Manuel Gedeon, Sanctifications, Pournaras, Thessaloniki, 1984, pp. 125.
The present book constitutes an epitome of the hagiologic works that this great chronicler, historian and Great Sacristan of the Great Church of Christ, wrote. A work of maturity, as noted by late professor I. Foundoulis in the introduction of the book, it did not lose its timeliness, since in our century the Church had the holy benefaction of the existence within it of enough newfangled saints and was, thus, led to the “renewal” of its Feast Calendar.
In this work, the Great Sacristan uses various passages from the earlier, more voluminous, as he himself confesses, work under the title: “Byzantine Feast Calendar” and attempts to cover gaps and questions expressed over time about the issue of recognizing saints. Thus, his work is complementary, but, at the same time, radiates outwards to the whole spectrum of history and the adventures of eastern Christianity. From the feast days of the ancient Greeks, the early Christians, the martyrs of Persia and the martyrs in the hands of Muslim Arabs, the martyrs of Turkish occupation and Iconoclastic wars up to the sanctifications of emperors and bishops, as well as of ecclesiastic artists (painters, poets and musicians), these are all included in this short project.
It is noteworthy that although the author was probably self-taught on these issues, a faithful cleric, not a specialised academic and although the era during which he wrote was a period of instability and uncertainty for all, Manouel Gedeon will not hesitate to stand with a critical eye towards some sanctifications. Mostly the sanctifications of emperors, bishops and ecclesiastical artists are not, in his opinion, devoid of various expediencies. Furthermore, sanctifications during the Turkish occupation and the Iconoclastic wars preserved along with their ecclesiastical – theological criterion the service of local interests, mostly of cohesion and prominence and less of economics. Thus, even though the work of Gedeon is old and unrefined, it maintains an unaffected importance and the beginnings of a critical – academic consideration.