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Document Details :
Title: St. Sabas among the Lions
Subtitle: The Wild and the Completely Wild in the Writings of Kyrillos of Skythopolis
Author(s): HØGEL, Christian
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 97 Issue: 3 Date: 2021
The saints’ Lives written by Kyrillos (Cyril) of Skythopolis form a centrepiece in Greek hagiography, not least through the two central Lives of Euthymios and Sabas, respectively. The occurrence of lions in the Kyrillos’ narrative has been noted before, but not with respect to their eschatological and symbolic function, especially in attaching the performance of the saints to landscape and wilderness, and in emphasising the temporal transition from before to after the saintly interventions. Attention is also paid in this article to a distinction in Kyrillos’ vocabulary of wilderness – between the wild and the completely wild (πανέρημος). The article points to important narrative features that Kyrillos borrows from pagan storytelling (especially the story of Androkles and the lion), but also highlights Kyrillos’ contribution to a new – and unsettled – Christian approach to wilderness and its merits in opposition to permanent human settlement, primarily the monasticising of the desert.