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E02113: The Canons of the Council of Laodicea, of the late 4th c., forbid the celebration of feasts of martyrs on days of fast; during Lent they are to be celebrated only on Saturdays and Sundays. Written in Laodikeia/Laodicea of Phrygia (west central Asia Minor).

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posted on 2016-12-12, 00:00 authored by erizos
Canons of the Council of Laodicea, 51

NA. Περὶ τοῦ μὴ μνήμας μαρτύρων ποιεῖν ἐν ταῖς νηστίμοις ἡμέραις
Ὅτι οὐ δεῖ ἐν τεσσαρακοστῇ γενεθλιον ἐπιτελεῖν, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων μνείαν ποιεῖν ἐν τοῖς σάββασι καὶ κυριακαῖς.

'Canon 51. The memorial days of martyrs must not be celebrated on the days of fasting
The nativities of martyrs are not to be celebrated in Lent, but memorial celebrations of the holy martyrs are to be held on the Sabbaths and Lord's days.'

Text: Ioannou 1962. Translation: E. Rizos


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060


  • 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

Laodicea ad Lycum

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

Laodicea ad Lycum Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Condemnation/rejection of a specific cultic activity


The Council of Laodicea, the decisions of which are only known through the summary of sixty canons (rulings), is thought to have been convoked in the late 4th century at Laodikeia/Laodicea on the Lycus, in Phrygia Pacatiana.


This canon is the earliest attestation of the practice of deferring the celebrations of the martyrs falling on days of fasting and during Lent. Apparently, the reason behind this ruling is that the celebrations of the martyrs were regarded as occasions of feasting, inappropriate for periods of abstinence and contemplation. It is unknown how far and until when this practice was observed. The custom of deferring the popular feast of *George to Monday of Easter week, if it falls during Lent, which is still widely practised by many Christian traditions, seems to be the only survivor of this ancient custom.


Text: Joannou, P.-P. Discipline Generale Antique (Ive - Ixe S.). Fonti IX. Vol. I.2, Grottaferrata: Pontificia Commissione per la Redazione del Codice di Diritto Canonico Orientale, 1962, 130-155. English Translation: Percival, H. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1900. Available online, revised by Kevin Knight: .

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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