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Ioane-Zosime's manuscript in the medieval Georgian patristic nuskhuri script.

Ioane-Zosime (Georgian: იოანე-ზოსიმე), also known as John Zosimos and John Zosimus, was the 10th-century Georgian Christian monk, religious writer, and calligrapher known for his liturgical compilations and the hymns dedicated to the Georgian language.

Biographical details on Ioane-Zosime are scarce beyond the fact that he was one of the numerous expatriate Georgian clerics active at the monastery of Mar Saba in Palestine from where he moved, probably fleeing the Arab rule, to Mount Sinai early in the 970s. His voluminous body of work dates from between 949 and 987. Of the three surviving manuscripts of Ioane-Zosime's Mar-Saba period, two – the collections of hymns of 949 and 954 – are the most important. On Mt. Sinai, Ioane-Zosime principally engaged in bookbinding, collating and copying. In his hymnographic compilations and chronologic treatises, Ioane-Zosime provides a detailed list of sources as well as an encyclopedically organized calendar of saint’s feast days and the chronology of the Georgian liturgy. He also collected obsolete texts which he frequently cites, comparing usage in different ecclesiastical centers and distinguishing Georgian from Greek sources. One of his anthologies of chants ends with Ioane-Zosime’s "testament" written as an elaborate acrostic hymn in which reading the first and last letter of each stanza gives us the name of St. George.[1]

Ioane-Zosime's best known hymn is "Praise and Exaltation of the Georgian Language" (ქებაჲ და დიდებაჲ ქართულისა ენისაჲ; kebay da didebay kartulisa enisay), a mystic poem, full of numerological symbolism and biblical allusions, viewing the author’s native tongue as esoteric, juxtaposing Georgian with Greek – the official language of the Byzantine Empire – and claiming a unique, sacred role for it. Furthermore, Ioane-Zosime imbues the Georgian language with religious connotation as the tongue to be used on the Judgment Day.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Rayfield, Donald (2000), The Literature of Georgia: A History, pp. 32-33. Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1163-5.
  2. ^ Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, pp. 437-438. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1318-5.

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