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History and Memory as Factors in Greek Orthodox Pilgrimage to the Holy Land under Crusader Rule

  • Andrew Jotischky (a1)


Western pilgrimage to the Holy Land can be explained through patterns of evolving spirituality. The development in the eleventh century of a penitential theology in which pilgrimage played a crucial role, coupled with the practical opportunities for travel occasioned by the success of the First Crusade, brought the Holy Land closer than ever. The survival of a strong textual tradition manifested in pilgrimage itineraries, many of which are autobiographical in tone, further contributes to our perception of pilgrimage as an example of medieval religion in practice.



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1 Talbot, Alice-Mary, ‘Byzantine pilgrimage to the Holy Land, from the 8th to 15th centuries’, in Patrich, J., ed., The Sabaite Heritage (forthcoming).

2 The rebuilding of the Holy Sepulchre by Constantine IX (c. 1042-8), which involved relocating some shrines to the interior of the church, is suggestive of pilgrimage interest in the Orthodox world. See Ousterhout, Robert, ‘Rebuilding the Temple: Constantine Monomachos and the Holy Sepulchre’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historiam, 48 (1989), pp. 6678 ; Corbo, V., Il santo sepolcro di Gerusalemme, 3 vols (Jerusalem, 1981-2), 2, pl. 4 .

3 Bowman, Glenn, ‘Contemporary Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land’, in O’Mahony, A., Gunner, G., and Hintlian, K., eds, The Christian Heritage in the Holy Land (London, 1995), pp. 288309 .

4 Ibid., p. 303.

5 Ibid., p. 299.

6 The word oikoumene is here used in the sense employed by Photius, of the inhabited world as the scene of Christ’s activity and the celebration of the sacraments: Photius, Epistolae et Amphilocia, ed. B. Laourdas and Westerink, L., 6 vols (Leipzig, 1983-8), ep. 284, 3, pp. 23002 .

7 The Life and Journey of Daniel, Abbot of the Russian Land [hereafter Daniel], in Wilkinson, J., ed., Jerusalem Pilgrimage 1099-1185 (London, 1988), pp. 12071 ; Phokas, John, Descriptio Terrae Sanctae, 1 (PG 133, cols 92361 ).

8 Cf. Saewulf (1102-3), who calls himself indignus et peccator, and pondere pressus peccaminum: De situ Ierusalem, prologus, in Itinera Hierosolymitana Crucesignatorum (saec. XII-XIII), ed. de Sandoli, S., 4 vols (Jerusalem, 1978-84), 2, p. 6 .

9 Daniel, 1A, p. 120.

10 Ibid., 1A, p. 121.

11 Ibid., 1A, pp. 120-1.

12 Phokas, Descriptio, 1 (PG 133, col. 928).

13 Thus A. Grabois, ‘Christian pilgrims in the thirteenth century and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem: Burchard of Mt Sion’, in B. Z. Kedar, R. C. Smail, and Mayer, H. E., eds, Outremer: Studies in the History of the Crusading Kingdom of Jerusalem presented to Joshua Prawer (Jerusalem, 1982), pp. 28597 . There are, of course, exceptions, and one must distinguish between the text and the pilgrim: even pilgrims interested in contemporary life wrote within a specific genre.

14 Daniel, 27-39, 56, pp. 136-41, 149; Phokas, , Descriptio, 1624 (PG 133, cols 94553 ). On the desert monasteries, see Patrich, J., Sabas, Leader of Palestinian Monasticism. A Comparative Study of Eastern Monasticism, Fourth to Seventh Centuries (Washington, DC, 1995 ); Perrone, L., ‘Monasticism in the Holy Land: from the beginnings to the crusaders’, POC, 45 (1995), pp. 3163 .

15 Daniel mentions the association of Choziba with Joachim, an eighth-century tradition first recorded by Epiphanius, , Enarratio Syriae (PG 120, col. 269 ). The monastery was only rebuilt later in the century.

16 Monachus, Haymerus, De statu Terrae Sanctae, 1, in Sandoli, de, Itinera Hierosolymitana, 3, pp. 1668 , of c. 1199 but relying on earlier anonymous accounts, e.g. ibid., 3, pp. 34, 96. James of Vitry, , Historia Orientalis (Douai, 1597), chs 75-82, pp. 13757 , also relies on these earlier accounts. For a reappraisal of the manuscript tradition and authorship of the De statu Terrae Sanctae see Benjamin Z. Kedar, ‘The Tractatus de locis et statu terrae Ierosolimitane’, in John France and Zajac, William G., eds, The Crusades and their Sources: Essays Presented to Bernard Hamilton (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 11135 .

17 De locis Sanctis et populis et bestiis in Palaestina vitam degentibus, i, 6 (de Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana, 3, p. 30), c. 1180, mentions Armenian and Greek churches. John of Würzburg (c. 1160/5) visited the Jacobite monastery of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem, Peregrinatores Tres, ed. Huygens, R. B. C., CChr.CM 139 (Turnhout, 1994), p. 111 . Saewulf (c. 1102/3) mentions St Sabas, De situ Ierusalem, vi, 21 (de Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana, 2, p. 22).

18 Exordium magnum ordinis Cisterciensis, i, 2-6, PL 185, cols 997-1000; Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica, viii, 26, in The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. Chibnall, M., 6 vols, OMT (Oxford, 1969-80), 4, pp. 31218 ; William of Saint-Thierry, Epistola adfratres de monte Dei, ed. J. Déchanet, 2 vols (Paris, 1975), 1, p. 144, among other examples.

