ANASTASIUS OF EUCAITA
A fictitious character invented in the Period of the CYCLES (eighth century), in relation to the legends concerning the martyr THEODORUS STRATELATES, who was from Eucaita. Anastasius is said to have been bishop of Eucaita, the successor of a certain Sukianus, and it is stated that he composed an encomium in honor of Theodore, the complete text of which exists in Sahidic (Morgan Library M591, unpublished). Portions of the text survive in Bohairic (National Library, Turin; now lost; ed. Rossi, 1893-1894).
This text gives a lengthy account of the life of Theodorus, starting with his family. His father, John, is said to have been a bold Egyptian soldier from the village of Apot (or Apor) near Shotep. After fighting under the emperor Numerian, he married the daughter of a prefect and went to live in Anatolia, where his son Theodore was born. Theodore was educated by his pagan mother and became a bold warrior. There follows the account of his battle with the dragon near the town of Eucaita, his conversion, and his martyrdom for refusing to offer sacrifice.
This text seems to have been created in order to “Egyptianize” the famous military martyr. It is based on the Passion of Theodorus before he was associated with the other Theodorus, known as Anatolius—who, in the Coptic tradition, forms part of the cycle of BASILIDES the General. They are, of course, independent of each other. The encomium attributed to Theodorus of Antioch substantiates that they are different persons.
Although in the Greek tradition the two Theodores develop from a single figure, for hagiographical reasons, the Coptic tradition seems at first to be acquainted with the two Theodores as separate figures, and then to place them in some sort of relation to each other, albeit in a very casual manner.
- Delehaye, H. Légendes grecques des saints militaires, pp. 11-43. Paris, 1909.
- Rossi, F. “Di alcuni manoscritti copti che si conservano nella Biblioteca Nazionale di Torino.” Memorie Accademie di Torino, 2nd ser., 43 (1893):223-340; 44 (1894):21-70.