Monday, October 3, 2016

On the Prophecies of St. Andrew the Fool for Christ

In his Synaxaristes, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite makes an important note for the commemoration of St. Andrew the Fool for Christ on May 28th. He does not write anything about the life of this Saint, but after stating that he reposed in peace and giving the iambiac verses, he notes the following reason for not writing anything further:

"The Life of this Saint Andrew is preserved in a manuscript of much breadth, a book almost of large composition, in which are contained numerous prophecies concerning the future. I will never issue this here, since it is said it contains some things that are doubly unacceptable, and it is found at Iveron, as well as other places."

The Life of Saint Andrew, written by a certain "Nikephorus in Constantinople" in the tenth century, contains a section when Andrew is answering a question made by his disciple Epiphanios on "when and how this world will come to an an end."

During the late East Roman era, a number of writings appeared predicting the apocalypse to be marked by the fall of Constantinople. While they were repeated in the 14th and 15th centuries, their origins are most likely in the 10th, whilst the Eastern Roman Empire was still strong. Constantinople's destruction is described along these lines in the Life of Andrew the Fool.

The text claims that Hagia Sophia would survive a great flood by "floating over waters," but Saint Andrew explains instead that only the column (the obelisk) would survive because beneath its foundations are the Holy Nails which were used to crucify Jesus Christ. In this work, Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

Scholars have suggested that this book is an apocalyptic encyclopedia, which compiles in one book all the supposed prophecies of previous centuries and issues them as if they came from one prophetic Saint. The text certainly indicates the author was familiar with certain early apocalyptic documents. For example, it seems to rely heavily on the Greek apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius.