Xanthopulus, Nicephorus Callistus
XANTHOPULUS, NICEPHORUS CALLISTUS
Byzantine priest, ecclesiastical writer; b. Constantinople, shortly before 1260; d. Constantinople, c. 1335. Enrolled among the clergy of Santa Sophia as a child, he was later affiliated to the college of priests of this basilica and taught grammar and rhetoric, undoubtedly in the patriarchal school. His life thus combined the functions of active cleric and teacher. Despite some of the sources, it does not seem likely that he became a monk, although in his last hours he may have done so, taking the name of Nilus. Xanthopulus's many writings grew out of the practical demands of his ministry and his teaching. Hence, his works include a number of liturgical writings: synaxaries for the chief feasts in the Triodion (i.e., the ten weeks before Easter) and for the feasts of the saints throughout the year; an explanation of the Mass of the Presanctified; a complete Office of Our Lady the Source of Life; commentaries on hymns; ten Marian poems; pious epigrams; and prose prayers. This group of works is of more than practical significance, for it outlines the writer's thinking on certain points of doctrine (Trinitarian theology, eschatology, Mariology) and delineates many liturgical practices current in his day. His works of exegesis, rhetoric, and history are the result of his career as a professor. The outstanding work in this group is his Ecclesiastical History in 18 books covering the beginnings of Christianity to the death of the Emperor Phocas (618). The summary announced five further books to cover the period through the reign of Leo VI (912). Krumbacher claims that this work was a simple plagiarism from another History written in the 9th century; but even in this case it is still useful as an account of the first centuries of Christianity, of the history of the Christological controversies, and of the development of the heresies, because it cites frequently and sometimes at length from annals since lost (e.g., that of theodore lector, a 6th–century writer). Xanthopulus's thoroughness as a historian led him to compile—as part of his documentation—catalogues of the Fathers of the church, the emperors, patriarchs, melodists, and saints and synthesized explanations of events within specific periods. His secular writings were confined to some exercises in rhetoric and a eulogy on wine.
Bibliography: Sources. Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 161 v. (Paris 1857–66) 145–147. For complete list of works including those not collected in Patrologia Graeca, see m. jugie, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–) 11.1: 446–452, noting that the life of St. Andrew the Fool is not the work of Xanthopulus. Literature. n. gregoras, Correspondance de Nicéphore Grégoras, ed. and tr. r. guilland (Paris 1927) 382–385. i. sykoutris, Περὶ τὸ σχίσμα τ[symbol omitted]ν ᾈρσενιατ[symbol omitted]ν 4 v. (Athens 1929–32) 3:29–33. v. laurent, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 10:1007. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 705–707. m. e. colonna, Storici profani, v.1 of Gli storici bizantini dal sec. IV al sec. XV (Naples 1956–) 137–138, for manuscripts of the History. g. moravcsik, Die byzantinischen Quellen der Geschichte der Türkvölker, v.1 of Byzantinoturcica, 2v. (2d ed. Berlin 1958) 459–60, for the History.
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