A few years ago (2011), Alin Suciu pointed to some Coptic manuscripts of a homily for Holy Saturday attributed to Epiphanius of Salamis (see here). The Greek is at PG 43: 440-464 and some data is available for other versions at CPG 3768; Alin kindly provides PDFs for both of these in his post. I would like to add some more information on this homily — attributed elsewhere also to Anastasius of Sinai and even Cyril of Alexandria — in Gəʕəz, Georgian, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic/Garšūnī; for all of these versions except Georgian and Armenian, there are manuscripts available through HMML.
(There are, of course, many pieces of art that cover the contents of this homily, from Joseph of Arimathea and the removal of Jesus’ body from the cross, his burial, and his descent into hell, even from the Brick Testament; there are, in fact, so many that I didn’t have time to choose any to include here, but for what it’s worth, here is a relatively unknown one from Sybil Andrews [d. 1992].)
There is no Gəʕəz in the CPG list, but there are at least four copies known to me; I have not, however, checked all the catalogs. In these four manuscripts, at least, it is attributed to Anastasius of Sinai, as in Vat. Syr. 369 (see below).
- BL Orient. 774 (15th cent.), ff. 91r-101r (Wright, Cat. Eth. BM, p. 228); in margin በዕርበተ ፡ ፀሓይ ፡ ፡ምንባብ። “Reading for the evening”
- BL Orient. 775 (18th cent.), ff. 108r-121v (Wright, Cat. Eth. BM, p. 229)
- EMML 2868 (late 18th cent., it seems), ff. 169r-end
ድርሳን ፡ ዘቅዱስ ፡ ወብዙዕ ፡ አንስጣስዮስ ፡ አቡነ ፡ ዘደብረ ፡ ሲና ፡ በእንተ ፡ ዘከመ ፡ ተቀብረ ፡ … ወርደቶ ፡ ውስተ ፡ ሲኦል ፡ ወበእንተ ፡ ዮሴፍ ፡ ዘአርማትያስ ፡ ረድኡ ፡ ለኢየሱስ።
Homily of Saint Anastasius of Mt. Sinai on how [Jesus] was buried and his descent into hell, and on Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’ disciple.
Incipit: ይቤ ፡ ምንት ፡ ይእቲ ፡ ዛቲ ፡ አርምሞ ፡ He said: What is this silence…?
- EMML 4967 (20th cent.), ff. 141v-146v
The information given at CPG 3768 for Georgian is very spare, so I’ll fill it out here. Only Michel Van Esbroeck’s book Les plus anciens homéliaires géorgiens (1975) is cited, yet without page numbers: the relevant ones are pp. 85-86. The title (with my ET) is
დიდსა შაფათსა. საკითხავი. თქუმული წმიდისა მამისა ჩუენისა ეპიფანე კჳპრელ მთავარებისკოპოსისაჲ დაფლვისა თჳს უფლისა ჩუენისა იესუ ქრისტჱსა და იოსების თჳს მართლისა.
Great [i.e. Holy] Saturday, reading: Homily of our father, Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus, archbishop, on the burial of our Lord Jesus Christ and on Joseph the Just.
The title in Borg. Geo. 4, where the homily occupies ff. 14v-28r (see Van Lantschoot, “Le ms. Borgia géorgien 4,” Le Muséon 61 , here 80-81), is different and fuller:
წმიდათა შოვრის მამისა ჩუენისა ეპიფანე კჳპრელ მთავარებისკოპოსისაჲ. საღმრთოთა ჴორცთა ოჳფლისა ჩუენისა იესოჳ ქრისტჱსთა დაფლვისათჳს: და იოსიფ და ნიკოდიმოსისთჳს: და ჯოჯოხეთს შთასლვისათჳს ოჳფლისა შემდგომად განმაცხოველებელისა ვნებისა მისისა რომელი ესე იკითხვების დიდსა შაბათსა: მამაო გუაკურთხენ:
[Homily] of our father among the saints, Epiphanius of Cyprus, archbishop, on the burial of the divine body of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Joseph and Nicodemus, and on the Lord’s descent into hell after his life-giving Passion, which is read on Great Saturday. Bless us, father!
The incipit (from Van Esbroeck) reads
რაჲ არს ესე დღეს დუმილი მრავალი ქუეყანასა ზედა რაჲ არს ესე დუმილი
What is this thorough silence today on the earth? What is this silence?
“La tradition géorgienne est surabondante,” he says, citing eleven manuscripts in addition to Athos 11.
For Armenian, too, CPG points to Van Esbroeck’s study, again with no page references. At the end of the section on this homily, he lists Venice 201 and 227, and Matenadaran 993, № 106, where the homily is attributed to Cyril of Alexandria.
In Vat. Syr. 369, № 37 (see Sauget’s art. cited in CPG: OCP 27 , p. 420), it is attributed to Anastasius of Sinai. It is not clear how the text referred to by Sauget corresponds with the following two late copies:
- MGMT 33 (d. 1969), pp. 1-8
- SOAH 16 (d. 1969), pp. 537-540 (The text here corr. to PG 43: 444c-452c.)
Arabic (see Garšūnī below)
In addition to the note in CPG, with reference to GCAL I 357 (see lines 11-23), we mention these:
- Monastery of St. George, Homeira, Syria (HMIR) 16 (d. 1682/3), ff. 53v-67r
- DIYR 121 (18th/19th cent.), ff. 332r-340v
- BzAr 118 (d. 1820), ff. 139v-151r
- SMMJ 170 (d. 1596), ff. 279r-282v
- CCM 345 (d. 1678/9), ff. 34v-44r
- CFMM 286 (16th/17th cent.), pp. 95-109
- SMMJ 169 (18th cent.), ff. 111r-118v
- CFMM 292 (18th/19th cent.), pp. 88-97
Others have noted that this homily, whoever wrote it, was obviously popular in several languages. There is, I think, no English translation from the Greek or any of the versions, so a monograph on one or more of these versions, with English translation, is an obvious desideratum.