University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E00675: The Revelation of St Stephen, by Loukian of Kfar Gamla, describing the discovery in 415 of the relics of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) and his companions Nicodemus, Gamaliel and Abibas, is translated from Greek into Syriac between the middle of the 5th and the middle of the 6th century.

online resource
posted on 2015-09-03, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Loukian of Kfar Gamla, Revelation of St Stephen (Syriac translation)

The Revelation of St Stephen of Loukian of Kfar Gamla is represented in Syriac by two textual witnesses: (a) incorporated into the 6th c. Chronicle (1.8) of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor (ed. Brooks 1919-1924, v. 1, pp. 93-103); (b) transmitted as an independent composition (ed. Bedjan 1890-1897, v. 3, pp. 188-199, on the basis of ms. Berlin, Sachau 222, 19th c.). While the differences between the two versions of the Revelation are insignificant, the question of the exact relationship between them remains to be answered. Likewise, the relationship of the Syriac version to the Greek original still needs to be explored.

The terminus post quem for the translation of the Revelation into Syriac is provided by the date of its Greek original, which was produced, apparently, soon after the relics' discovery, i.e. the year 415. As to the terminus ante quem, it is provided by the date of the composition of Pseudo-Zachariah's Chronicle, i.e. the year 568/9 (see on this, Greatrex et al. 2011, pp. 32-38). It is difficult, however, to date the Syriac translation with a greater precision within this broad range of the mid 5th to the mid 6th century.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • Syriac

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


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

Edessa Edessa Ἔδεσσα Edessa

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


This work presents a first-person account by the priest Loukian of his discovery of the relics of *Stephen (the First Martyr) and his companions Nicodemus, Gamaliel and Abibas, which took place in Palestine in the year 415. Loukian describes three successive dream visions that he received in the village of Kfar Gamla, located about twenty miles north of Jerusalem. During these apparitions the Jewish rabbi Gamaliel, mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 5:38-39, 22:3), told him to alert the bishop of Jerusalem that his body, as well as those of Stephen, Nicodemus and his son Abibas, were buried in an unfitting place and should be reburied. Having been assured of the true nature of the dream, Loukian informed the bishop, on whose order the remains were disinterred and reburied at the Sion Church in Jerusalem. Composed originally in Greek, this work was translated into Latin, Syriac, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Armenian and Georgian.


Main editions and translations: Brooks, E.W., Historia ecclesiastica Zachariae Rhetori vulgo adscripta. 4 vols. (CSCO Syr. III.5-6; Louvain: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1919, 1921, 1924). Bedjan, P., Acta martyrum et sanctorum. 7 vols. (Paris/Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz, 1890-1897). Greatrex, G., Phenix, R.R., Horn, C.B., Brock, S.P., and Witakowski, W., The Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor: Church and War in Late Antiquity (Translated Texts for Historians 55; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager