( synaxarion , collection)
The name of a liturgical book of the Byzantine Church. The exact meaning of the name has changed at various times. Its first use was for the index to the Biblical and other lessons to be read in church. In this sense it corresponds to the Latin Capitulare and Comes (see LESSONS IN THE LITURGY). Then the Synaxarion was filled up with the whole text of the pericopes to be read. As far as the Holy Liturgy was concerned this meant that it was replaced by the "Gospel" and "Apostle" books. Synaxarion remained the title for the index to the other lessons. Without changing its name it was filled up with complete texts of these lessons in the same way. As the lessons in the Byzantine Divine Office are always lives of saints, the Synaxarion became the collection of short lives of saints and accounts of events whose memory is kept (like the lessons of the second nocturn ). It is often compared to the Roman Martyrology. The parallel would be more exact, if we imagine the second nocturn lessons arranged together in a separate book. The mere index of such lessons is generally called menologion heortastikon , a book hardly needed or used, since the Typikon supplies all that is wanted. There are a great number of medieval Synaxaria extant in manuscript. They are important for Byzantine heortology and church history. The short lives that form the lessons were composed or collected by various writers. Of these Symeon Metaphrastes is the most important. The accounts are of very varying historical value. Emperor Basil II (976-1025) ordered a revision of the Synaxarion, which forms an important element of the present official edition (Analecta Bollandiana, XIV, 1895, p. 404). The Synaxarion is not now used as a separate book; it is incorporated in the Menaia. The account of the saint or feast is read in the Orthros after the sixth ode of the Canon. It is printed in its place here, and bears each time the name synaxarion as title. Synaxarion then in modern use means, not the whole collection, but each separate lesson in the Menaia and other books. An example of such a Synaxarion (for St. Martin I , 13 April) will be found in Nilles, op. cit. , infra, I, xlix. Certain metrical calendars extant in the Middle Ages were also called Synaxaria. Krumbacher ("Gesch. der byzantin, Lit.", 2nd ed., Munich, 1897, pp. 738, 755) describes those composed by Christopher of Mytilene (d. about 1050) and Theodore Prodromus (twelfth century).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online