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E00077: The Chronicle of Edessa, written in Syriac in the 6th c., records the transfer of a chest with the relics of *Thomas (the Apostle, S00199) to the church dedicated to him in Edessa (Mesopotamia) during the bishopric of Cyrus in 394.

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posted on 2014-10-13, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Chronicle of Edessa 38

ܫܢܬ ܫܒܥܡܐܐ ܘܚܡܫ ܒܐܝܪܚ ܐܒܝ ܒܝܘܡ ܬܖ̈ܝܢ ܘܥܣܖ̈ܝܢ ܒܗ. ܐܝܬܝܘ ܓܠܘܣܩܡܗ ܕܡܪܝ ܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ. ܠܗܝܟܠܐ ܪܒܐ ܕܝܠܗ. ܒܝܘ̈ܡܝ ܡܪܝ ܩܘܪܐ ܐܦܝܣܩܘܦܐ

'The year 705 [AD 394], in the month Ab [August], on the twenty-second day in it, they brought the coffin of Mar Thomas the Apostle to his great temple in the days of Mar Qura the bishop.'

Text: Guidi 1903, p. 5. Translation: Cowper 1864, p. 33, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thomas, the Apostle : S00199

Saint Name in Source


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 - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Unspecified relic

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Reliquary – institutionally owned


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 reports that on 22 August of the year 394 the 'coffin' (Syr. gluskma, from Gr. γλωσσόκομον) with the relics of the Apostle *Thomas was transferred from an unidentified place to the church dedicated to him in Edessa, at the initiative of bishop Qura (i.e. Cyrus).


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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