University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01719: Martyrdom of *Elianos (martyr of Aman, S00889), surviving only in Georgian, narrates the martyrdom of the saint during Diocletian's persecutions. Translated in or before the 8th c. from the Greek or Syriac original.

online resource
posted on 2016-07-12, 00:00 authored by naleksidze
Martyrdom of Elianos


The emperor Diocletian sent a certain ruler called Maximos to the Arab city of Amman. Soon after his arrival, a mutiny broke out due to poor living conditions and lack of food. Through Maximos' order, all the noblemen of the city were thrown into prison. The prisoners were willingly joined by a certain Christian young man Elianos, a local weaver. There he openly preached Christianity to the prisoners. Some time later, Maximos commissioned the erection of a statue of the god Kronos in the city centre for the purpose of veneration. He brought the prisoners out to the statue, who being pagans, begged the ruler for mercy and in exchange for freedom, joined Maximos in the festivity. Only Elianos refused to venerate the idol and openly mocked the pagan religion. As a result, he was severely beaten and tortured. He was thrown back into prison. The next day he was brought back to the judge's presence. The latter realised that through torture, he merely fortified Elianos in faith. Finally it was ordered that he be burned at the stake. The soldiers took Elianos outside the city, where they encountered a woman who was carrying some wood. They forcibly took the wood from her in order to kindle the fire with it. Elianos consoled the distressed woman and gave her some money to buy food for her children. Then he took all the wood himself and carried it to the place of the burning. They went beyond the walls of the city and reached a small garden, near the city walls and close to a certain palace.

დაიწერა ჯუარი და კადნიერად შევიდა იგი ცეცხლსა მას და შეჰვედრა სული თჳსი ჴელთა დამბადებლისა თჳსისათა. ხოლო გუამი მისი პატიოსანი არა დაიწუა, არცა დაიჴსნა სიტყჳსა მისებრ მსაჯულისა, არამედ გამოიჴურვა და ოფროჲს ოქროჲსა განწმდნა და გამოგჳჩნდა ჩუენ, ყოველთა მონათა ქრისტჱსთა, რომელნი შეუდეგით მას ჟამსა. ვითარცა მწუხრი იყო, მოვედით იდუმალ და წარვიღეთ და შთავდევით იგი ზეწარსა წმიდასა. და ვითარცა წარვიღეთ ზეწარსა წმიდასა წარგაგრნილი მთასა მას, რომელი იყო მახლობლად, რომელ არს აღმოსავლით ქალაქსა, და მოვთხარეთ შიგნის-შიგანსა ქუაბსა, რამეთუ იყო გარეშე მისა ქუაბსა ორი სხუაჲ შესავალი, და მუნვე დავდევით გუამი იგი პატიოსანი წმიდისა მოწამისა ელიანოსისი ძლევაშემოსილისაჲ. და მივაგორეთ ლოდი დიდი კარსა მას ქუაბისა შესავალსა, რაჲთა გუექმნეს ჩუენ მეოხ წინაშე ქრისტჱს ღმრთისა ჩუენისა, მონათა მისთა, რამეთუ წინაშე ღმრთისა აქუს მას კადნიერებაჲ და მეოხ არს მარადის სულთა ჩუენთათჳს აწ და უკუნისადმდე.

აღესრულა წმიდაჲ მოწამჱ ელიანოს კეთილთა აღსარებითა და სრულითა სარწმუნოებითა მივიდა წინაშე ქრისტჱსა თთუესა ნოენბერსა ოცდარვასა. და ოდეს აღუშჱნეს მას ტაძარი სალოცველი და მას შინა დაჰკრძალნეს გუამი მისი, განეწესა საჴსენებელი მისისაჲ აგჳსტოსსა ათსა...

'He crossed himself and boldly entered the fire. And with his own hands he handed over his soul to his creator. But his body did not burn, and did not decompose, as the judge had said. Instead like gold, it was tempered and polished and manifested to all us, Christ's servants, who were there at that time. When the night fell, we returned furtively, we took and wrapped him in clean linen. We took him thus, wrapped into clean linen, to a nearby mountain, to the east of the city. We dug into a cave, which had two other entrances, and we deposited there the blessed body of the holy and glorious martyr Elianos. We rolled a large stone to the entrance of the cave. May he be pray for us in the presence of Christ, our God, for his servants, for he is bold in front of God and is the intercessor for our souls, now and for ever.

Holy Elianos died in good confession and in full faith. He presented himself to Christ on 28 November. When they built a church for him and buried his body in front of the church, they also instituted his commemoration on 10 August ...'

Text: Kekelidze 1947, 27-37. Translation: N. Aleksidze.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Elianos, martyr of Aman : S00889

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Georgian

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

Mar Saba Monastery

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

Mar Saba Monastery Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Miracle at martyrdom and death Bodily incorruptibility

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


The Martyrdom of Elianos has survived only in its Georgian translation. It was originally composed in Greek and was translated into Georgian in Palestine, most probably in Mar Saba Monastery. The date of the original Greek composition is unknown, although the Martyrdom claims to be written by a eyewitness, which does not necessarily have to be true. The editor of the text, K. Kekelidze, dates the Georgian translation to the 8th century. After its translation, Elianos's life proved to be a popular text in the medieval Georgian corpus and the narrative's protagonist regularly appears in subsequent Georgian liturgical calendars.


The short martyrdom account is noteworthy for its attention to expressive details, such as the episode with the old lady carrying wood, or the one with Elianos willingly joining the prisoners, even if they were thrown into prison for entirely non-religious reasons. Equally expressive is the episode where the judge 'smashes his pen' after signing Elianos's death sentence. It is also notable that the Martyrdom lacks posthumous miracles, or indeed miracles in general. Even when Elianos is burnt and his body shines as gold, this paragraph has a more metaphorical touch and the author does not attempt to exaggerate Elianos' bodily incorruptibility.


Edition: Kekelidze, K., (ed.) ქართული აგიოგრაფიული ძეგლები, ნაწილი პირველი. კიმენი, ტომი II [Georgian Hagiographic Literature, part I. Kimeni. Volume II] (Tbilisi: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR, 1946), 27-37.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager