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E00275: Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History, expresses his special reverence for *Pamphilos (martyr of Caesarea of Palestine, S00140), using, exceptionally for him, the expression ‘holy martyr’, one of the earliest instances of the title in Greek literature. Excerpts, written in Greek in Palestine, 311/325.

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posted on 2015-02-05, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 6.32.3. 6.33.4

τί δεῖ τῶν λόγων τἀνδρὸς ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος τὸν ἀκριβῆ κατάλογον ποιεῖσθαι, ἰδίας δεόμενον σχολῆς; ὃν καὶ ἀνεγράψαμεν ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ Παμφίλου βίου τοῦ καθ’ ἡμᾶς ἱεροῦ μάρτυρος ἀναγραφῆς …

'What is the point of giving a full list of the man’s [Origen's] works? We included it, anyway, in the account of the life of Pamphilos, the holy martyr who lived with us ...'

ὅσα δὲ ἀναγκαῖα τῶν περὶ αὐτὸν διαγνῶναι ἦν, ταῦτα καὶ ἐκ τῆς ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πεπονημένης ἡμῖν τε καὶ τῷ καθ’ ἡμᾶς ἱερῷ μάρτυρι Παμφίλῳ ἀπολογίας πάρεστιν ἀναλέξασθαι ...

'Whatever was necessary to known about him [Origen], one can read in the apology written about him by us and the holy martyr Pamphilos who lived with us …'

Text: Schwartz et al. 1999. Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pamphilos of Caesarea, martyr in Palestine, ob. 310 : S00140

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Caesarea Maritima

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

Caesarea Maritima

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eusebius of Caesarea

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts


Eusebius lived in Caesarea Maritima in Palestine between c. AD 260 and 340. He was a pupil and friend of the martyred Christian intellectual Pamphilus. Under Constantine, he emerged as one of the most influential Christian figures of the Roman Empire, and was ordained bishop of Caesarea. Written between 311 and 325, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History is the first literary work to employ the methodology and objectives of classical historiography – which, since Herodotus and Thucydides, had traditionally focused on military and political events – in a novel field, the history of the Christian community. The first paragraphs of the work outline its chronological framework and thematic range: it is a narrative of events in the life of the Christian community from the times of Christ and the Apostles to the times of Eusebius (c. AD 260-340); it records the leaders of the most important communities (i.e. successions of bishops in Alexandria, Antioch, Rome and Jerusalem); it records the most notable exponents of Christian doctrine and their works, and also the main heresies and their proponents; it finally records persecutions and people that suffered and were martyred during them. The Ecclesiastical History is mostly a synthesis of quotations and summaries from other sources, for which Eusebius often gives concrete references. Thus his work preserves excerpts from early Christian texts which do not survive in their full form. Eusebius’ source material consists mostly of Greek texts, originating from Christian communities in Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. These areas constitute the main geographical range of his narrative, while his information about Christianity in the western provinces of the Roman Empire (except Rome) is very limited. The text survives in several Greek manuscripts, in a Latin translation by Rufinus, and in Syriac and Armenian translations.


These phrases come from Eusebius’ chapters concerning Origen, whose work and orthodoxy the ecclesiastical historian defends passionately. In both of these phrases he refers to his lost Life of Pamphilos, martyr at Caesarea, who was the successor of Origen and predecessor of Eusebius himself as head of the catechetical school of Caesarea. Eusebius honours the memory of both of his predecessors in his work. These phrases are quoted here for the special references to Pamphilos as ὁ καθ’ ἡμᾶς ἱερὸς μάρτυς. Eusebius uses the epithet hieros ('sacred, holy') regularly when referring to the Apostles and prophets, but the passages quoted here are the only instances he ascribes it to a martyr, accompanied by the phrase ὁ καθ’ ἡμᾶς, 'our own' or 'he who lived with us'. It can therefore be regarded as an expression of special personal reverence for his companion and friend who was martyred. The use of the epithet hieros reflects a period when the later standard term ἅγιος (hagios, 'saint') had not been established yet.


Edition: Schwartz, E., Mommsen, T., and Winkelmann, F., Eusebius Werke II: Die Kirchengeschichte. 3 vols. (Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte NF 6/1-3; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1999). Translations: Lake, K., Oulton, J.E.L., and Lawlor, H.J., Eusebius of Caesarea: The Ecclesiastical History. 2 vols. (Loeb Classical Library; London and Cambridge, MA: Heinemann and Harvard University Press, 1926). Williamson, G.A., and Louth, A., Eusebius: The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine (London: Penguin, 1989). Further reading: Chesnut, G. The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius. Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986.

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