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E01906: Gregory of Nazianzus in his Letter 197, of the late 380s, to Gregory of Nyssa mentions a feast of martyrs celebrated probably at an unnamed place in Cappadocia. Written in Greek in Arianzos (central Asia Minor).

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posted on 2016-10-10, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Gregory of Nazianzus, Letters (CPG 3032), Letter 197

(1.) Ὡρμημένον με πρὸς ὑμᾶς κατὰ πᾶσαν σπουδὴν καὶ μέχρις Εὐφημιάδος γενόμενον ἐπέσχεν ἡ σύνοδος ἣν αὐτόθι τελεῖτε τοῖς ἁγίοις μάρτυσι, καὶ τὸ μὴ μετασχεῖν ταύτης οἷόν τε εἶναι διὰ τὴν ἀρρωστίαν, καὶ ἄλλως βαρὺν ἂν γενέσθαι τῇ ἀκαιρίᾳ. (......)

‘To Gregory of Nyssa

I had set out in all haste to go to you, and had reached as far as Euphemias, when the festival you celebrate there for the holy martyrs checked me, both because I could not take part in owing to my ill health, and because the untimeliness might inconvenience you. (......)’

Text: Gallay 1964.
Translation Silvas 2007, 98-101.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

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


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

Arianzos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Nazianzus

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Gregory was born in c. 330 to a wealthy Christian family in Cappadocia. He was educated at Nazianzos, Kaisareia/Caesarea, Athens, and Alexandria, and in 361 he returned to Nazianzos where he was ordained priest by his father, Gregory the Elder, who was bishop of Nazianzos. He was ordained bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia by Basil of Caesarea in 372, but stayed in Nazianzos, administering the local community after the death of his father. After retreating as a monk in Isauria for some years, he moved to Constantinople in 379, in order to lead the struggle for the return of the city to Nicene Orthodoxy. Two years later, the Arians were ousted by the emperor Theodosius I, and Gregory became bishop of Constantinople. In 381, he convened the Council of Constantinople, at the end of which he resigned his throne and retired to Cappadocia where he died in 390. His 249 Letters are an important source concerning his life and personality, and the ecclesiastical history of the 360s to 380s. For their manuscript tradition and editions, see: Gallay 1964 and:


Written in the late 380s, this is a letter of condolences and consolation to Gregory of Nyssa on the death of Theosebia who was his wife or sister. From the close of the letter, it seems that it was written in Gregory of Nazianzus’ later years, in the mid to late 380s. In the opening phrase, the author apologises for his failure to attend a festival of martyrs. It is unknown where and for which martyrs this festival was celebrated.


Text, French translation, and commentary: Gallay, P. (1964). Saint Grégoire de Nazianze, Lettres. Texte établi et traduit. Paris: Les Belles lettres. Translation: Silvas, A. M. Gregory of Nyssa. The Letters: Introduction, Translation and Commentary. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 83. Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2007, 98-101. Further reading: Comings, J. B. Aspects of the Liturgical Year in Cappadocia (325-430). Patristic Studies. New York: Peter Lang, 2005, 98. Daley, Brian. Gregory of Nazianzus. London, New York: Routledge, 2006. Hauser-Meury, M.-M. Prosopographie zu den Schriften Gregors von Nazianz. Theophaneia 13. Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1960. McGuckin, John A. St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography. Chrestwood, New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001. Storin, Bradley K. "The Letter Collection of Gregory of Nazianzus." In Late Antique Letter Collections. A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide, edited by Bradley K. Storin and Edward Watts Cristiana Sogno, 81-101. Oakland: University of California Press, 2017.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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