ.

27 A standard spelling of this adverb would be ܐܡܬܝ.

28 A marginal gloss in Arabic and Persian at the bottom of the page: الخرستان روزنه مخبا. Cf. the definition of pardaysqā as خوارستان موتود فى حايط بويت فى حايط in Bar Bahlūl's dictionary; edited by Duval, R., Lexicon syriacum auctore Hassano bar Bahlule. Collection orientale 15-17. 3 vols. (Paris, 1888-1901), Vol. 2, col. 1606.

29 A standard spelling of this noun would be ܥܪܘܒܬܐ.

30 Marked as a mistake by the scribe.

31 One would expect the pronominal object to be in feminine, i.e. ܠܗ̇.

32 One would expect the verb to be in feminine and the pronominal object in masculine, i.e. ܘܐܡܪܬ ܠܗ.

33 One would expect the pronominal object to be in feminine, i.e. ܠܗ̇.

34 Marked as a mistake by the scribe.

35 A mistake, corrected by the scribe by adding the right form next to it.

36 One would expect the verb to be in feminine, i.e. ܐܡܪ or ܐܡܖ̈ܝ.

37 One would expect the noun to be in the construct state, i.e. ܫܦܝܪܬ.

38 One would expect the verb to be in plural, i.e. ܩܒܠܘ.

39 One would expect the verb to be in singular, i.e. ܐܬܦܣܩ.

40 One would expect the verb to be in plural, i.e. ܐܣܩܘ.

41 One would expect the verb to be in plural, i.e. ܣܡܘ.

42 One would expect the suffixed form ܐܒܝ.

43 A standard spelling of this verbal form would be ܢܬܠܘܘܢ.

44 One would expect instead the participle ܡܓܥܠܐ.

45 One would expect the verb to be in plural, i.e. ܩܒܪܘ.

46 Or “sifted”.

47 The syntax of this clause is problematical.

48 The exact source of this sentence is unclear. It appears to be a composite quotation, inspired by such biblical verses as Is 7:11, Mt 16:1-4, Mk 8:11-12, Lk 11:29, 1Cor 1:22 and Acts 17:21.

49 One would expect “the whole city”. But, perhaps, the plural form refers to Antioch together with its neighbouring village-cum-suburb Daphne.

50 The adjective ܦܐܝܐ, “comely, beautiful” of the manuscript does not make much sense in this context. I would suggest emending it to ܦܠܝܠܐ, passive participle of the verb ܦܠ, “to sprinkle”.

51 Or “naphtha”.

52 In the manuscript “he”.

53 The reference to the angels overshadowing the bishop most likely reflects the belief in the presence of angels during church services, especially during the Eucharist. This belief finds a material expression in the design of flabella (or ripidions), i.e. liturgical fans held by deacons over the altar (and over a bishop) during services, that were often decorated with the images of angelic beings. On their use and symbolism in the West Syriac tradition, see Snelders, B. and Immerzeel, M., “The Thirteenth Century Flabellum from Deir al-Surian in the Musée Royal de Mariemont (Morlanwelz, Belgium)”, Eastern Christian Art 1 (2004), pp. 113-139.

54 Possibly, because he had committed suicide.

55 They include: ܝܘܩܢܐ, ɛἰκών (§1); ܡܠܠܘܢ, μᾶλλον (§1); ܐܣܛܘܟ̈ܣܐ, στοιχɛῖον (§1); ܟܖ̈ܝܣܛܝܢܐ, χριστιάνος (§2); ܦܐܢܛܝܩܘܣܛܝ, πεντηκοστή (§5); ܕܘܡܣܐ, δόμος (§6); ܦܪܕܝܣܩܐ, πυργίσκος (§7); ܦܬܩܐ, πιττάκιον (§7); ܦܘܪܣܐ, πόρος (§8); ܦܪܨܘܦܐ, πρόσωπον (§15); ܦܐܛܪܝܪܟܐ, πατριάρχης (§17); ܐܦܝܣܩܘܦܐ, ἐπισκοπός (§18); ܠܝܛܖ̈ܐ, λίτρα (§18); ܦܝܣܐ, πɛῖσις (§19).

56 On this genre, see Wortley, J., “The Genre of the Spiritually Beneficial Tale”, Scripta & e-Scripta 8-9 (2010), pp. 71-91; Idem, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell in Byzantine ‘Beneficial Tales’”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 55 (2001), pp. 53-69; Binggeli, A., “Collections of Edifying Stories”, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography. Vol. 2: Genres and Contexts, (ed.) Efthymiadis, S. (Farnham, 2014), pp. 143-159. For attempts to catalogize this diverse material, attested in Greek, see Halkin, F., Bibliotheca hagiographica graeca. Subsidia Hagiographica 8a. 3rd edition (Brussels, 1957), Vol. 3, pp. 175-182, 191-214; Wortley, J., “The Repertoire of Byzantine ‘Spiritually Beneficial Tales’”, Scripta & e-Scripta 8-9 (2010), pp. 93-306. For a seminal discussion of this genre in the larger context of late antique hagiography, see Rapp, C., “Storytelling as Spiritual Communication in Early Greek Hagiography: The Use of Diegesis”, Journal of Early Christian Studies 6 (1998), pp. 431-448.

57 Most specimens of this genre in Syriac are represented by stories that circulated as single textual units. For an overview of this rich material, for the most part unpublished, see Ruani, F., “Preliminary Notes on Edifying Stories in Syriac Hagiographical Collections”, Studia Patristica 91 (2017), pp. 257-266.

58 Satlow, M. L., ““Texts of Terror”: Rabbinic Texts, Speech Acts, and the Control of Mores”, AJS Review 21:2 (1996), pp. 273-297.

59 Although it is not completely clear whether Meletius of the second part, i.e. the cleric whom the narrator meets in Antioch, and Meletius of the third part, i.e. the patriarch of Antioch, are the same person, this identification seems very likely.

60 See on him, Th.R. Karmann, Meletius von Antiochien: Studien zur Geschichte des trinitätstheologischen Streits in den Jahren 360–364 n. Chr. Regensburger Studien zur Theologie 68 (Frankfurt am Main, 2009); Daley, B. E., “The Enigma of Meletius of Antioch”, in Tradition and the Rule of Faith in the Early Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., (eds.) Rombs, R. J. and Hwang, A.Y. (Washington, D.C., 2010), pp. 128-150; Ch. Shepardson, C., Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy (Berkeley, 2014), pp. 79-91.

61 For a list of what little survives under his name, see M. Gerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum. Vol. 2: Ab Athansio ad Chrysostomum. Corpus Christianorum (Turnhout, 1974), pp. 254-256. Unfortunately, since none of the nine homilies for the Easter cycle (Palm Sunday and the Holy Week), transmitted under the name of Meletius in Georgian in the Mravaltavi homiliaries, has been published so far, it is difficult to assess their possible relevance for our work. However, nothing in a preliminary description of these homilies by Michel van Esbroeck seems to point in that direction; see M. van Esbroeck, Les plus anciens homéliaires géorgiens: étude descriptive et historique. Publications de l'Institut orientaliste de Louvain 10 (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1975), pp. 308-312.

62 Still unpublished, the Syriac text can be found in mss. BL Add. 12163 (7th c.) and BL Add. 12165 (11th c.); see Wright, W., Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum, Acquired since the Year 1838. 3 vols. (London, 1870-1872), Vol. 2, pp. 445, 850. See also Parmentier, M. F. G., “Syriac Translations of Gregory of Nyssa”, Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 20 (1989), pp. 143-193, at pp. 187-188. On this work, see The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 99, (eds.) L. F. Mateo-Seco and G. Maspero (Leiden, 2010), p. 493.

63 Edited and translated by Nau, F., La première partie de l'Histoire de Barhadbešabba ‘Arbaïa. Patrologia Orientalis 23.2 (Paris, 1932), pp. 216-223, 306-309.

64 See Brock, S. P. and Rompay, L. van, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts and Fragments in the Library of Deir al-Surian, Wadi al-Natrun (Egypt). Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 227 (Leuven, 2014), p. 185.

65 See Wright, Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts, Vol. 2, pp. 925, 957.

66 Edited and translated by Nau, F., Martyrologes et ménologes orientaux, I–XIII. Un martyrologie et douze ménologes syriaques édités et traduits. Patrologia Orientalis 10.1 (Paris, 1912), p. 34.

67 Neither of these is yet published. For the former, see BnF syr. 234, ff. 280v-288r; BnF syr. 235, ff. 265r-275v; for the latter, BnF syr. 234, ff. 288r-291r. Like our composition, both these stories are summarized in Nau, “Hagiographie syriaque”, pp. 191-196.

