Vita Cyrilli III:1 – 8: Who Is the Sofia?
The article discusses the so-called “dream episode” of Vita Constantini-Cyrilli, where Saint Cyril chooses amongst beautiful young women the “Sophia” as companion for his life. We discuss the meaning of the ‚hapax legomenon‘ OCS съврьсть, which means ‘spouse’, the meaning of OCS Instr.Sg. бисерomь ‘perl’, which metaphorically designates ‘Christ’, and explain the iconography of the “Sophia” as the Byzantine anti-Nestorian depiction of the Mother of God with Christ (the “perl” = the Sophia) on her lap. The individual description of the iconographic subject, as presented in the Vita, fits to the mosaic icon in the apsis of the Sophia cathedral in Thessaloniki. The “Sophia” is the incarnated logos, Christ himself, and the whole scene, including its medial experience as a dream and, perhaps, its biographical dating to the seventh year of Constantine-Cyril’s life is filled with metaphors for baptism and possibly contains an allusion to the Roman (!) liturgical rite of confirmation.