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E00072: The Chronicle of Edessa, written in Syriac in the 6th c., records that the church of the 'Confessors' was built in Edessa (Mesopotamia) by bishop Abraham in 345/6, dedicated to *Shmona and Gurya (martyrs of Edessa, S00081), and *Habbib (martyr of Edessa, S00090).

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posted on 2014-10-08, 00:00 authored by dlambert, admin
Chronicle of Edessa 18

ܫܢܬ ܫܬܡܐܐ ܘܚܡ̈ܫܝܢ ܘܫܒܥ. ܗܘܐ ܐܒܪܗܡ ܐܦܝܣܩܘܦܐ ܒܐܘܪܗܝ. ܘܗ̣ܘ ܒܢܐ ܒܝܬ ܡ̈ܘܕܝܢܐ

'The year 657 [AD 345/6], Abraham became bishop in Edessa, and he built the church of the Confessors.'

Text: Guidi 1903, p. 4. Translation: Cowper 1864, p. 32, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Shmona and Gurya, martyrs in Edessa, ob. 309/10 : S00081 Habbib, martyr in Edessa, ob. 310/12 : S00090

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Syriac

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Edessa Edessa Edessa Ἔδεσσα Edessa

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The Chronicle of Edessa is a collection of mainly short entries, most of which are related to the history of the city of Edessa. It is an original Syriac composition, produced in the second half of the 6th century by a pro-Chalcedonian Syriac-speaking author. Syriac text: Guidi 1903, vol. 1, 1-13; English translation: Cowper 1864, 30-39; German translation: Hallier 1892, 84-138; Russian translation: Пигулевская 1959. For general information, see van Rompay 2011; Witakowski 1986.


The Chronicle refers to the building in Edessa by bishop Abraham in the year 345/6 of 'a church of the Confessors' (bet mawdyane). The chronicler appears to be well-informed about events of the fourth century. There is no reason to doubt this information. Although the Chronicle does not name the saints, who are referred to as 'confessors' (mawdyane) and not as 'martyrs' (sahde), it is certain that the particular group of the three 'Edessan martyrs' (i.e. Shmona and Gurya, Habbib) is meant here. Cf. the evidence of The Story of Euphemia and the Goth (E00220), where 'the martyr-shrine of the holy Confessors Guria and Shmona and Habbib' is mentioned (ed. Burkitt 1913, 134).


Editions and translations: Guidi, I., Chronica minora, Pars prior. 2 vols (CSCO Syr. III.4; Paris: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1903). Cowper, B.H., “Selections from the Syriac. No. I: The Chronicle of Edessa,” Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record NS V, 9 (1864), 28-45. Hallier, L., Untersuchungen über die Edessenische Chronik, mit dem Syrischen Text und einer Übersetzung (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 9:1; Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1892). Пигулевская, Н.В., “Эдесская хроника,” Палестинский сборник 4 [67] (1959), 79-96; reprinted in: Пигулевская, Н.В., Сирийская средневековая историография. Исследования и переводы (С.-Петербург: Дмитрий Буланин , 2000), 468-476. Further reading: Rompay, L. van, “Chronicle of Edessa,” in: S.P. Brock, A.M. Butts, G.A. Kiraz and L. van Rompay (eds.), Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011), 97-98. Witakowski, W., “Chronicles of Edessa,” in: T. Kronholm and E. Riad (eds.), On the Dignity of Man: Oriental and Classical Studies on Honour of Frithiof Rundgren (Orientalia Suecana 33-35; Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1986), 487-498.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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