68 Cf. statements ܡܫܬܥܐ ܗܘܐ ܐܒܐ ܡܝܠܝܛܘܤ ܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ (BnF syr. 234, f. 280v), and ܗܠܝܢ ܐܫܠܡ ܠܢ ܐܒܐ ܡܝܠܝܛܘܤ (f. 288r) in the former, and ܘܗ̣ܝ ܗܕܐ ܡܢ ܡܝܠܝܛܘܤ ܐܚܝ ܩܒܠܬܗ̇ (f. 290v) in the latter.

69 See on him, Salvesen, A., “Jacob of Edessa's Life and Work: A Biographical Sketch”, in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture of His Day. Monographs of the Peshiṭta Institute Leiden 18, (ed.) R. B. ter Haar Romeny (Leiden, 2008), pp. 1-10; R. G. Hoyland, “Jacob and Early Islamic Edessa”, in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture, pp. 11-24.

70 ܠܐ ܐܫܠܡܬ ܠܢ ܗܕܐ ܡܠܦܢܘܬܐ ܫܠܝܚܝܬܐ. ܐܠܐ ܡܢ ܩܢ̈ܘܢܐ ܕܩܫ̈ܝܫܐ ܩܒܠܢܢ. ܠܗܠܝܢ ܕܐܦܠܐ ܗ̣ܘ ܡܫܝܚܐ ܒܛܠ ܐܢܝܢ. ܫ̈ܠܝܚܐ ܓܝܪ ܗܕܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ ܐܫܠܡܘ ܠܢ. ܡܛܠ ܥܪܘܒܬܐ ܘܡܛܠ ܐܖ̈ܒܥܐ ܒܫܒܐ ܕܢܫܡܠܐ ܒܗܘܢ ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܘܨܠܘܬܐ ܡܢ ܨܦܪܐ. ܘܩܪܝܢܐ ܕܟܬ̈ܒܐ ܩ̈ܕܝܫܐ ܩܕܡ ܥܡܐ. ܘܨܘܡܐ ܥܕܡܐ ܠܪܡܫܐ. ܢܛܘܪܬܐ ܓܝܪ ܕܡܢ ܥܒܕܐ ܘܦܘܠܚܢܐ ܕܐ̈ܝܕܝܐ. ܩܠܝܖ̈ܝܩܘ ܐܬܦܪܣܘܗ̇. ܡܛܠ ܢܛܘܪܬܐ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܕܦܩ̈ܝܕܢ ܗܘ̈ܝ. ܘܐܢܕܝܢ ܗܠܝܢ ܕܦܩ̈ܝܕܢ ܠܐ ܗܘ̈ܝܢ ܝܬܝܪܬܐ ܗܝ ܢܛܘܪܬܐ ܕܡܢ ܥܒܕܐ ܕܐ̈ܝܕܝܐ.; Vööbus, Synodicon, Vol. 1, p. 241 [Syr.], Vol. 2, p. 222 [trans. (modified)].

71 ܡܛܠ ܢܛܘܪܘܬܐ ܕܝܘܡܐ ܕܥܪܘܒܬܐ ܡܢ ܥܒܕܐ ܘܦܘܠܚܢܐ ܕܐ̈ܝܕܝܐ܆ ܘܠܐ ܡܕܡ ܐܬܬܫܠܡܢܢ ܡܢ ܫ̈ܠܝܚܐ ܩ̈ܕܝܫܐ܆ ܐܠܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ ܨܘܡܐ ܘܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܩܪܝܢܐ ܕܟ̈ܬܒܐ ܩ̈ܕܝܫܐ. ܗܟܢܐ ܘܒܐܪܒܥܐ ܒܫܒܐ; Bedjan, P., Nomocanon Gregorii Barhebræi (Paris and Leipzig, 1898), p. 60. For a French translation, see Nau, F., Les canons et les résolutions canoniques de Rabboula, Jean de Tella, Cyriaque d'Amid, Jacques d’Édesse, Georges des Arabes, Cyriaque d'Antioche, Jean III, Théodose d'Antioche et des Perses. Ancienne littérature canonique syriaque 2 (Paris, 1906), p. 73.

