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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


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


Name

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

Saint ID

S00103

Number in BH

BHG 1201-1208

Reported Death Not Before

314

Reported Death Not After

324

Gender
Male
Type of Saint
Martyrs, Soldiers
Related Evidence Records
IDTitle
E00255The Testament of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) designates the village of Sareim in Helenopontus (northern Asia Minor) as the only legitimate place of burial and veneration for their relics. Written in Greek in Pontus (northern Asia Minor), between the 4th and 7th c.
E00367Gregory of Tours writes the Glory of the Martyrs (Liber in Gloria Martyrum), in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594. Overview entry.
E00648Gregory of Tours, in his Glory of the Martyrs (95), narrates the martyrdom in a freezing lake and overheated bathhouse of 'forty-eight martyrs of Armenia' - certainly an error for the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) - and the miraculous recovery of their relics. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594.
E00680The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, a guide to saints' graves around Rome, lists those on the via Labicana, south-east of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, probably in 625/649.
E00718Basil of Caesarea, in his Homily on the *Forty Martyrs (S00103), delivered during a festival of the saints at Kaisareia/Caesarea (central Asia Minor) recounts their story, insisting on the unity of their veneration, and recommending them as exemplars and intercessors for the troubled and the sick. Written in Greek in Caesarea in c. 373.
E00821Basil of Caesarea, in his Letter 202 of 375, to Amphilochios of Ikonion/Iconium, reports that, though ill, he paid a visit by carriage to shrines of martyrs near Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Kaisareia.
E00989A white marble reliquary with carvings and Greek inscriptions referring to the relics of an unidentifiable saint *K(- - -), and apparently also to four unnamed martyrs. Found at Sebasteia (Roman province of Armenia I, eastern Asia Minor). Probably 6th/7th c.
E01009Greek epitaph for a person, who 'found a place of relief, having run to the (unnamed) *Apostles', probably indicating a burial near their church, and arguably mentioning one of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia (S00103). Found at Tavium (Galatia, central Asia Minor). Probably 5th c. or later.
E01240The Syriac Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor recounts how, after the fall of the city of Amida (northern Mesopotamia) to the Persian army of Kavadh I in the year 503, the king took various spoils from the church of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (martyrs of the early 4th c., S00103), amongst which the dried wine, that the clergy sometimes pretended was the contact relic ḥnānā. Written, probably in Amida, c. 568/569.
E01242The church dedicated to the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (martyrs of the early 4th c., S00103) is built in the city of Amida (Mesopotamia) during the episcopate of John Sa‘ārā (483-502). Record in the Syriac Chronicle of the Year 819 (9th c.).
E01246Martyr shrine of *Akakios (perhaps the soldier and martyr of Byzantion, S00759), with an inscription labelling the apparent burial chamber of the martyr, and possible burials ad sanctos, i.e. close to the martyr's relics; part of the late antique basilica on the agora of Thasos/modern Limenas (island of Thasos, Aegean Islands), just possibly dedicated to *Paul the Apostle (S00008). Dated by the excavator to the late 4th/first half of the 5th c.
E01293Gregory of Nyssa composes his First Encomium on the *Forty Martyrs (martyrs of Sebasteia/Sebaste, E00103), consisting of two orations (Ia and Ib) delivered during a two-day festival held in March at their shrine at Sebasteia (eastern Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Sebasteia, in the early 370s or early 380s.
E01298Gregory of Nyssa, on 9 March 379, delivers his Second Encomium on the *Forty Martyrs (martyrs of Sebasteia/Sebaste, E00103), recounting their martyrdom and miracles. Composed and delivered in Greek at Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor).
E01299Gregory of Nyssa, on 9 March 379, in his Second Encomium on the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (martyrs of Sebasteia/Sebaste, E00103), mentions a shrine with relics of the saints built earlier on his family estate in Pontus (northern Asia Minor). His parents are buried there; a soldier is miraculously healed there; and Gregory himself has a dream vision of the saints during the consecration of the shrine. Composed in Greek at Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor).
E01303The Greek Martyrdom of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), of the late 4th to 6h c., recounts the martyrdom of forty Christian soldiers in a lake outside Sebasteia/Sebaste (eastern Asia Minor), including miracles and visions happening during and after their death. After a revelation, the bishop collects their relics. Probably written in Sebasteia.
E01304Gregory of Nyssa, in his Letter 1 of the 380s or 390s, mentions festivals of a certain *Petros (bishop of Sebasteia, S01124 or S01125) and unnamed martyrs (perhaps *Athenogenes of Pedachthoe, S00065) at Sebasteia/Sebaste (eastern Asia Minor), and a festival of martyrs in the village of Andaëmona in Cappadocia (central Asia Minor). Probably written in Greek at Nyssa (central Asia Minor).
E01675Gregory of Nyssa in his Life of *Makrina (ascetic of Pontus, S00899), of the early 380s, refers to the shrine of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), built on his family estate in Pontus (northern Asia Minor). It contains the tomb of his parents and of Makrina (Gregory's sister). Written in Greek in Cappadocia (central Asia Minor).
E01766Gregory of Nyssa, in his Letter 22 of the 380s, to Amphilochios of Iconium, requests his assistance with finding builders for the construction of a martyr-church (martyrion). He gives a detailed description of the building. Written in Greek in Cappadocia (central Asia Minor).
E01784Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the paving of an oratory (eukterion) of unnamed 'gloriously triumphant' martyrs, or just possibly the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia (S00103). Found at El-Bire, to the south east of Hierapolis-Bambyke (north Syria/Cyrrhestica). Probably late antique.
E01832Inscribed red marble reliquary from the East church (the cathedral church) in Apamea on the Orontes (central Syria), recording relics of the following saints: *Ioudas, a saint whose name is lost (D[---]),*Kallinikos (possibly the martyr of Gangra, S00923), *Ioannes/John 'Stratiotes', and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia (S00103). Probably 6th c.
E02386Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (10.24), recounts how in 573 invading Persians had tried unsuccessfully to burn the church of 'the forty-eight martyrs' in Armenia (certainly the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, S00103); Gregory hears the story from Bishop Simon, who arrived in Tours in 591. Gregory mentions that he had recorded it in his 'book of miracles' (= Glory of the Martyrs). Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 591/594.
E02712Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a church (oikos) of unnamed martyrs. Found at Khirbet Sheibun near Beit Ṣafafa in the southwest outskirts of Jerusalem. Dated: possibly c. 596 or 7th-8th c.
E02774The Greek Martyrdom of *Merkourios (soldier and martyr of Caesarea, S01293), of the 5th c. or later, recounts the legend of a soldier who excelled at war, having received a sword from an angel, and was promoted to general by the emperor Decius; he suffered martyrdom at Caesarea/Kaisareia of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor) after refusing to participate in a sacrifice. Probably written in Cappadocia.
E03049The early seventh-century Georgian version of the Lectionary of Jerusalem commemorates on 9 March the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103).
E03075The early seventh-century Georgian version of the Lectionary of Jerusalem commemorates on the fourth Saturday of Lent the *bishops of Jerusalem (S01376) and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103).
E03361The early seventh-century Georgian version of the Lectionary of Jerusalem commemorates on 25 August the deposition of the relics of *Isaiah (Old Testament prophet, S00282), *Zechariah (Old Testament prophet, S00283, or the father of John the Baptist, S00597), Three Hebrew Youths (Old Testament martyrs, S01198) and *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103).
E03397The early seventh-century Georgian version of the Lectionary of Jerusalem commemorates on 13 October the deposition of the relics of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103).
E03673The Church Calendar of Ioane Zosime, compiled in Georgian in the 10th century, based however on 5th-7th c. prototypes from Jerusalem, commemorates on 9 March *Forty martyrs of Sebaste (S00103).
E03804The Church Calendar of Ioane Zosime, compiled in Georgian in the 10th c., based however on 5th-7th c. prototypes from Palestine, commemorates on 18 July *Rachel (wife of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob, S00701), the deposition of the relics of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), *John the Baptist (S00020), *Zechariah (father of John the Baptist, S00597), *Phokas (martyr in Antioch, S00413), *Athanasios (martyr in Klysma under Diocletian and Maximian, S01216), *Tarachos, Probos and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbos, Cilicia, S00710), *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023) and *Bakchos (soldier and martyr of Barbalissos, S00079), and *Dioskoros (probably Decian martyr of Egypt, S00230).
E03894The Church Calendar of Ioane Zosime, compiled in Georgian in the 10th c., based however on 5th-7th c. prototypes from Palestine, commemorates on 13 October *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), *Domnina (martyr of Anazarbus under Diocletian, S01658), and *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281).
E04058Sozomen in his Ecclesiastical History recounts the discovery of relics of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) under the church of *Thyrsos (martyr of Bithynia, S00612) in Constantinople, after dream visions experienced by the empress Pulcheria in 434/447. The relics had been buried in the private tomb of a noble woman of the Macedonianist sect in the late 4th century. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.
E04126The anonymous Greek Life of *Symeon Stylites the Younger (stylite near Antioch, ob. 592, S00860) recounts his ascetic withdrawal, life as a stylite, and numerous miracles in life. It includes references to miracles and shrines of *John the Baptist (S00020), *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103). Written in the late 6th or early 7th c., probably by a monk of the monastery and shrine of the 'Wondrous Mountain' near Antioch (Syria).
E04192Eustratius of Constantinople in his tract On the State of Souls after Death, argues that miracles and visions are performed by the souls of the saints personally, responding to those who deny the posthumous activity of the soul and ascribe miracles to divine powers assuming the forms of the saints. He quotes from several hagiographic works. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 583/602.
