Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


John Malalas in his Chronographia reports that, after the Samaritan revolt of Justasas in 484, the emperor Zeno (474-491) rebuilt the church of *Prokopios (martyr of Palestine, S00118) in Caesarea, and converted the Samaritan synagogue of Mount Gerizim into a church of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033); all in Plaestine. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

Evidence ID

E05727

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

John Malalas, Chronographia, 15.8

Ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς Ζήνωνος βασιλείας πρόφασιν λαβόντες οἱ ἐκ τοῦ ἔθνους τῶν Σαμαρειτῶν ἐτυράννησαν καὶ ἔστεψαν λῄσταρχον ὀνόματι Ἰουστασὰν Σαμαρείτην· καὶ εἰσῆλθεν ἐν Καισαρείᾳ καὶ ἐθεώρησεν ἱππικὸν καὶ ἐφόνευσεν πολλοὺς {χριστιανοὺς} ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς πρώτης Παλαιστίνης Πορφυρίου. ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς Ἰουστασὰς ἔκαυσε τὸν ἅγιον Προκόπιον ἐπὶ Τιμοθέου ἐπισκόπου Καισαρείας. καὶ ἐλθὼν ὁ δοὺξ Παλαιστίνης Ἀσκληπιάδης μετὰ τῆς αὐτοῦ βοηθείας καὶ ὁ λῃστοδιώκτης Ῥήγης, ὁ ἀξιωματικὸς Καισαρείας, μετὰ τῶν Ἀρκαδιακῶν καὶ ὁρμήσαντες κατ’ αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῆς αὐτῶν βοηθείας συνέβαλον αὐτῷ καὶ παρέλαβον αὐτόν· καὶ ἀπεκεφάλισαν τὸν αὐτὸν Ἰουστασάν, καὶ ἐπέμφθη ἡ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ μετὰ τοῦ διαδήματος τῷ βασιλεῖ Ζήνωνι. καὶ εὐθέως ὁ βασιλεὺς Ζήνων ἐποίησε τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτῶν τὴν οὖσαν εἰς τὸ Γαργαζὶ ὄρος εὐκτήριον οἶκον τῆς ἁγίας θεοτόκου Μαρίας, ἀνανεώσας καὶ τὸν ἅγιον Προκόπιον, ποιήσας διάταξιν μὴ στρατεύεσθαι Σαμαρείτην, δημεύσας καὶ τοὺς εὐπόρους αὐτῶν· καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος καὶ εἰρήνη.

‘During Zeno’s reign, the Samaritans rebelled in Palestine and crowned a bandit chief named Justasas, a Samaritan. He entered Caesarea, organised a chariot-race, and killed many Christians. Porphyrios was then governor of Palaestina Prima. Justasas also burned Saint Prokopios’, while Timotheos was bishop of Caesarea. There came the
dux [military commander] of Palestine Asklepiades with his army, and also the lestodioktes [head of police] Rheges, commander of Caesarea, with the Arcadiaci. They attacked Justasas with their troops, had him arrested and taken captive. They beheaded Justasas and his head, along with his crown, was sent to the emperor Zeno. The emperor Zeno immediately turned their synagogue, which was on Mount Gerizim, into a church dedicated to Mary, the Holy Mother of God. He also repaired Saint Prokopios’, and issued an edict that no Samaritan could join the imperial service, having confiscated the property of the wealthy among them. Order and peace were restored.’

Text: Thurn 2000. Translation: E. Rizos.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Rejection, Condemnation, Sceptisism

Destruction/desecration of saint's shrine

Non Liturgical Activity

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings
Appropriation of older cult sites

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Foreigners (including Barbarians)
Monarchs and their family
Jews and Samaritans

Source

The Chronographia of John Malalas (c. 490–c. 570) is a Christian chronicle of universal history, from Adam to the death of Justinian I (565). It appears to have been composed in two parts, the earlier of which focuses on the history of Antioch and the East, ending in c. 528 or 532. The second part focuses on the urban history of Constantinople up to the death of Justinian. Malalas is likely to have pursued a career in the imperial administration at both Antioch and Constantinople, writing the two parts of his chronicle while living in these two cities.

Malalas was widely used as a source by Byzantine chroniclers and historians, including John of Ephesus, John of Antioch, Evagrius Scholasticus, the
Paschal Chronicle, John of Nikiu, John of Damascus, Theophanes, George the Monk, pseudo-Symeon, Kedrenos, Zonaras, Theodore Skoutariotes, and Nikephoros Kallistou Xanthopoulos.

The text of the chronicle is preserved in a very fragmentary form, based on quotations in other sources (notably the
Paschal Chronicle and Theophanes), and on a Slavonic translation which follows a more extensive version of the original text. It is believed that we now have about 90% of the text.

On the composition and manuscript tradition of the text, see Thurn 2000, and:
http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/1298/


Discussion

Zeno's building of a church of Mary on Mount Gerizim is also recounted by Procopius: see E04689.


Bibliography

Text:
Dindorf, L., Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae; Bonn, 1831).

Thurn, J.,
Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 35; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000).

Translation:
Jeffreys, E., Jeffreys, M., and Scott, R., The Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation (Sydney, 1986).

On Malalas:
Carrara, L., Meier, M., and Radtki-Jansen, C. (eds.), Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas. Quellenfragen (Malalas-Studien 2; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017).

Jeffreys, E., Croke, B., and Scott, R. (eds.),
Studies in John Malalas (Sydney, 1990).

Meier, M., Radtki-Jansen, C., and Schulz, F. (eds.),
Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas: Autor, Werk, Überlieferung (Malalas-Studien 1; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016).

Treadgold, W.T.
The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 235-256.


Record Created By

Efthymios Rizos

Date Last Modified

15/06/2020

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΘεοτόκος ΜαρίαCertain
S00118Prokopios from Scythopolis, martyr of PalestineΠροκόπιοςCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Efthymios Rizos, Cult of Saints, E05727 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E05727