The Life of St Pankratios of Taormina describes the mission and martyrdom of St Pankratios, a disciple of the Apostle Peter sent to evangelize Taormina as its first bishop, and purports to have been written by St Pankratios’ successor, Euagrios. The text was composed in the early eighth century and is of Sicilian provenance.
The Life contributes to our understanding of the Byzantine attitude to the past and of the novelistic approach to hagiography. It touches on the topography of Sicily and Calabria, ecclesiastical arrangements in Sicily, civil and military administration, the Sicilian language question, church decoration, liturgical rites, book production, and the attitude to religious images.
Cynthia Stallman-Pacitti (D.Phil, Oxford 1986), after occupying junior positions at Melbourne, Harvard and Belfast, lectured in Classics at the University of Melbourne until her death in 1992. Her study of Cyril of Scythopolis’ Lives was published in 1991.
John Burke is a Senior Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He has published on Byzantine literature and palaeography, and has edited several volumes in the Byzantina Australiensia series.
Anyone interested in Byzantine Studies, the history of Sicily, hagiography, religious images and iconoclasm, liturgical studies, church history, pagans and Christians.