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Blastares, Matthew

BLASTARES, MATTHEW

14th-century Byzantine canonist and monk. Little is known of his life other than that he was a monk and priest first on Mt. Athos, then in the Isaia monastery at Thessalonika. In 1335 he completed his Syntagma, an encyclopedic compilation of ecclesiastical and civil laws to which he added his own commentaries and those of his predecessors, especially Zonaras and the illustrious Theodore balsamon.

The Syntagma groups the laws, not according to subject matter, but according to the Greek alphabet. There are 24 main headings, and within each main section the items are arranged in alphabetical order. The work is completed with a short lexicon of Latin legal terms. Widely translated, the Syntagma influenced the legal codes of late Byzantium and the surrounding nations.

Blastares also entered into his work the theological controversies of his time, wrote against the Latin use of Azymes, composed a Description of the Error of the Latins (unedited), and enscribed a letter to Guy of Lusignan. He is also the probable author of five books written against the Jews, and several liturgical tracts and hymns are attributed to him.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, (Paris 185766) 144:9601400. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 786787. l. petit, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (Paris 190350) 2.1:916917. r. janin, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 7:173; Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 9:160161. j. herman, Dictionnaire de droit canonique (Paris 193565) 2:920925. a. soloviev, Studi bizantini e neoellenici 5 (1939) 698707.

[h. d. hunter]

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