Synaxarium

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Description:
Synaxarion, Synexarion, pl. Synaxaria (, from συνάγειν, synagein, to bring together; cf. etymology of "synaxis" and "synagogue")—Latin: Synaxarium, Synexarium—the name given in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches to a compilation of hagiographies corresponding roughly to the martyrology of the Roman Church.

There are two kinds of synaxaria:

  • Simple Synaxaria: lists of the saints arranged in the order of their anniversaries, e.g. the calendar of Morcelli
  • Historical Synaxaria: including biographical notices, e.g. the menology of Basil and the synaxarium of Sirmond. The notices given in the historical synaxaria are summaries of those in the great menologies, or collections of lives of saints, for the twelve months of the year. 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.


Definitions

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. 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 essentially transformed into the "Gospel" and "Apostle" books. Synaxarion remained the title for the index to the other...
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