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E00394: The Greek Martyrdom of *Euplos (martyr of Catania, S00207), probably 4th c., recounts the martyrdom of Euplos/Euplius; it probably contains elements of original trial acts. Presumably written in Catania (Sicily).

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posted on 2015-04-21, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Martyrdom of Euplos (Greek version: BHG 629)


The text has the format of two trial transcripts.

(1) On 29 April 304, in Catania, at the secretarium (government house), Euplos shouts out that he is a Christian and wants to die. The corrector Kalvisianos (Calvisianus) summons him, and Euplos enters the secretarium holding the gospels. The vir illustris Maximos castigates him for possessing a forbidden book, and the corrector asks him where he has these books from and if they come from his house. Euplos states that he has no house and that he indeed brought the books. Kalvisianos asks him to read, and Euplos starts reading from the four gospels. Kalvisianos asks what these texts are, and Euplos replies that this is law of God. Asked by the corrector where he got them from, Euplos replies that he has them from Christ. Kalvisianos orders him to be brought to a public trial for confessing being a Christian.

(2) On 12 August 304, Euplos is brought to a court presided by Kalvisianos. The corrector announces that Euplos’ confession is available in writing and asks him what he has to say. Euplos states that he insists on his confession, and confirms still possessing the forbidden books. Kalvisianos orders him to submit the books and orders him to be tortured until he accepts to sacrifice, but Euplos endures the tortures to the end. Kalvisianos orders him to be beheaded by the sword.

Text: Musurillo 1972.
Summary: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Euplius, deacon martyr in Catania, ob. 304 : S00207

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy south of Rome and Sicily Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Catana Constantinople

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

Catana Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


The text is known from the 11th c. Codex Parisinus Graecus 1173.


The hagiography of Euplius or Euplos of Catania in both its Greek and Latin versions (see E00395) was apparently compiled at Catania in Sicily during the 4th century. Although it may be using pieces from early trial transcripts, in its surviving form, it seems to be the product of heavy alterations and abridgements. It contains interesting details of what may have been a genuine account of a trial, involving what can be seen as voluntary martyrdom. It is difficult to say which of the two versions (Greek and Latin) is earlier, and in which language the martyrdom account was originally written (Greek and Latin coexisted in Sicily). Although probably abridged, the Greek version seems to preserve an earlier form of the text, containing details which are altered by the Latin text. The Greek text gives two dates, 29 April and 12 August, whereas the Latin dates both of the purported transcripts to 12 August. This may betray an earlier date for the Greek, preserving chronological data of the original documents, which, in the Latin version, are homogenised so as to conform with the established feast day of the saint. Also remarkable is that the Greek defines the judge of the martyr as a corrector provinciae, while the Latin calls him a consularis. The latter was the normal rank of the governors of the province of Sicily in Late Antiquity, but Sicily is known to have had correctores under the Tetrarchs (the only known example being Betitius Perpetuus, corrector Siciliae in 312/4; Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I, 'Perpetuus 2'), and therefore the Greek version may be preserving a piece of original information removed from the text by the Latin editor, who may have adjusted it to the reality of a later period. Typically of early martyrdom accounts, our text has no references to miracles or to the veneration of the saints’ relics.


Text and translation: Franchi de' Cavalieri, P., Note agiografiche 7 (Studi e Testi 49; Roma: Tipografia Vaticana, 1928), 1-54. Musurillo, H., The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford Early Christian Texts; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), xlv, 310-313 Further reading: Acta Sanctorum Aug. II, 710-723 Ste. Croix, G.E.M. de, Christian Persecution, Martyrdom and Orthodoxy, ed. M. Whitby and J. Streeter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 56, 151-200 (on voluntary martyrdom).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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