George of Amastris

George of Amastris (Greek: Γεώργιος ὁ Ἀμάστριδος; died 802/807) was a Byzantine monk who was made bishop of Amastris against his will.


George was born in the town ton Kromnenon, located near Amastris in Paphlagonia, to a local noble family, around the middle of the 8th century.[1][2]

As a young man, he began a career in the church administration, but left it to become a hermit on Mt. Agrioserike. Still later, he joined a cenobitic monastic community at a place called Bonyssa.[1][2] When the see of Amastris fell vacant in c. 790, the Patriarch of Constantinople Tarasios appointed George to fill it, despite the emperor favouring a different person for the post.[1]

George was consecrated as bishop in Constantinople. During his time as bishop of Amastris, George presided over the return of the remains of John of Gothia to the latter's native city of Parthenia, Crimea. George died early in the reign of Emperor Nikephoros I, of whom George was a notable supporter.

He is recognized as a saint in the Orthodox liturgy, and his feast-day is 21 February.[1][2]


George is the subject of a hagiography preserved in a single manuscript dating to the 10th century.[1] In it, the saint is credited with several miracles, including saving the city from a raid by the hitherto-unknown Rus', who intended to despoil the saint's tomb.[1][2]

The accuracy of this information is open to question, and depends on the dating of its composition: Vasily Vasilievsky and Ihor Ševčenko have attributed it to George's near-contemporary Ignatios the Deacon, with a date of composition sometime before 842, whereas Germaine da Costa-Louillet and Wanda Wolska-Conus considered it a later, 10th-century work. Athanasios Markopoulos further suggested that while the bulk of the work is to be attributed to Ignatios, the Russian episode was a later addition, under the influence of Patriarch Photios.[1][2] The significance of the episode's authenticity lies in its being possibly the first recorded attack by the Rus' against Byzantium.[2]

Despite his close ties to Empress Irene of Athens and Nikephoros I, the hagiography is noteworthy for its "lack of anti-Iconoclastic invective".[1] As a result, and because of some similarities in the treatment of Emperor Nikephoros I to Nikephoros II Phokas (r. 963–969) Alexander Kazhdan suggested a date of composition towards the end of the 10th century.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h ODB, "George of Amastris" (A. Kazhdan), p. 837.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database, "George of Amastris", pp. 43–44.


  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander; Talbot, Alice-Mary; Alexakis, Alexander; Efthymiadis, Stephanos; McGrath, Stamatina; Sherry, Lee Francis; Zielke, Beate, eds. (1998). Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database of the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Century (PDF). Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks.
Annales Bertiniani

Annales Bertiniani (or Annals of Saint Bertin) are late Carolingian, Frankish annals that were found in the Abbey of Saint Bertin, Saint-Omer, France, after which they are named. Their account is taken to cover the period 830-82, thus continuing the Royal Frankish Annals (741–829), from which, however, it has circulated independently in only one manuscript. They are available in the Monumenta Germaniæ Historica (Waitz 1883) and in a later French edition taking into account a newly discovered manuscript (Grat 1964).

The Annals of St. Bertin are one of the principal sources of ninth-century Francia, and are particularly well-informed on events in the West Frankish sphere of Charles the Bald. The Annales Fuldenses are usually read as an East Frankish counterpart to their narrative.

February 21 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

February 20 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - February 22

All fixed commemorations below are observed on March 6 (March 5 on leap years) by Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar.For February 21st, Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar commemorate the Saints listed on February 8.

Index of Byzantine Empire-related articles

This is a list of people, places, things, and concepts related to or originating from the Byzantine Empire (AD 330–1453). Feel free to add more, and create missing pages. You can track changes to the articles included in this list from here.

Note: People are listed by first name. Events, monuments and institutions like "Battle/Siege/Council/Church/Duchy/etc. of NNN" are listed by the location/name.

Kievan Rus'

Kievan Rus' (Old East Slavic: Рѹсь (Rus' ), Рѹсьскаѧ землѧ (Rus'skaya zemlya); Latin: Rus(s)ia, Ruscia, Ruzzia, Rut(h)enia) was a loose federation of East Slavic and Finnic peoples in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, under the reign of the Varangian Rurik dynasty. The modern nations of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine all claim Kievan Rus' as their cultural ancestors, with Belarus and Russia deriving their names from it.

At its greatest extent, in the mid-11th century, it stretched from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south and from the headwaters of the Vistula in the west to the Taman Peninsula in the east, uniting the majority of East Slavic tribes.According to Russian historiography, the first ruler to start uniting East Slavic lands into what has become known as Kievan Rus' was Prince Oleg (882–912). He extended his control from Novgorod south along the Dnieper river valley to protect trade from Khazar incursions from the east, and he moved his capital to the more strategic Kiev. Sviatoslav I (died 972) achieved the first major expansion of Kievan Rus' territorial control, fighting a war of conquest against the Khazars. Vladimir the Great (980–1015) introduced Christianity with his own baptism and, by decree, extended it to all inhabitants of Kiev and beyond. Kievan Rus' reached its greatest extent under Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054); his sons assembled and issued its first written legal code, the Rus' Justice, shortly after his death.The state declined beginning in the late 11th century and during the 12th century, disintegrating into various rival regional powers. It was further weakened by economic factors, such as the collapse of Rus' commercial ties to the Byzantine Empire due to the decline of Constantinople and the accompanying diminution of trade routes through its territory. The state finally fell to the Mongol invasion of the 1240s.

Paphlagonian expedition of the Rus'

The Paphlagonian expedition of the Rus' was an attack by the Rus' on cities on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) and on the coast of the Paphlagonia, marking the first known contact between the Rus' and the Byzantine Empire. Its date is questioned, as is the belief that it was distinct from the Rus'–Byzantine War (860).

Siege of Constantinople (860)

The Siege of Constantinople of 860 was the only major military expedition of the Rus' Khaganate recorded in Byzantine and Western European sources. The cause of the siege was the construction of the fortress Sarkel by Byzantine engineers, restricting the Rus' trade route along the Don River in favor of the Khazars. Accounts vary regarding the events, with discrepancies between contemporary and later sources. The exact outcome is unknown.

It is known from Byzantine sources that the Rus' caught Constantinople unprepared, while the empire was preoccupied by the ongoing Arab–Byzantine wars and unable to deal with the Rus' threat. After pillaging the suburbs of the Byzantine capital, the Rus' retreated, although the nature of this withdrawal, and indeed which side was victorious, is subject to debate. The event gave rise to a later Orthodox Christian tradition, which ascribed the deliverance of Constantinople to a miraculous intervention by the Theotokos.


The Varangians (; Old Norse: Væringjar; Greek: Βάραγγοι, Várangoi, Βαριάγοι, Variágoi) was the name given by Greeks, Rus' people, and others to Vikings, who between the 9th and 11th centuries, ruled the medieval state of Kievan Rus', settled among many territories of modern Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, and formed the Byzantine Varangian Guard. According to the 12th century Kievan Primary Chronicle, a group of Varangians known as the Rus' settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. Before Rurik, the Rus' might have ruled an earlier hypothetical polity. Rurik's relative Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus', which was later ruled by Rurik's descendants.Engaging in trade, piracy, and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki, as the areas north of the Black Sea were known in the Norse sagas. They controlled the Volga trade route (between the Varangians and the Arabs), connecting the Baltic to the Caspian Sea, and the Dnieper and Dniester trade route (between Varangians and the Greeks) leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Those were the critically important trade links at that time, connecting Medieval Europe with Arab Caliphates and the Byzantine Empire; Most of the silver coinage in the West came from the East via those routes.

Attracted by the riches of Constantinople, the Varangian Rus' initiated a number of Rus'-Byzantine Wars, some of which resulted in advantageous trade treaties. At least from the early 10th century many Varangians served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army, constituting the elite Varangian Guard (the personal bodyguards of Byzantine Emperors). Eventually most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in 988. Coinciding with the general decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Scandinavians to Rus' stopped, and Varangians were gradually assimilated by East Slavs by the late 11th century.


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