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E00389: Eusebius' Martyrs of Palestine includes the story of *Antōninos, Zevinās and Germanos (martyrs of Palestine, S00195) and *Ennathas from Scythopolis (martyr of Palestine, S00194). Written in 311 in Caesarea (Palestine); written in Greek, but parts of the text survive only in Syriac.

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posted on 2015-04-14, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Eusebius of Caesarea, Martyrs of Palestine, 9.4-13

On 13 November 309, when the governor of Caesarea, Firmilianus, was participating in a public ritual of sacrificial offering to the gods, three young men, Antōninos, Zevinās and Germanos, approached him and exhorted him to abandon his erroneous religion, while proclaiming that there is only one true God. Apprehended, they professed to be Christians and were at once put to death.

On the same day, another Christian martyr was executed. Ennathas, a young woman, who led a celibate life in the city of Scythopolis, was brought to Caesarea. After being scourged and led naked around the city, the martyr was brought to the governor's court, where she professed to be Christian. After more sessions of torture, she was sentenced to death and burnt alive.

Providing an example of the governor's exceptional cruelty in this affair, Eusebius relates that Firmilianus denied the local Christians the right to bury these four martyrs and ordered that their corpses should be displayed outside the city's gate, to be consumed by wild beasts, dogs and birds of pray. After several gruesome days, during which parts of the martyrs' bodies were scattered around by animals and even dragged into the city itself, a miracle occurred, when on a sunny and rainless day many columns in the city's porticoes exuded drops of moisture, as if the earth itself was shedding tears in response to the human wickedness.

Summary: Sergey Minov


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ennathas from Scythopolis, martyr in Palestine, ob. 309 : S00194 Antōninos, Zevinās and Germanos, martyrs in Palestine, ob. 309 : S00195

Saint Name in Source

Ἐνναθάς Ἀντωνῖνος, Ζεβινᾶς, Γερμανός

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Officials


In this work Eusebius presents an account of the suffering and death of Christian martyrs executed during the eight years of the Diocletianic (or Great) persecution, i.e. 303-311. Most of the martyrdoms described by Eusebius took place in Palestine, with the provincial capital city of Caesarea as the most prominent setting. Martyrdom of Antoninos, Zevinas, and Germanus, and of Ennathas: ed. Cureton 1861, pp. 34*-36* (long recension); ed. Schwartz et al. 1999, vol. 2, pp. 928-930 (short recension); English trans. Lawlor and Oulton 1927-1928, vol. 1, pp. 373-376. For a full discussion of Martyrs of Palestine, see $E00294.


Like most entries in Eusebius' description of the martyrs of Palestine, this entry consists of a brief account of torture and death. It deviates, however, from the rest in that it contains the description of a miracle: the miraculous appearance of moisture drops on the city's buildings, a unique motif in the Martyrs of Palestine. The miracle is explicitly linked to the mistreatment of the martyrs' bodies, but there is no suggestion in the text that these had miraculous power as relics; indeed it is made clear that the bodies were badly mauled by beasts (contrast E00391). Although there is no explicit reference to the martyrs' commemoration, the record of their death by Eusebius might suggest that they were commemorated in Caesarea.


Editions and translations: Cureton, W. (ed.), History of the Martyrs in Palestine, by Eusebius, Bishop in Caesarea, Discovered in a Very Ancient Syriac Manuscript (London / Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate / Paris: C. Borrani, 1861). Lawlor, H.J., and Oulton, J.E.L. (trans.), The Ecclesiastical History and the Martyrs of Palestine. 2 vols (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1927-1928). Schwartz, E., Mommsen, T., and Winkelmann, F. (eds.), Eusebius Werke, Band 2, Teil 2 (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 6/2; 2nd ed.; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1999).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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