72 It is one of almost two dozen letters sent to John by Jacob. For a list and discussion, see J. J. van Ginkel, “Greetings to a Virtuous Man: The Correspondence of Jacob of Edessa”, in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture, pp. 67-81. Unfortunately, it is impossible to date most of these letters.

73 Vööbus, Synodicon, Vol. 1, pp. 233-234 [Syr.], Vol. 2, pp. 215-216 [trans.].

74 On Jacob's activity as a canonist, see H. G. B. Teule, “Jacob of Edessa and Canon Law”, in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture, pp. 83-100; K. D. Jenner, “The Canons of Jacob of Edessa in the Perspective of the Christian Identity of His Day”, in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture, pp. 101-111; Hoyland, R. G., Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam. Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam 13 (Princeton, 1997), pp. 601-610.

75 Cf. Jugurtha's words Romanos injustos, profunda avaritia in Sallust, Jug. 81.1, or those of Calgacus in Tacitus, Agric. 30. See also Erskine, A., “Money-Loving Romans”, Papers of the Leeds International Latin Seminar 9 (1996), pp. 1-11, and the articles of Harris, W. V., Gruen, E. S., and in, J. RichRoman Imperialism: Readings and Sources. Interpreting Ancient History, (ed.) Champion, C. B. (Malden, 2004), pp. 16-94.

76 Edited by J. B. Chabot, Incerti auctoris Chronicon Pseudo-Dionysianum vulgo dictum. CSCO 91, 104, Syr. III.1-2 [43, 53]. 2 vols. (Paris, 1927, 1933), Vol. 2, pp. 21-22; translated by Harrak, A., The Chronicle of Zuqnīn, Parts III and IV: A.D. 488–775. Mediaeval Sources in Translation 36 (Toronto, 1999), p. 53.

77 On his life and writings, see Nasrallah, J., “Un auteur antiochien du XIe siècle: Nicon de la Montagne Noire (vers 1025–début du XIIe s.)”, Proche-Orient Chrétien 19 (1969), pp. 150-161; Θ. Γιάγκου, Νίκων ο Μαυρορείτης: Βίος – Συγγραφικό έργο – Κανονική διδασκαλία (Θεσσαλονίκη, 1991); Ch. Hannick, Das Taktikon des Nikon vom Schwarzen Berge: griechischer Text und kirchenslavische Übersetzung des 14. Jahrhunderts. Monumenta linguae Slavicae dialecti veteris 62. 2 vols. (Freiburg im Breisgau, 2014), Vol. 1, pp. xxv-lxxii.

78 For the Greek text, see Hannick, Das Taktikon, Vol. 1, pp. 430-432, Vol. 2, p. 940. I am most grateful to Joe Glynias for drawing my attention to this evidence.

79 On Friday worship in Islam and its various aspects, see Gaffney, P. D., “Friday Prayer”, in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān, (ed.) McAuliffe, J.D., 6 vols. (Leiden, 2003), Vol. 2, pp. 271-272; Sh. D. Goitein “The Origin and Nature of the Muslim Friday Worship”, The Muslim World 49 (1959), pp. 183-195 (reprinted in: Sh. Goitein, D., Studies in Islamic History and Institutions. Brill Classics in Islam 5 (Leiden, 2010), pp. 111-125); Idem, “Beholding God on Friday”, Islamic Culture 34:3 (1960), pp. 163-168; Calder, N., “Friday Prayer and the Juristic Theory of Government: Sarakhsī, Shīrāzī, Māwardī”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 49:1 (1986), pp. 35-47.

80 Kayser, C., Die Canones Jacob's von Edessa übersetzt und erläutert (Leipzig, 1886), p. 181.

81 Cf. §2 of the Story, where all ‘profitable’ activities, and not just those related to agriculture and crafts, are prohibited on Friday.

82 See Bashear, S., “Qibla Musharriqa and Early Muslim Prayer in Churches”, The Muslim World 81:3-4 (1991), pp. 267-282; M. Guidetti, “The Contiguity between Churches and Mosques in Early Islamic Bilād al-Shām”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 76:2 (2013), pp. 229-258; Idem, In the Shadow of the Church: The Building of Mosques in Early Medieval Syria. Arts and Archaeology of the Islamic World, 8 (Leiden, 2017).

