The Office of the Holy Forty Martyrs by St. John of Damascus and Its Intertext


The article discusses the connection between the Office of the Holy Forty Martyrs by St. John of Damascus (7th-8th century) and the Homily of the Holy Forty Martyrs by St. Basil the Great (4th century). The study discloses many direct quotations in the Office from the Homily. Furthermore to that, some phrases and images are borrowed by St. John of Damascus from the Homily by St. Basil. Thus the hymnographer achieves a connection between the Office and the Homily, both of them being parts of an ensemble of the liturgical texts for the feast of the Holy Martyrs of Sevastia. The examples are given in Greek and in Old Church Slavonic and thereby one can observe the difference between translations of the same passages in the Office and the Homily. The translations are very similar at certain points, but sometimes they differ from each other. Both texts were translated in Bulgaria not long after the arrival of the disciples of SS. Cyril and Methodius, but in different places. Most probably the Homily was translated in Preslav, and the Office was translated in the literary centre of Ochrid.Furthermore, there are indications that St. Clement of Ohrid borrowed some phrases from the Office for his Homily of the Holy Forty Martyrs, thus forming an important connection between the two texts.

Iskra Hristova-Shomova (Sofia, Bulgaria)