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E00821: Basil of Caesarea, in his Letter 202 of 375, to Amphilochios of Ikonion/Iconium, reports that, though ill, he paid a visit by carriage to shrines of martyrs near Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Kaisareia.

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posted on 2015-10-30, 00:00 authored by erizos
Basil of Caesarea, Letters (CPG 2900), Letter 202


(1.) Καὶ ἄλλως μέν μοι πολλοῦ ἄξιον τὸ συντυγχάνειν τῇ σεμνότητί σου, νῦν δὲ καὶ μάλιστα, ὅτε τοιοῦτόν ἐστι τὸ συνάγον ἡμᾶς πρᾶγμα. Ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ τὰ λείψανα τῆς ἀρρωστίας μου τοιαῦτα ὡς μηδὲ τὴν βραχυτάτην μοι κίνησιν συγχωρεῖν, ὅς γε, ἵνα τὴν μέχρι τῶν μαρτυρίων ὁδὸν ὀχήματι πορευθῶ, πάλιν μικροῦ πρὸς τὴν αὐτὴν ὑπέστρεψα νόσον, ἀνάγκη συγγνώμης τυχεῖν παρ’ ὑμῶν. (………)

‘To Amphilochios, Bishop of Ikonion

In any event a meeting with your Grace means much to me, but now especially so, when the matter which brings us together is so important. But since the vestiges of my illness are of such a nature as to permit me not even the slightest movement—in fact, just that I might journey by carriage as far as the shrines of the martyrs, I almost had a relapse again into the same disease—I must obtain pardon from you. (…………)’

Text: Courtonne, vol. 2, p. 166-167.
Translation: Deferrari, vol. 3, p. 141 (modified).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060 Gordiοs, soldier martyr in Kaisareia of Cappadocia : S00114 Ioulitta, martyr in Kaisareia of Cappadocia, ob. early 4th c. : S00416 Mamas, martyr in Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia : S00436 Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, ob.

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia

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

Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Basil of Caesarea

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Born around 330 to an aristocratic Christian family of Neokaisareia/Neocaesarea of Pontus Polemoniacus (Anatolia), Basil was educated in Kaisareia/Caesarea, Antioch, and Athens. After his studies, he spent time in the monasteries in Egypt, before returning to Pontus, where he organised an ascetic community on his family estate in Pontus. In the 360s, Basil was ordained in Kaisareia/Caesarea, and, on 14 June 370, he was consecrated bishop there. He died on 1 January 379. Basil was a prolific writer, composing homilies, theological, ascetical, and liturgical works. His 369 letters form a major corpus on ecclesiastical politics and the broader history of Anatolia and the Christian East. On the manuscript tradition, editions and translations of this letter, see: Fedwick, P.J., Bibliotheca Basiliana Universalis. 5 vols. Vol. I (Corpus Christianorum; Turnhout: Brepols, 1993), 317.


Basil here excuses himself to his fellow bishop Amphilochios for being unable to respond to the latter’s invitation due to his illness. Describing the frailty of his condition, he mentions that he had almost had a relapse into his illness, after a short trip by carriage to the martyrs’ shrines in the surroundings of Kaisareia/Caesarea (these included the shrines of *Ioulitta, *Mamas, *Gordios, *Eupsychios and *Damas).


Text edition and French Translation: Courtonne, Y., Saint Basile. Lettres. 3 vols (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1957-1966). Text and English Translations: Deferrari, R.J., Saint Basil, the Letters. 4 vols. Vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University Press, 1928). Way, A.C., Saint Basil. Letters, Volume 2 (186‒368) (Fathers of the Church 28; Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1955). Further Reading: Courtonne, Y., Un témoin du IVe siècle oriental: saint Basile et son temps d'après sa correspondance (Collection d'études anciennes; Paris: Les Belles lettres, 1973), esp. 356-359. Radde-Gallwitz, A., "The Letter Collection of Basil of Caesarea," in: C. Sogno, B.K. Storin, and E. Watts (eds.), Late Antique Letter Collections: A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), 69-80. Rousseau, P., Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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