A priest and monk of the Order of St. Basil in the Thorn-bush (Batos) monastery on Mt. Sinai, and ascetic author of the Byzantine period in literature. Nothing definite is known concerning his career or the exact time at which he lived. Only a few paltry fragments of the literary remains of this almost completely forgotten author have been preserved, and they have still to be collected and separately criticized. In manuscripts, as a rule, he is given the honorary title of "Our Holy Father" (tou hosiou patros hemon Hesychiou presbyterou) and, in cases where the authenticity of this title on a manuscript is certain, it is sufficient to distinguish him from others of the same name, and especially from the celebrated Hesychius of Jerusalem. Examination of the Bible text on which the treatises of one or the other Hesychius are based is just as important a test as this external criterion; thus, Hesychius of Sinai in his Bible quotations regularly follows the version of the "Codex Sinaiticus". How much of the literary material in the latest edition of the works of the Fathers ( Migne, P.G., XCIII, 787-1560), published without any attempt at critical selection under the title of "Hesychius, Presbyter of Jerusalem ", should properly be ascribed to Hesychius of Sinai, can only be determined by monographic investigation. The pivotal point about which such investigation would turn is a collection of 200 ascetic maxims (Peri nepheos kai aretes, De temperantia et virtute) which Migne, loc. cit. 1479-1544, attributes to Hesychius of Jerusalem under a pseudonym, but which should, without doubt, be credited to Hesychius of Sinai. For the author of these maxims acknowledges, by a play on words (ho hesychias pheronymos), that his name is Hesychius and that he is a Basilian monk ; furthermore a number of manuscripts support this intrinsic evidence (Bodl. Barocc. 118, saec. XII-XIII; Bodl. Laud. 21, saec. XIV; Bodl. Canon. 16, saec. XV; Mus. Brit. Burn. 113, saec. XV et al.). The text of the Migne edition could be completed and improved to particular advantage from English manuscripts (Mus. Brit. Addit. 9347, saec. XII, and Bodl. Cromwell. 6, saec. XV). The fact that the maxims are dedicated to a certain Theodulus has given rise in certain manuscripts to the erroneous statement that Theodulus was their author. It cannot be determined here how many of these maxims were derived from older ascetics or how many were adopted by later ones. It is probable that the ascetic and Biblical-ascetic fragments that I have found in Turin Codices (B V 25, saec. XV, fol. 171-174 and C VI 8, saec. XIV, fol. 39 verso 41) under the name of "Our Holy Father Hesychius" should also be attributed to Hesychius of Sinai.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online