19 Thietmar, Iter ad Tenant Sanctam, prologus (de Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana, 3, p. 254).

20 Daniel, 39, p. 141.

21 Ibid., 38, p. 140.

22 Phokas, , Descriptio, 16 (PG 133, col. 948 ). The monks supposedly killed in the Persian invasion of 614 are still kept in the martyrium in the church of St Nicholas.

23 Phokas, , Descriptio, 17 (PG 133 , col. 948); Daniel, 37, p. 139. Daniel mentions the tradition, apparently unknown to Phokas, that the cave-tomb of the saints was the place where the Magi had rested on their flight from Herod. He also specifies among the other bodies in the tomb the mothers of Theodosius and Sabas.

24 Phokas, , Descriptio, 224 , 27, 28 (PG 133, cols 952-3, 956, 960).

25 Ibid., 25 (PG 133, col. 956).

26 Ibid., 16, 19 (PG 133, cols 948-9).

27 Ibid., 22, 24 (PG 133, cols 952-3). On the rebuilding of Kalamon, see Pringle, Denys, The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, a Corpus, 2 vols (Cambridge, 1993-8), 1, pp. 197201 .

28 Phokas, Descriptio, 11, 16 (PG 133, cols 937, 945-8).

29 Ibid., 24 (PG 133, col. 953).

30 Ibid., 23 (PG 133, col. 952).

31 Ibid., 23 (PG 133, cols 952-3).

32 Gabriel, another Georgian, occupied a stylos in the Judaean desert in the 1180s: Narratio de monacho Palaestiniensi, ed. Delehaye, H., ‘Saints de Chypre’, AnBoll, 26 (1907), pp. 16275 . The Georgians presumably came from or were associated with the Georgian monastery of Holy Cross to the west of Jersusalem. For further discussion of Gabriel, see Andrew Jotischky, ‘Greek Orthodox and Latin monasticism in the Holy Land under crusader rule’, in Patrich, The Sabaite Heritage.

33 See Morris, Rosemary, Monks and Laymen in Byzantium, 843-1118 (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 5763 , for changes in stylitic practices.

34 For an early example, see the life of Pachomius, St, Sancti Pachomii vitae Graecae, vita prima, 23, ed. Halkin, F., in Life of Pachomius, tr. Athanassakis, Apostolos A. (Missoula, GA, 1975), p. 28 .

35 William of Tyre, Chronicon, xxi, 16, ed. Huygens, R. B. C., CChr.CM 63A (Turnhout, 1986), p. 984 .

36 Wortley, J., ‘Two unpublished psychophelitic tales’, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, 37 (1996), pp. 281300 , with discussion of all sources. The presence of lions in the twelfth century is attested in De heis Sanctis, v, 2, p. 40.

37 John Moschus, Pratum spirituale, 107 (PG 87, cols 2965-8).

38 Perrone, L., La chiesa di Palestina e le controversie cristologiche (Brescia, 1980 ); B. Hamilton, The Latin Church in the Crusader States (Aldershot, 1980), pp. 159-88.

39 A fine example of a xenodochium has been excavated at the monastery of Martyrius at Macale Adumim, east of Jerusalem: Y. Megan and R. Talgam, The monastery of Martyrius at Macale Adumim (Khirbet el-Murassas) and its mosaics’, in G. C. Bottini, L. Di Segni, and Alliata, E., eds, Christian Archaeology in the Holy Land, New Discoveries: Archaeological Essays in Honour of Virgilio C. Corho OFM (Jerusalem, 1990), pp. 91152 .

40 Daniel, 15, p. 131.

41 De sancto Lazaro monacho in monte Galesio, ActaSS, 3 Nov., pp. 515-16.

42 Warren, F. E., ‘The “Ritual Ordinance” of Neophytus’, Archaeologia, 47 (1882), pp. 1213 .

43 F. Miklosich and Müller, J., eds, Acta et diplomata Graeca medii aevi, 6 vols (Vienna, 1890), 6, p. 71 .

44 Obolensky, D., Six Byzantine Portraits (Oxford, 1988), pp. 1636 ; S. Popovic, ‘Sabaite influences on the Church of medieval Serbia’, in Patrich, The Sabaite Heritage.

45 Daniel, 97, pp. 166-71.

46 Phokas, Descriptio, 27 (PG 133, col. 956). Note also Manuel’s patronage in the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity: Folda, J., The Art of the Crusaders in the Holy Land (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 34764 , 379-82.

47 B. Hamilton, ‘Manuel I Comnenus and Baldwin IV of Jerusalem’, in J. Chrysostomides, ed., Kathegetria: Essays Presented to Joan Husseyfor her 80th Birthday (London, 1988), pp. 353–75; A. Jotischky, ‘Manuel Comnenus and the reunion of the Churches: the evidence of the conciliar mosaics in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem’, Levant, 26 (1994), pp. 207-25.

48 Phokas, Descriptio, 27 (PG 133, col. 957).

49 Ibid., 27 (PG 133, col. 957): the word used is TmpevBeros. H. E. Mayer, Bistümer, Kloster una Stifle in Kónigsreich Jerusalem (Stuttgart, 1977), pp. 55-6.

50 Phokas, Descriptio, 11 (PG 133, cols 936-7): ‘ayia(,o)i£voi ‘ayiat,ovai.

51 Brown, Peter, ‘The rise and function of the holy man in Late Antiquity’, Journal of Roman Studies, 61 (1971), pp. 80101 .

52 Magdalino, P., ‘The Byzantine holy man in the twelfth century’, in Hackel, S., ed., The Byzantine Saint (London, 1981), pp. 5166 .

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History and Memory as Factors in Greek Orthodox Pilgrimage to the Holy Land under Crusader Rule

  • Andrew Jotischky (a1)


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