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E00281: Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History, reports that, in his day, a statue of Jesus curing the Bleeding Woman existed in Caesarea Philippi, and miraculous cures were obtained from a plant growing on it. He also claims that pagans venerated painted images of Jesus and the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036 and S00008) as protectors. 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 7.18

(1.) Ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ τῆσδε τῆς πόλεως εἰς μνήμην ἐλήλυθα, οὐκ ἄξιον ἡγοῦμαι παρελθεῖν διήγησιν καὶ τοῖς μεθ’ ἡμᾶς μνημονεύεσθαι ἀξίαν. τὴν γὰρ αἱμορροοῦσαν, ἣν ἐκ τῶν ἱερῶν εὐαγγελίων πρὸς τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν τοῦ πάθους ἀπαλλαγὴν εὕρασθαι μεμαθήκαμεν, ἐνθένδε ἔλεγον ὁρμᾶσθαι τόν τε οἶκον αὐτῆς ἐπὶ τῆς πόλεως δείκνυσθαι καὶ τῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ σωτῆρος εἰς αὐτὴν εὐεργεσίας θαυμαστὰ τρόπαια παραμένειν. (2.) ἑστάναι γὰρ ἐφ’ ὑψηλοῦ λίθου πρὸς μὲν ταῖς πύλαις τοῦ αὐτῆς οἴκου γυναικὸς ἐκτύπωμα χάλκεον, ἐπὶ γόνυ κεκλιμένον καὶ τεταμέναις ἐπὶ τὸ πρόσθεν ταῖς χερσὶν ἱκετευούσῃ ἐοικός, τούτου δὲ ἄντικρυς ἄλλο τῆς αὐτῆς ὕλης, ἀνδρὸς ὄρθιον σχῆμα, διπλοΐδα κοσμίως περιβεβλημένον καὶ τὴν χεῖρα τῇ γυναικὶ προτεῖνον, οὗ παρὰ τοῖς ποσὶν ἐπὶ τῆς στήλης αὐτῆς ξένον τι βοτάνης εἶδος φύειν, ὃ μέχρι τοῦ κρασπέδου τῆς τοῦ χαλκοῦ διπλοΐδος ἀνιόν, ἀλεξιφάρμακόν τι παντοίων νοσημάτων τυγχάνειν. (3.) τοῦτον τὸν ἀνδριάντα εἰκόνα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ φέρειν ἔλεγον, ἔμενεν δὲ καὶ εἰς ἡμᾶς, ὡς καὶ ὄψει παραλαβεῖν ἐπιδημήσαντας αὐτοὺς τῇ πόλει. (4.) καὶ θαυμαστὸν οὐδὲν τοὺς πάλαι ἐξ ἐθνῶν εὐεργετηθέντας πρὸς τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ταῦτα πεποιηκέναι, ὅτε καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ τὰς εἰκόνας Παύλου καὶ Πέτρου καὶ αὐτοῦ δὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ χρωμάτων ἐν γραφαῖς σῳζομένας ἱστορήσαμεν, ὡς εἰκός, τῶν παλαιῶν ἀπαραφυλάκτως οἷα σωτῆρας ἐθνικῇ συνηθείᾳ παρ’ ἑαυτοῖς τοῦτον τιμᾶν εἰωθότων τὸν τρόπον.

'(1.) But since I mentioned this city [Caesarea Philippi], I do not think it proper to omit an account which is worthy of record also for posterity. For they say that the woman with an issue of blood (who, as we learn from the holy Gospels, received from our Saviour deliverance from her affliction) came from this place, and that her house is shown in the city, and that remarkable memorials of the favour of the Saviour to her remain there. (2.) There stands indeed upon a high stone by the gates of her house a brazen image of a woman kneeling and stretching forth her hands, like a suppliant. Opposite this is another upright image of a man, made of the same material, clothed decently in a double cloak, and extending his hand toward the woman. At his feet, on the monument itself, some strange kind of herb grows, which climbs up to the hem of the brazen cloak, and happens to be a remedy for all kinds of diseases. (3.) They said that this statue bore the likeness of Jesus, and it survived down to our days, so that we saw it with our own eyes when we visited that city. (4.) And it is no wonder that those of the Gentiles, who were once benefited by our Saviour, should have made these things, since we have also seen images of his Apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, preserved in colour-painted drawings. For, as was normal, the ancients were accustomed to honour them in this manner indiscriminately as protectors, according to the pagan habit.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Πέτρος Παῦλος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Caesarea Maritima

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

Caesarea Maritima Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eusebius of Caesarea

Cult activities - Places

Place associated with saint's life

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Rejection of the cult of images

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Public display of an image

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



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 is mostly 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.


Eusebius here puts together local traditions from Palestine, according to which the anonymous woman with an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48) came from Caesarea Philippi, where her house was known. It seems that the house was an attraction for visitors, attesting to the existence of interest in sites connected with stories of the New Testament, and it even contained two bronze statues which were thought to depict the scene of the woman’s cure by Jesus. This, of course, may have been the secondary interpretation of a totally unrelated iconographic theme. This passage is probably the earliest literary reference to the existence and veneration of images of Christian holy figures. Eusebius talks about it in a reserved way, mentioning it by way of a curiosity, and noting that both the statues in Caesarea Philippi and painted images of Jesus, Peter and Paul, which circulated in Eusebius’ time, pertained to the veneration of these figures as some sort of healing deities among the pagans. While he dissociates them from proper Christian practice, however, Eusebius mentions the presumably miraculous herb growing on the statue, implicitly acknowledging a supernatural aspect. This story is later reproduced by several authors, including Gregory of Tours (bishop of Tours in Gaul in 573-593) who quotes it in his Glory of the Martyrs 20 (Krusch 1969, 50; Van Dam 2004,19), using Rufinus' Latin translation of Eusebius. In Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the story of the Bleeding Woman, known as the Haimorrhoousa or Haemoroissa (in Latin sources) evolved into an autonomous hagiographic legend, in some versions of which she is called Martha or Veronica. In the High Middle Ages, she was identified as the woman who received the veil with the likeness of Christ's face. See Dobschütz 1899, v.1, 179-262; v.2, 250*-235*.


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. Dobschütz, E. von, Christusbilder: Untersuchungen zur christlichen Legende. 2 vols (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur; Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1899). Krusch, B., Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 2: Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1969), 211-294. Van Dam, R., Gregory of Tours. Glory of the Martyrs (Translated Texts for Historians 4; 2nd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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