(c. 700)

 Coptic Abbot,
Monastery of St. Antony,Egypt

Abbot of the Monastery of  Mt. Sinai around 700, Anastasius wrote vigorously against Monophysitism, Monothelism, and Judaism.  His Hodegos or Guide was a popular manual of controversy among medieval Greeks theologians. The (154) Questions and Answers on Various Theological matters attributed to him are at least in part (some consider them wholly) spurious.

Anastasius of Sinai, Quaestiones 61,

 pp. 111-112

QUESTION 61: In regard to the Greeks who died before the coming of Christ, is it fitting to pray for them, rather than condemn them?

ΞΑ´ ΕΡΩΤΗΣΙΣ Τί οὖν, καὶ τοῖς Ἕλλησι τοῖς τελευτήσασι πρὸ τῆς Χριστοῦ παρουσίας, δεῖ εὔχεσθαι καὶ μὴ ἀναθεματίζειν;

ANSWER: 1. You must never condemn those who died before the coming of Christ: for even in hell Christ was proclaimed once and for all.  For in anticipation John the precursor proclaimed Christ [even] in that place; and you hear holy Peter saying concerning Christ that “He went and preached to the spirits in prison who formerly disobeyed: (1Pet.3:19-20)

ΑΠΟΚΡΙΣΙΣ 1. Μηδαμῶς ἀναθεματίσῃς ἄνθρωπον πρὸ τῆς ἐπιδημίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ τελευτήσαντα· καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν τῷδῃ προσάπαξ [5]  καὶ μόνον ἐγένετο Χριστοῦ Κήρυγμα. Προλαβὼν γὰρ Ἰωάννης ὁ Πρόδρομος ἐκήρυξε κἀκεῖσε τὸν Χριστόν, καὶ ἅκουσον του ἁγίου Πέτρου λέγοντος περὶ Χριστοῦ, ὅτι Πορευθείς φησιν ἐκήρυξε καὶ τοῖς ἐν δῃ πνεύμασι ποτὲ ἀπειθήσασιν.


2. FOR example, there is an ancient tradition concerning a certain scholar who frequently cursed the philosopher Plato.  And so [one day] Plato appeared to him in a dream  and said; “Man, cease from cursing me, it is your own self that you harm.  I admit that I was a sinful man: but when Christ descended into hell, truly, no one believed in him more quickly than I did.”

    2. Καὶ γοῦν φέρεται ἀρχαία παράδοσις, ὅτι τις σχολαστικὸς [10] πολλὰ κατηράσατο τὸν Πλάτωνα τὸν φιλόσοφον· φαίνεται οὖν αὐτᾷ ὁ Πλάτων καθ´ ὕπνους λέγων αὐτῷ, Ἄνθρωπε, παῦσαι τοῦ καταρᾶσθαί με· ἑαυτὸν γὰρ βλάπτεις. Ὅτι γὰρ ἁμαρτωλὸς ἄνθρωπος γέγονα, οὐκ ἀρνοῦμαι· πλὴν κατελθόντος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῷδῃ, ὄντως οὐδεὶς ἐπίστευσε πρὸ ἐμοῦ εἰς αὐτόν.

3. Having heard this you cannot believe that there is no repentance in hell.  This happened once and for all: [namely] that Christ descended into the depths to visit those who died in past ages.

    [15] 3. Ταῦτα δὲ ἀκούων μὴ νομίσῃς εἶναι πάντοτε ἐν τῷδῃ μετάνοιαν· ἅπαξ γὰρ καί μόνον τοῦτο γέγονεν, ὅτε ὁ Χριστὸς ἐν τοῖς καταχθονίοις κατελήλυθε, τοὺς ἀπ̉ αἰῶνος κεκοιμημένους ἐπισκέψασθαι.