83 See Goldziher, I., “Usages juifs d'après la littérature religieuse des musulmans”, Revue des études juives 28 (1894), pp. 75-94, at 83-84; Vajda, G., “Jeûne musulman et jeûne juif”, Hebrew Union College Annual 12-13 (1937-1938), pp. 367-385, at 379.

84 Edited and translated by Roggema, B.H., The Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā: Eastern Christian Apologetics and Apocalyptic in Response to Islam. History of Christian-Muslim Relations 9 (Leiden, 2009), p. 283. The reason for the choice of Friday, provided in the Legend, is that on this day Baḥīrā sent to the Arabs the book of the Qur’ān on the horn of a cow (allusion to Sūrat al-Baqarah).

85 For the Greek text, see С. В. Иванов and М.Л. Кисилиер, “Два ранее не издававшихся греческих текста ‘Сказания о 12-ти пятницах’ и славянская традиция”, Byzantinoslavica 72:1-2 (2014), pp. 310-339. On Latin and vernacular versions, see S.V. Ivanov, “The Legend of Twelve Golden Fridays in the Western Manuscripts. Part I: Latin”, in Colloquia Classica et Indo-Germanica V: Studies in Classical Philology and Indo-European Languages. Acta linguistica Petropolitana 7.1 (St Petersburg, 2011), pp. 561-572; Idem, “The Legend of the Twelve Golden Fridays in the Western Manuscripts. Part I: Latin. Addenda et Corrigenda. Part II: Vernacular – II.1 French, II.2 Italian”, in Colloquia Classica et Indo-Germanica VI. Acta linguistica Petropolitana 10.1 (St Petersburg, 2014), pp. 347-367; Idem, “The Legend of the Twelve Golden Fridays in the Western Manuscripts. Part II: Vernacular – II.3 Dutch, Low German, High German”, in Indo-European Linguistics and Classical Philology XVIII: Proceedings of the 18th Conference in Memory of Professor Joseph M. Tronsky, June 23–25, 2014 (St Petersburg, 2014), pp. 319-331. On Slavonic versions, see С. В. Иванов, “‘Сказание о 12 пятницах’ в рукописях ИРЛИ РАН (Пушкинского Дома)”, in Труды Объединенного научного совета по гуманитарным проблемам и историко-культурному наследию 2011 (С.-Петербург, 2012), pp. 34-70; Vugrinec, J., “Legenda o dvanaest petaka iz Tkonskog zbornika”, Čakavska rič 38:1-2 (2010), pp. 227-272.

86 See Halkin, F., “La passion de sainte Parascève par Jean d'Eubée”, in Polychronion: Festschrift Franz Dölger zum 75. Geburtstag. Forschungen zur griechischen Diplomatik und Geschichte 1, (ed.) Wirth, P. (Heidelberg, 1966), pp. 226-237; Scharpé, J. L., Parasceve–Venera–Petka–Vineri: Passionum graece, latine, slavice, romanice manipulus (Academisch proefschrift; Rijksuniversiteit Gent, 1971).

87 For a recent attempt to trace the development of several of these traditions, see a somewhat discursive article by B. Lourié, “Friday Veneration in the Sixth- and Seventh-Century Christianity and the Christian Legends on Conversion of Nağrān”, in The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where, and to Whom? Studies on the Rise of Islam and Various Other Topics in Memory of John Wansbrough. Orientalia Judaica Christiana 3, (eds.) C. A. Segovia and B. Lourié (Piscataway, 2012), pp. 131-230. Among earlier contributions, one should mention А.Н. Веселовскiй, “Опыты по исторiи развитiя христiанской легенды. II. Берта, Анастасiя и Пятница. 4. Сказанiе о 12-ти пятницахъ”, Журналъ Министерства народнаго просвѣщенiя 185:6 (1876), pp. 326-367; Idem, “Опыты по исторiи развитiя христiанской легенды. II. Берта, Анастасiя и Пятница (Опытъ миѳологическаго анализа). 6. Freiheit – Елевѳерий”, Журналъ Министерства народнаго просвѣщенiя 191:5 (1877), pp. 76-125.

This research was funded by the Advanced Research Grant “The Cult of Saints” from the European Research Council (Grant 340540). I would like to express my gratitude to Sebastian Brock, Bryan Ward-Perkins, and Nikolai Seleznyov for their valuable comments.

Friday Veneration among Syriac Christians: The Witness of the Story of the Holy Friday



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.