Among the homiletic corpora of late antiquity the 125 surviving homilies of Severus, patriarch of Antioch (512–518), provide us with a rich lode of works on martyrs. This is not surprising, given that Antioch was second only to Rome in the number of martyrs and saints it venerated. Previously I have examined Severus’ treatment of the deaths of two local martyrs, Barlaam/Barlaha and Romanus (in Martyrdom and Persecution in Late Antique Christianity. Festschrift Boudewijn Dehandschutter, ed. J. Leemans, Leuven – Paris – Walpole, MA, 2010, pp. 1–14) and of four martyrs foreign to Antioch, Drosis/Drosina, Julian, Dometius, and Leontius ( Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association, 5 , pp. 9–20), an examination that proved the quality of the sources which the patriarch used in his preaching. In this paper I intend to carry the discussion further by concentrating on Severus’ treatment of the death of St Babylas in one homily and two hymns, particularly in relation to the treatment accorded to the martyr in John Chrysostom, in order to situate Severus’ homily in the martyrial homiletic tradition and to trace the history of the veneration of this saint in the city of Antioch.
This study of the mariology of the letters of Augustine is part of an international project investigating the development of the cult of Mary before 431. The study argues that the works of authors before this date need to be considered individually, and that negative, ambiguous, or seemingly contradictory findings, as well as data in which Mary figures abundantly, are all valid. The scant role assigned to Mary in Augustine's letters, where she is mostly a credal commodity, stands in stark contrast to the high mariology found in some of his other works, indicating that genre affects the data. An aggregate score of high mariology in the one author, Augustine in this case, does not mean that this score holds true for all his works. A low score must be also taken into serious consideration, and indeed it can be just as important in understanding the development of the cult of Mary before 431.