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E00080: The Chronicle of Edessa, written in Syriac in the 6th c., records that Anatolius, the Roman military commander, offered a silver reliquary for the bones of *Thomas (the Apostle, S00199) in Edessa (Mesopotamia), in 441/2.

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posted on 2014-10-13, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Chronicle of Edessa 61

ܫܢܬ ܫܒܥܡܐܐ ܘܚܡ̈ܫܝܢ ܘܬܠܬ. ܥܒܕ ܢܘܣܐ ܕܣܐܡܐ ܠܐܝܩܪܐ ܕܓܖ̈ܡܘܗܝ ܕܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ ܩܕܝܫܐ ܐܢܛܠ ܣܛܪܛܠܛܝܤ

'The year 753 [AD 441/2], the military commander Anatolius made a chest of silver, in honour of the bones of Thomas the holy apostle.'

Text: Guidi 1903, p. 7. Translation: Cowper 1864, p. 35, slightly 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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives


Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - bones and teeth 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 Anatolius, the Roman military commander (Syr. stratilatis, from Gr. στρατηλάτης), offered a silver 'chest' (Syr. nawsa, from Gr. ναός) for the bones of the Apostle Thomas in Edessa, in the year 441/2. This imperial official can be identified as Flavius Anatolius, who served as magister utriusque militiae per Orientem during the years 433-446 (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II, 'Fl. Anatolius 10').


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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