eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: syncretism

Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

“Once, long ago, many superstitions were observed by the country folk and Pagans concerning the Kalends, which the saints had great difficulty uprooting even from Christians. They used to adopt monstrous shapes, some dressing themselves in the skins of farm animals, others putting on the heads of wild animals. Others would dress up in women’s tunics, shamelessly tricking out their soldierly muscles in feminine finery.” – Jacob of Voragine, Legenda 13

Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

“What wickedness takes place during this feast; fortune-tellings, divinations, deceptions and feigned madnesses. On this day, having been seized up by the furies of their bacchant-like ravings and having been inflamed by the fires of diabolical instigation, they flock together to the church and profane the house of god with vain and foolish rhythmic poetry in which sin is not wanting but by all means present, and with evil sayings, laughing and cacophony they disrupt the priest and the whole congregation applauds for the people love these things.” – Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

“On the Kalends of January even the faithful assume monstrous appearances and are changed into the character of wild animals; others make feminine gestures and feminize their male faces … They all make a great noise, with leaping and clapping dances and what is still more shameful, both sexes dance together in sung dances, with dulled senses, intoxicated with much wine.” – Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

Peter Chrysologos, De kalendis Ianuariis 1.261-64

“The Pagans bring out their gods on this day. With planned defilements and premeditated disgrace they pull them hither and thither dragging them all about. Not content with hauling their portable gods through the streets others dress in masks and costumes, performing the roles of the idols and acting out the shameful, sacrilegious stories of those wicked demons. It should be abundantly clear to any decent Christian that participation in these foul rites and Pagan spectacles brings about defilement, yet some of you have the temerity to say, ‘This isn’t the deliberate pursuit of godlessness, these good luck visits are just for fun; this is a celebration of a new beginning, not just a superstition from the past. This is just New Years, not the threat of Paganism.’ What foolishness and conceit! To know that it is contemptible all you have to do is look at those who have made themselves equal to beasts, put themselves on the level with asses, made themselves up as cattle, those who masquerade as demons.” – Peter Chrysologos, De kalendis Ianuariis 1.261-64

Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

“I condemn the din of silly and shameful songs, the disgraceful junketing and dances that characterize this false feast day. Are you, who are supposedly Christians, going to join in the celebrations of good luck presents like a Pagan, going to play at dice and get yourself drunk? To do so is to associate with demons, for demons take pleasure in idle songs, in the trifling spectacle, in the manifold indecencies of the theaters, in the mad frenzies of the chariot races. Everything having to do with the Kalends of January is thoroughly Pagan and not fit for a decent Christian.” – Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

The Council of Turin 23

“Returning to their own houses after mass, they return to the errors of the Pagans; having received the body of the lord they accept food sacrificed to demons. We urge pastors as well as priests to take care that on holy authority they drive out of the church those whom they notice persisting in this folly or doing things contrary to the teachings of the church at heaven knows what rocks, trees or springs, the chosen places of Pagans, and that they do not allow those who keep Pagan customs to participate in the sacrament of the altar.” – The Council of Turin 23

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

“How can you who have accepted the holy eucharist then celebrate a banquet of superstition during the Kalends of January? Befuddling the mind with wine, distending the belly with food, twisting the limbs in dances and engaging in depraved acts so that you are forced to forget what are the things that belong to god and instead pay dues to an idol – this is not what Christians do, but rather Pagans!” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

“What sensible person who understands the sacraments of the lord’s birth does not condemn the Saturnalia nor reject the lechery of the Kalends? For there are many who still carry on with the superstitious old customs of the foolishness of the Kalends. They celebrate this day as the highest feast. Where they look thus for happiness they find, rather, sorrow. They wallow in wine and sicken themselves on feasting so that he who is chaste and moderate all year gets drunk and pollutes himself; and if he does not do so, he thinks that he has been deprives of the feast.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

“I rebuke the demented customs of those who for the sake of foolish gaiety observe the Kalends of January or the folly of other superstitions which men think give them license to get drunk and indulge in obscene chanting and games. Worse still is the indecent flaunting of men in women’s clothing and make-up grotesque enough to make the demons themselves blanch. They sing bawdy songs in praise of vice, sung with shameless gusto and accompanied by disjointed gestures and mumming in the likeness of she-goats and stags. The inventor of evil makes his entry through these in order to master souls ensnared by the appearance of play. I call upon the sober and upright members of this congregation to reprimand your neighbors and subordinates, to forbid them to use indecent language or sing those bawdy songs, and especially to deny alms to those who by sacrilegious custom are carried away by insanity rather than playfulness. And unless you want to share in their guilt I tell you: do not allow a little stag or a little yearling or monstrosities of any other sort to appear before your houses, but rather chastise and punish them and, if you can, even tie them up tightly. Admonish your household not to follow the sacrilegious customs of the unhappy Pagans.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

