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E01129: The Greek Martyrdom of Niketas the Goth reports that Auxentios, bishop of Mopsuestia (Cilicia, south-east Asia Minor) acquired relics of *Tarachos, Probus, and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbos in Cilicia, S00710) in exchange for the promise of relics of *Niketas the Goth, (martyr in the Danube region in 372, buried in Mopsuestia, S00711). The passage gives an account of the opening of the tomb of Niketas, and of a failed attempt to harvest his relics. Written in Mopsuestia.

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posted on 2016-02-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
The Martyrdom of Niketas the Goth (BHG 1339), 8

8. Ἑτέρῳ δὲ λοιπὸν οὐδενὶ γέγονεν εὐχέρεια τοῦ τιμίου μεταλαβεῖν λειψάνου. Ὁ γὰρ εἰρημένος τῆς ὁσίας μνήμης Αὐξέντιος ἐπίσκοπος ὢν τῆς Μώψου ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ γενόμενος γοῦν τίμιον ἀνεγεῖραι ναὸν τῶν ἁγίων καὶ μεγάλων μαρτύρων Ταράχου, Πρόβου καὶ Ἀνδρονίκου, καί τοῦτον περιχαράξας πρὸ των τειχῶν τῆσδε τῆς Μωψουπόλεως, γέγονεν ἐν τῇ Ἀναζαρβαίων μητροπόλει, ἐν ᾗ καὶ αὐτοὶ οἱ ἅγιοι μάρτυρες ἐτελειώθησαν καί κατετέθησαν καὶ λείψανα τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων ᾔτησέν τε καὶ ἔλαβεν, εἰ καὶ μετ’ αὑτῶν ἡ ἔνδοξος γέγονεν τούτων κατάθεσις· ἀντίδωρον δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς παρέχειν ὑποσχώμενος ἅγιον λείψανον τοῦ ἁγίου Νικήτα πᾶσαν ἔθετο σπουδήν πληρώσαι τὴν ὑπόσχεσιν. Καὶ ἤδη τὰ πρὸς τὴν χρείαν ἐργαλεῖα καὶ τεχνίτας λαβὼν πονήσας τε πολλὰ σὺν τοῖς παραγενομένοις ἐκ τῆς μητροπόλεως ἐπὶ τοῦτο κληρικοῖς, τὸ μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον ἐπικείμενον τῇ ἁγίᾳ θέσει μάρμαρον ἀνέστησεν καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πάντες ἐθεάσαντο σῶμα, οὕτως ὄν, ὡς ἀνωτέρω ἡ διήγησις ἐδήλωσεν, ἐπᾶραι δὲ αὐτοῦ παντελῶς οὐδεὶς ἠδυνήθη. εἷς γὰρ τῶν συνελθόντων τεχνιτῶν προπετευσάμνεος καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτοῦ καὶ προσδοκήσας ἀφελέσθαι ἐξ αὐτοῦ μερίδα, ἔμεινεν ἔχων αὐτὴν τὴν ἁψαμένην χεῖραν ξηράν· σεισμός τε ἐπιγενόμενος πολὺς καὶ ἀστραπαὶ φοβερῶς διατρέχουσαι καὶ βροντῶν ἦχος διεκώλυσεν μεταλαβεῖν τινα τοῦ ἁγίου λειψάνου. Αὐξέντιος δὲ ὁ ὁσιώτατος φόβῳ συνεχόμενος ἐκτενῶς τε προσευξάμενος αὐτὴν τὴν ξηρανθεῖσαν χεῖραν τῷ ἁγίῳ λειψάνῳ πιστῶς προσήγαγεν καὶ ἀπέλαβεν αὐτὴν ὑγιῆ· διὸ μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου σπουδάσαντες σκεπάσαι τὸ ἅγιον λείψανον καὶ τὸ μάρμαρον ἐπιθεῖναι, διέρρηξαν τοῦτο κατά τινα μέρη, γνώρισμα φέρον μέχρι καὶ νῦν τῶν τότε συμβεβηκότων διὰ τὴν ταῦτα τῶν πιστευόντων ἡμῶν πληροφορίαν καὶ κατάνυξιν.

'And nobody else has had the possibility of acquiring something from the precious body ever since. For the said Auxentios, of blessed memory, when he was bishop of the city of Mopsos (=Mopsuestia), desired to build a noble shrine of the holy and great martyrs Tarachos, Probos, and Andronikos. And he demarcated its site before the walls of this city of Mopsos, and visited the metropolis of the Anazarbians (=Anazarbos) where these holy martyrs were consummated and deposited, and he requested and received relics of the holy martyrs, and it was with these (relics) that their glorious deposition (katathesis) was made. Now he promised to provide a holy relic of Saint Niketas as a return gift, and took every care to fulfill his promise. So he soon gathered the necessary tools and workers and made a great effort, and, in the company of the clerics who had come from the metropolis for the purpose, he lifted the marble which lay over the holy burial on the altar, and everyone saw the holy body being just like our account has described it above. Yet absolutely no one was able to set hand on it, because one of the workmen gathered there made haste and touched it, intending to remove a piece from it, but he was left with the hand that had touched it paralyzed. And there being a great tremor, and lightning flashing terribly, and the sound of thunder, it prevented anyone from touching the holy body. Now the most holy Auxentios, overtaken by fear, prayed for a long time and brought with faith the paralyzed hand (of the worker) towards the holy body, and he took it back healed. And so, as they hastened, with fear and trembling, to cover the holy body and to place the marble back onto it, they broke it (the marble) in some parts, and until the present day it bears witness to the things that happened back then, so that we who believe in them may be assured and uplifted.'

Text: Delehaye 1912, 214-215. Translation: E. Rizos, P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Tarachos, Probus, and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbos, Cilicia, southeastern Asia Minor, ob. c. 304) : S00710 Niketas the Goth, martyr in the Danube region, ob. 372 : S00711

Saint Name in Source

Τάραχος, Πρόβος, Ἀνδρόνικος

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

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Mopsuestia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous sound, smell, light Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Bodily incorruptibility Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Merchants and artisans

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Unspecified relic Division of relics Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Construction of cult building to contain relics


The text is preserved in a manuscript of the 10th/11th century, in the National Library in Paris (Par. Gr. 520, p. 10-15). A metaphrastic version, very close to our text, has been published in the Acta Sanctorum (Sep. V, 15, p. 40-43).


See E01175 for a full discussion of this text.


Text: Delehaye, H., "Saints de Thrace et de Mésie", Analecta Bollandiana 31 (1912), 209-215. Further reading: Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 71-72 Messis, C., Papaioannou, S., "Histoires ‘gothiques’ à Byzance: le saint, le soldat et le Miracle d’Euphémie et du Goth (BHG 739)," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 67 (2013), 15-47.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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