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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

The Paschal Chronicle, in its account of the siege of Constantinople in 626, states that the Chagan of the Avars saw *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) defending the walls of Constantinople. Written in Greek at Constantinople, c. 630.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Paschal Chronicle, s.a. 626

Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν ὁ ἄθεος Xαγάνος τῷ καιρῷ τοῦ πολέμου ὅτι ἐγὼ θεωρῶ γυναῖκα σεμνοφοροῦσαν περιτρέχουσαν εἰς τὸ τεῖχος μόνην οὖσαν.

'And this is what the godless Chagan said at the moment of the battle: "I see a woman in stately dress rushing about on the wall all alone."'

Text: Dindorf 1832, 725. Translation: Whitby and Whitby 1989, 179-80.

Non Liturgical Activity

Saint as patron - of a community


Miraculous interventions in war
Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies
Apparition, vision, dream, revelation


The Chronicon Paschale (paschal or Easter chronicle) is a chronicle compiled at Constantinople in the first half of the 7th century. It covers events from the creation of the world up to the anonymous author's own time. The Chronicle probably concluded with the year 630 (see Whitby and Whitby 1989, xi), though the surviving text breaks off slightly earlier, in the entry for 628. The traditional name for the Chronicle originates from its introductory section, which discusses methods for calculating the date of Easter. The Chronicle survives thanks to a single manuscript, Vatican, Gr. 1941 (10th c.), on which all other surviving manuscripts depend. The only critical edition remains that of Ludwig Dindorf (1832).

The chronicler uses multiple chronological systems to date events: Olympiads, consular years, indictions, and years from the Ascension, as well as using Roman, Greek, and sometimes Egyptian dates (see Whitby and Whitby 1989, x). Numerous literary sources are utilised for the period before the author's own time, including well-known historical sources such as Eusebius and John Malalas. We have not included entries for material in the
Paschal Chronicle which simply reproduces material in earlier sources already entered in our database.


Though the chronicler does not name the woman in the Chagan's vision, there is no doubt that it would have been understood to be Mary, whose protection of the city during the siege is repeatedly stressed both by the chronicler himself (cf. E07973, E07976, E07978), and in other sources (see E00568).


Dindorf, L., Chronicon Paschale (Bonn, 1832).

Whitby, M., and Whitby, M., Chronicon Paschale 284-628 AD (Translated Texts for Historians 7; Liverpool, 1989).

Record Created By

David Lambert

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
David Lambert, Cult of Saints, E07977 -