“During the Kalends of January wretched men, and worse yet, even some who are baptized, don false appearances, monstrous disguises, in which I know not whether they are primarily laughingstocks or rather objects of sorrow. What sensible person indeed could believe that he would find sane people who deliberately transform themselves into the state of wild beasts while playing the stag. Some are clothed in the hide of beasts, others don animal headdresses, rejoicing and exulting if thus they have changed themselves into the likeness of beasts so as not to appear to be men. Now truly, what is this! How vile! That those who are born men dress in women’s clothing and, by the vilest of perversion, sap their manly strength to resemble girls, not blushing to clothe their soldier’s muscles in women’s gowns: they flaunt their bearded faces, and they aim to look just like women. There are those who observe omens during the Kalends of January by refusing to give fire from their house or any other goods to anyone, no matter who asks; yet they accept diabolical gifts from others and give them to others themselves. That night, moreover, some rustics arrange little tables with the many things necessary for eating; they intend that the tables remain arranged like this throughout the night, for they believe that the Kalends of January can do this for them, that throughout the entire year they will continue to hold their feasts amid plenty. I command your household to get rid of these and other practices like them, which would take too long to describe, which are thought by ignorant people to be trifling sins, or none at all; and command your household to observe the Kalends as they do the Kalends of other months. And therefore the saintly fathers of ancient days, considering how most of mankind spent those days in gluttony and lechery, going mad with drunkenness and sacrilegious dancing, ordained throughout the whole world that all the churches should proclaim a public fast, so that wretched men might know that the evil that they brought upon themselves was so great that all the churches are obliged to fast for their sins. In fact, let no one doubt that anyone who shows any kindness to foolish men who lewdly indulging in amusements during those Kalends is himself a sharer of their sins.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

Homilia de sacrilegiis 5

“And whoever consults seers or seeresses, that is pythonesses, through whom devils make reply, who goes to question them and believes what they say, or goes to listen to them attentively in order to hear anything from demons – he is not Christian but a Pagan.” – Homilia de sacrilegiis 5

Capitula Vesulensia 22

“Dances and leapings and circuses and vile, lewd songs and diabolical pranks are not to be performed either in the roads or houses or in any other place because they are left over from Pagan custom.” – Capitula Vesulensia 22

St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.705

“Let no one perform solstice rites nor dances, leapings or devilish songs on the Feast of St. John the Baptist or some other solemnity of the saints.” – St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.705

Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

“In my opinion, to sacrifice to demons in machinis is to believe in their extremely foul illusions, or to make use of divinatory science through what is called false lots of the saints, or spells, symbols or whatever kind of pendants or bindings, in all of which is the skill of demons, coming from the pestiferous union of men and wicked angels.” – Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

“We have decreed that each bishop, with the help of the gravio, who is the defender of the Church, should take care according to the canons that the people of god in his diocese do not perform Pagan acts but cast off and spurn every filth of Paganism, and that they should forbid sacrifices of the dead or sorcerers or soothsayers or amulets or omens or enchantments or the sacrificial victims which stupid men honor in the name of the blessed martyrs or confessors in the vicinity of churches, provoking god and his saints to anger, or those sacrilegious fires which they call nied fyr, and all those who love Pagan observances.” – Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 53.1

“If, dearly beloved, we rejoice indeed because we see you hasten faithfully to church, we are saddened and grieved because we know that some of you go off even more often to the ancient worship of idols, like godless Pagans who lack the grace of baptism. We have heard that some of you pay your vows to trees, pray to springs and commit acts unmentionable. In fact there are unhappy wretches who not only do not want to destroy the shrines of Pagans but even do no fear nor blush to rebuild what was destroyed. And if someone who is mindful of god wants to burn sacred trees or scatter and destroy diabolical altars, they go mad with rage and are overcome by great frenzy, so that they even dare to strike those who tried to overturn the sacrilegious idols for the love of god … And why do such wretches bother to come to church or accept the sacrament of baptism if afterwards they are to return to the sacrilege of idols?” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 53.1

Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

“You must rebaptize those who have been christened by sacrilegious priests, I mean those who while professing Christ also immolate oxen and goats to the gods of the Pagans, eat the flesh and hold sacrifices to the dead.” – Pope Zacharias, Epistle 80

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

“What usually happens, brothers, is that a persecutor sent by the devil comes to some sick man and says, ‘Had you summoned that healer you would be better already; had you been willing to apply those symbols you could already have been cured.’ Perhaps someone comes and says, ‘Send to that diviner, give him your belt or headband to be measured, and he will inspect it.’ And someone else says, ‘That fellow knows how to fumigate well, for when he did it for such-and-such, he promptly got better and all trouble vanished from his house.’ And hereabouts the devil is accustomed to deceive careless and lukewarm Christians, so that if a man has suffered a theft, that cruelest persecutor goads him through his friends, saying, ‘Come secretly to that place and I shall raise up an apparition who will tell you who stole your silver or money.’ What wickedness!” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

“Flee dancing, vaulting, and indecent and bawdy songs as you would the devil’s arrows; do not dare to perform them either by the church nor in your houses, nor in the roads nor in any other place, for they are remnants of Pagan custom. Avoid as well jokes, diabolical games and the gestures or words of mimes and prostitutes and generally any other sort of merrymaking.” – Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

Acts of the Council of Rome 35

“There are certain people, chiefly women, who are happy to attend holy days and the feasts of saints, not for the right reasons but rather to dance, sing indecent verses, participate in round dances and generally to behave like Pagans so that even if they come to church with minor sins, they leave with major ones.” – Acts of the Council of Rome 35

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 13.5

“There are unhappy wretches who neither fear nor blush to perform dances and vaults before the basilicas of the saints themselves and who, if they are Christians when they come to church are Pagans when they leave it, for this custom of dancing is left over from Pagan custom. And now see what kind of Christian he is, who had come to church to pray, forgets prayer and does not blush to mouth the sacrileges of the Pagans. But just consider, brothers, whether it is right that lewd song should flow like poison from lips which Christ’s body entered.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 13.5

Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

“A custom has developed concerning the Annunciation of St. John the Baptist which is deplorable. Certain little trollops abandon the churches and the divine offices; they pass the whole night wherever they will, in the streets and crossroads, by springs and in the countryside; they form round dances, compose songs, draw lots and pretend that people’s prospects are to be predicted from things of this sort. Their superstition has given rise to madness to the point that they presume to baptize grass and leafy boughs, and hence they dare to call the turf and trees their godparents and good friends. And for a long while afterwards they strive to keep them hung up in their houses, as though for the sake of piety.” – Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

“It is forbidden for Christians to abide by any Pagan traditions and observe or honor the elements or the moon or the course of the stars or the empty falsehood of signs for building a house, planting corn or trees or contracting marriage.” – Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

“There remain still other requirements to be sought from the most pious emperors: that they should command the remaining idols throughout all Africa to be utterly extirpated, for in a number of coastal areas and in various rural estates the wickedness of such error flourishes. Thus the emperors should direct both the idols themselves to be destroyed and their temples which have been set up in these rural and remote areas. Further we request that those religious gatherings which occur contrary to decrees, namely those brought together by Pagan error and which both Pagans and Christians attend together – a horrible thought that Christians under Christian emperors might attend these secret celebrations! – that it is only right for the emperors to order them prohibited and banned from cities and estates by imposing a penalty. This is particularly necessary since the Pagans show no compunction about celebrating these sorts of rites on the birthdays of the most blessed martyrs in some cities and out in the sacred spots in the countryside. On those days, indeed – shameful to declare! – the dancing of the most wicked folk goes on in town squares and open spaces, and the respect due to the marital state and the modesty of countless women assembled in piety for the most sacred day is assaulted by lascivious insults, while access to holy worship itself is almost barred. We also request this: that theatrical shows and those of the games be removed from the Lord’s day and other most celebrated Christian days, especially because on the Eighth Day of holy Easter the people gather more at the Circus than at the church. The day of their worship will have to be moved – if indeed they do foregather – nor should any Christian be obliged to attend such shows, especially because in putting them on, contrary to god’s commands as they are, no pressure or persecution should be applied by anyone, but rather (as ought to be the case) a man should stand on his free will, divinely granted him.” – Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

Photios, Myriobiblon 180

“In matters of religion he [Ionnes Lydos] seems to have been an unbeliever. He respects and venerates Hellenic beliefs; he also venerates our beliefs, without giving the reader any way of deciding whether such veneration is genuine or hypocritical.” – Photios, Myriobiblon 180

