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youth. He once visited a sacred grove to see if the epiphanies of Artemis bruited about in 'wild rumours' still occurred:

He heard about a certain place which was about eight miles away called Arkea, where it was impossible to approach, because there was a clamour that Artemis lived there with many daemons and harmed people unto death. Astonished at this rumour, he went to that place at a run . . . and spent the entire afternoon in the place believed to belong to Artemis. When no evil activity was manifested, through the activity of Christ, he returned to the martyrium [of St George].103

As a mature monk, Theodore took an interest in ridding the villages of magicians and sorcerers. He is reported to have induced a fellow named Theodotus Kourappus to burn his magic books and accept baptism.104 On other occasions, Theodore visited villages to perform exorcism. One consequence of the ruralisation of the sixth-century economy was much building activity in villages. Rural builders frequently cannibalised pagan tombs in the Anatolian countryside for limestone blocks. Most villagers were aware of the taboos connected with tombs, where inscriptions called upon the spirits of the underworld to torment the grave-breaker.105 When this occurred, villagers sometimes lapsed into a type of 'possessed' behaviour that involved wrecking houses, killing farm animals and engaging in seemingly senseless laughter after being set upon by the guardian spirits. Theodore was frequently summoned to calm the villagers by performing group and individual exorcisms. He did this by summoning St George, the tutelary saint of his monastery, the Theotokos, and Christ.106

A formal orthopraxy in Anatolian Christianity existed in the late sixth century, but its origin was hybrid. The earlier pagan rituals and aetiologies persisted, but Christian cult formulae displaced the olderpagan invocations. So, for example, the use of apotropaic circles to protect tilled fields from hail-bearing clouds and overflowing rivers was adopted, and the gods who controlled these phenomena were degraded to the status of daemons. Eradicating the names of the pagan gods from folk culture nevertheless proved difficult. A canon of the Council in Trullo of 691-2 forbade the practice of invoking the name of Dionysus at the time of the Brumalia, a calendar event associated with the pouring of fermented wine into bottles.107 The sources refer to other pagan

103 George the Monk, Vita S. Theodori Sykeon 16.

106 George the Monk, Vita S. Theodori Sykeon 114.

107 Council ofTrullanum, canon 62 (ed. Joannou, Discipline générale, 198-200).

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