E04343Greek inscriptions/graffiti invoking the God of *All Saints, the intercession of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023), *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), probably the *Forty Martyrs (of Sebasteia, S00103, or of the Sinai Desert, S01620), and saints whose names are lost. Found in Room 7 at the North Church at Nessana/Auja Hafir in the Negev desert (Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably 5th-7th c.
E04395Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) built a church dedicated to *Eirene (martyr of Magedon, S02162), at Sykai (suburb of Constantinople). During the building works, relics of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) are discovered, which cure him of a serious knee ailment, while miraculous oil flows from the relics. The emperor's purple tunic, drenched with this oil, is kept in the imperial palace in order to heal the incurably ill. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.
E04956The Greek Life of *Nikolaos of Sion (abbot and bishop in Lycia, ob. 564, S00559) mentions that the monastery of Holy Sion in Pharroa of Lycia possessed relics of *John (probably the Baptist, S00020), *Stephen the First Martyr (S00030), *Theodoros (martyr of Euchaita, S00480), *Sergios and Bakchos (martyrs of Syria, S00030, S00079), and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), and describes the place of the relics of *Nikolaos (abbot of Holy Sion and bishop of Pinara, ob. 564) in the same church. Written in the late 6th c., probably at the monastery of Holy Sion in Lycia (south-west Asia Minor).
E05252Greek graffito invoking the intercession, on behalf of two monks, of *Helena (empress and mother of Constantine, ob. 328, S00185), and of unnamed martyrs, almost certainly those buried in the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros, via Labicana, Rome, where the graffito was found. Probably late 7th - early 8th c.
E05261Latin visitor graffiti with invocations on behalf of two people, including one monk, affiliated to an institution of a saint Caecilia (probably *Caecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00146), and of a saint whose name is lost. Found in the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros, via Labicana, Rome, in the crypt where *Marcellinus and Petrus (martyrs of Rome, $S00577) were probably venerated. Probably 7th/9th c.
E05271Latin and Greek graffiti and epitaphs with invocations to unnamed saints and martyrs, holy spirits/spirita sancta, and saints whose names are lost. Found in the cemetery ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros, via Labicana, Rome. Probably 4th-6th c.
E05338Gaudentius of Brescia preaches a sermon (Sermon 17) in Brescia (northern Italy), on the dedication of a basilica to the 'Council of Saints', with relics of *John (the Baptist, S00020), *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288), *Thomas (the Apostle, S00199), *Luke (the Evangelist, S00442), *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281), the *Anaunian Martyrs (Sisinnius, Martyrius and Alexander, ob. c. 397, S00605), and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103). Written in Latin, probably 402/403.
E05533Bede, in his Martyrology, records the feast on 9 March in Sebaste (eastern Asia Minor) of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103). Written in Latin at Wearmouth-Jarrow (north-east Britain), 725/731.
E05701Coptic document from Hermonthis (Upper Egypt) acknowledging the receipt of payment for building activity at the city’s shrine (tops) of the *Forty Martyrs (presumably those of Sebaste, S00103) and of *Theophilos (possibly the Decian martyr of Egypt, S00236); datable to the 7th/8th c.
E05853The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in March. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.
E05878Romanos the Melodist composes his kontakia /cantica (hymns) 57 and 58, on the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103); they are invoked as heavenly protectors of the state and allies of the emperor at war. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the mid-6th c. (possibly after 548).
E06124The Greek Martyrdom of *Loukianos/Lucian of Antioch (theologian and martyr of Nicomedia and Helenopolis, S00151) survives in a 10th century metaphrastic redaction of an earlier text that was possibly written in the 4th century or later, possibly in Bithynia. It recounts the childhood and scholarly career of Loukianos, as well as his arrest and journey to Nicomedia, his imprisonment and eventual death there, together with the miraculous recovery of his relics. The text also mentions a number of other martyrs of the tetrarchic persecution.
E07822The Miracles of *Artemios (39) recount how *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) healed a certain George (the same George as in Mir. 38 and 40), appearing to him on the island Plateia. Written in Greek in Constantinople, 582/668; assembled as a collection, 658/668.
E07926Theodosius, in his On the Topography of the Holy Land, lists a number cities and their saints in Asia Minor.Written in Latin, perhaps in Africa, 518/540.
E07960The Paschal Chronicle records that in 451 relics of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) were discovered in the church of *Thyrsos (martyr of Bithynia, S00612) at Constantinople by the empress Pulcheria, who then founded a church for them. Written in Greek at Constantinople, c. 630.
E07982The Paschal Chronicle records that a monumental column set up by the emperor Phocas in Constantinople in 609, and on which a cross was erected in 612 was located near the church of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103). Written in Greek at Constantinople, c. 630.
E08036The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor states that in 589/590 the emperor Maurice completed a church in Constantinople dedicated to the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), begun by his predecessor Tiberius (ob. 582). Chronicle compiled in the Byzantine Empire in the early 9th c., using extracts from earlier Greek texts.