The Prologues of Leo of Ostia to the Origin of Blessed Clement and His Conversion in Faith and the Translation of the Relics of St Clement (According to Manuscript № XXIII of the Metropolitan Library in Prague)


In the 1950s, the medievalists Paul Meyvaert and Paul Devos discovered the two main copies of the Italian Legend, one of the most significant Latin sources for the work of the saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius. Through textual analysis, both researchers could show that Bishop Leo of Ostia, hitherto considered to be the author of the Legend, in fact presents an earlier text, belonging to John Hymmonides and Gauderich of Velletri. Nevertheless, Leo of Ostia is the author of two important prologues – one to the life of St Clement of Rome and the other to the Italian Legend, both being part of a long vita in three parts about St Clement of Rome. Both prologues are extremely valuable because in them Bishop Leo outlines the historical sources used for the compilation of the main texts; one of these sources is identified as the Long Vita of St Constantine-Cyril. So far, the prologues have not been translated into Bulgarian, so the aim of the article is to offer a translation from Latin into Bulgarian, and at the same time to summarize and present the basic data on the historical sources mentioned in them. The prologues clearly indicate the liturgical function of the trilogy within the cult of St Clement of Rome, as well as the context of the birth of the Western Latin Cyrillo-Methodian tradition.

Tsvetan Vasilev (Sofia, Bulgaria)

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