P. Kellis 48

“Copy of the freeing. Aurelius Valerius, son of Sarapion, ex-magistrate of the city of the Mothites, to my own Hilaria, greetings. I agree that because of my exceptional Christianity I have freed you, under Zeus, Earth and Sun, together also with your peculium, and loyalty towards me, so that you shall have freedom unlimited by anyone who might lay a claim to you by this deed of freedom through the most reverend father Psekes….” – P. Kellis 48

Lampridius, Vita Antonini Heliogabali 3.4-5; 6.6-7.4

“He established Elagabalus as a god on the Palatine Hill close to the imperial palace and built him a temple, to which he desired to transfer the emblem of the Great Mother, the fire of Vesta, the Palladium, the shields of the Salii, and all that the Romans held sacred, purposing that no god might be worshipped at Rome save only Elagabalus. He declared, furthermore, that the religions of the Jews and the Samaritans and the rites of the Christians must also be transferred to this place, in order that the priesthood of Elagabalus might include the mysteries of every form of worship … He violated the chastity of a Vestal Virgin, and by removing the holy shrines he profaned the sacred rites of the Roman nation. He also desired to extinguish the everlasting fire. In fact, it was his desire to abolish not only the religious ceremonies of the Romans but also those of the whole world, his one wish being that the god Elagabalus should be worshipped everywhere. He even broke into the sanctuary of Vesta, into which only Vestal Virgins and the priests may enter, though himself defiled by every moral stain and in the company of those who had defiled themselves. He also attempted to carry away the sacred shrine, but instead of the true one he seized only an earthenware one, which the Senior Vestal had shown him in an attempt to deceive him, and when he found nothing in it, he threw it down and broke it. The cult, however, did not suffer at his hands, for several shrines had been made, it is said, exactly like the true one, in order that none might ever be able to take this one away. Though this be so, he nevertheless carried away the image which he believed to be the Palladium, and after washing it over with gold he placed it in the temple of his god. He also adopted the worship of the Great Mother and celebrated the rite of the taurobolium; and he carried off her image and the sacred objects which are kept hidden in a secret place. He would toss his head to and fro among the castrated devotees of the goddess, and he infibulated himself, and did all that the eunuch-priests are wont to do; and the image of the goddess which he carried off he placed in the sanctuary of his god. He also celebrated the rite of Salambo with all the wailing and the frenzy of the Syrian cult — thereby foreshadowing his own impending doom. In fact, he asserted that all gods were merely the servants of his god, calling some its chamberlains, others its slaves, and others its attendants for divers purposes.” – Lampridius, Vita Antonini Heliogabali 3.4-5; 6.6-7.4

Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

“We were fortunate to arrive in time for the sacred festival of the great god whom the Greeks call Zeus, the Egyptians Serapis, and there was a procession of torches. It was the greatest spectacle I ever beheld, for it was late evening and the sun had gone down; but there was no sign of night — it was as though another sun had arisen, but distributed into small parts in every direction; I thought that on that occasion the city vied with the sky for beauty. I also visited the Gracious Zeus and his temple in his aspect as god of heaven; and then praying to the great god and humbly imploring him that our troubles might be at last at an end, we came back to the lodgings which Menelaus had hired for us.” – Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

P. Oxy. 1926

“My lord god almighty and Saint Philoxenos my patron, I beg you by the mighty name of the lord god, if it is not your will that I make an offer for the money-changing business and for the weighing office, let me know and I will not make the offer.” – P. Oxy. 1926

Theodoret, The Healing of Pagan Diseases 8.63-4

“Those who are well ask the martyrs to protect their good health, while those who are worn down by illness request release from their sufferings. The childless ask for children, infertile women call out to become mothers, and those who have received this gift request that it be kept perfectly safe for them … They do not approach them like gods – rather they entreat them as men of god and call on them to act as ambassadors on their behalf. Those who ask with confidence gain what they request – their votive offerings clearly testify to their healing. For some offer representations of eyes, some of feet, others of hands; some are made of gold, others of wood. Their master accepts these little items of little worth, valuing the gift according to the merit of the one offering it. The display of these objects advertises deliverance from suffering – they have been left as commemorations by those who have regained their health. They proclaim the power of the martyrs laid to rest there – whose power proves the greatness of their god.” – Theodoret, The Healing of Pagan Diseases 8.63-4