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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Cosmas of Jerusalem

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(surnamed the Hagiopolite, also the Methodist), who held the second place among Greek ecclesiastical poets, was born at Jerusalem. Being left an orphan at an early age, he was adopted by the father of John of Damascus, and the two fosterbrothers were bound together by a friendship which lasted through life. They excited each other to hymnology, and assisted, corrected, and polished each other's compositions. Cosmas, like his friend, became a monk of St. Sabas, and against his will was consecrated bishop of Majuma, near Gaza, in A.D. 743, by John, patriarch of Jerusalem, the same who ordained John of Damascus priest. After administering his diocese with great holiness, he died of old age, about 760, and is commemorated by the Eastern Church October 14.

"Where perfect sweetness dwells, is Cosmas gone; But his sweet lays to cheer the Church live on," says the verse prefixed to his life. His compositions are numerous; the best seem to be his canons on Gregory Nazianzen and the Purification. To him a considerable part of the Octoechus is owing "He is the most learned of the Greek Church poets, and his fondness for types, boldness in their application, and love of aggregating them, make him the Oriental Adam of St. Victor. It is owing partly to a compressed fulness of meaning, very uncommon in the Greek poets of the Church,. partly to the unusual harshness and contraction of his phrases, that he is the hardest of ecclesiastical bards to comprehend" (Neale ). The following hymns have been translated into English by Neale:

Χριστὸς γεννᾶται, δοξάσατε (Christmas). "Christ is born! Tell forth his fame!" Τῷ πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων . "Him, of the Father's very Essence." ῾Ράβδος ἐκ τῆς ρίζης . "Rod of the Root of Jesse." Θεὸς ]ν εἰρήνης. "Father of Peace, and God of Consolation!" Σπλάγχωνω Ι᾿ωνᾶν . "As Jonah, issuing from his three days' tomb."' Οἱ παῖδες εὐσεβείᾷ . "The Holy Children'boldly stand." Θαύματος ὑπερφυοῦς δροσοβόλος . "The dewy freshness that the furnace flings." Μυστήριον ξένον . "O wondrous mystery, full of passing grace!" Χορὸς Ι᾿σραήλ (Transfiguration). "The choirs of ransomed Israel." A Latin translation is given in Bibl. Patrol. ed. Colon. 7:536 sq. His hymns were first printed by Aldus (Venice, 1501),.and they are to be found in La Bigne, Bibl. Patrol. 12:727 sq.; Migne, Patrol. 98, and Daniel, Thesaurus Hymnologicus, 3:55. According to Allatius (De Georgiis, page 418) they have been expounded by Joannes. Zonaras, Theodorus Prodromus, George of Corinth, and others. See Suidas, s.v. Ιωανν . Δαμασκ .; Joann. Hieros. in Vita Joann. Damasc. ed. Oudin, 1:1785; Gallandi, 13, page 8; Miraeus, Auctar. de Script. Eccl.; Vossius, De Poet. Graec. c. 9; Saxius in Onom. Lit. 2:85; Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. 6:41; Le Quien, Vit. Joann. Damasc. page 20; Jocher, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexikon, s.v.; Smith and Wace, Dict. of Christ. Biog. s.v.; Neale, Hymns of the Eastern Church, page 127 sq.; Rambach, Anthologie Christlicher Gesange, 1:136 sq.; Jacobi, Zur Geschichte des Grechischen Kirchenliedes, in Brieger's Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte (Gotha, 1881), 5:210 sq. (B.P.)


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cosmas of Jerusalem'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/cosmas-of-jerusalem.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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