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E02544: John Chrysostom delivers a homily On *Ioulianos (martyr of Cilicia, S00305) during the saint's festival held at Antioch (Syria). He recounts Ioulianos' martyrdom and refers to relics venerated at Antioch; he forbids Christians to attend a pagan festival coinciding with the second day of the saint's feast; he mentions picnics at the martyr’s shrine and possibly a procession of relics. Written in Greek at Antioch, 386/397.

online resource
posted on 2017-03-10, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Chrysostom, On Ioulianos (CPG 4360, BHG 0967)


1. The martyrs already enjoy great rewards, and even greater ones await them at the time of resurrection.

2. This martyr came from Cilicia. He confronted an evil judge who attempted to break his determination by a prolonged and gradual martyrdom. For an entire year, he transferred him from place to place through all Cilicia. His words and example strengthen the Christians, while the sight of his wounds is unbearable to the demons. Even now, possessed people cannot bear to be near the saint’s tomb. The saint’s wounds are brighter than the stars of heaven.

3. Although his body was torn apart, his torturers failed to remove his faith, as the martyr endured. Accepting his defeat, the persecutor decided to kill him by having him placed in a sack full of sand, scorpions and snakes, and thrown into the sea. The martyrdom recalls the story of Daniel in the den of the lions.

4. His bones are now kept by the church as a treasure and exemplar of bravery. The speaker warns his audience about the habit of visiting the suburb of Daphne on the second day of the festival. The Christians should rather prefer the spiritual garden of the martyr’s shrine. Chrysostom does not prohibit visits to Daphne altogether, but on that particular day only, because of the pagan festival taking place at the suburb.

[...] Οὐ κωλύω ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὸ προάστειον, ἀλλ’ αὔριον κωλύω· τίνος ἕνεκεν; Ἵνα ἡ τέρψις μὴ ἔχῃ κατάγνωσιν, ἵνα καθαρὰ ᾖ ἡ ἡδονὴ, μὴ ὑπεισέλθῃ δὲ ἡ κατάγνωσις· καὶ γὰρ ἔξεστιν ἐν ἄλλῃ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ τῇ τέρψει χαρίσασθαι, καὶ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἀπαλλαγῆναι. Εἰ δὲ βούλει καὶ νῦν τέρψεως ἀπολαῦσαι, τί τερπνότερον τοῦ συλλόγου τούτου; τί χαριέστερον τοῦ θεάτρου τοῦ πνευματικοῦ; τῶν μελῶν τῶν σῶν; τῆς τῶν ἀδελφῶν συνουσίας; Ἀλλὰ καὶ σωματικῆς θέλεις τραπέζης μετασχεῖν; ἐνταῦθα ἔξεστι μετὰ τὸ λυθῆναι τὸν σύλλογον, τοῦ μαρτυρίου πλησίον ὑπὸ συκῆν καὶ ἄμπελον καταλύσαντι, καὶ τῷ σώματι χαρίσασθαι τὴν ἄνεσιν, καὶ τὸ συνειδὸς ἀπαλλάξαι καταγνώσεως. Ὁ γὰρ μάρτυς ἐγγύθεν ὁρώμενος καὶ πλησίον ὢν καὶ παρεστηκὼς αὐτῇ τῇ τραπέζῃ, οὐκ ἀφίησι τὴν ἡδονὴν εἰς ἁμαρτίαν ἐκχυθῆναι, ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τις παιδαγωγὸς, ἢ πατὴρ ἄριστος τοῖς τῆς πίστεως ὁρώμενος ὀφθαλμοῖς καταστέλλει τὸν γέλωτα, περικόπτει τὰς ἡδονὰς τὰς ἀτόπους, τὰ σκιρτήματα τῆς σαρκὸς ἅπαντα ἀναιρεῖ, ἅπερ ἐκεῖ οὐκ ἔστι διαφυγεῖν. Τίνος ἕνεκεν; Ὅτι χοροὶ ἀνδρῶν αὔριον τὸ προάστειον καταλαμβάνουσιν· ἡ δὲ τῶν τοιούτων ὄψις καὶ τὸν βουλόμενον σωφρονεῖν ἄκοντα ὑπεξάγει πολλάκις πρὸς τὴν τῆς αὐτῆς ἀσχημοσύνης μίμησιν, καὶ μάλιστα ὅταν καὶ ὁ διάβολος μέσος ἐκείνοις παρῇ· καὶ γὰρ πάρεστιν ὑπὸ τῶν πορνικῶν ᾀσμάτων, ὑπὸ τῶν αἰσχρῶν ῥημάτων, ὑπὸ τῆς δαιμονικῆς πομπῆς καλούμενος. Σὺ δὲ ἀπετάξω πάσῃ ταύτῃ τῇ πομπῇ, καὶ τῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λατρείᾳ συνετάξω κατὰ τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην, καθ’ ἣν τῶν ἱερῶν κατηξιώθης μυστηρίων. Ἀναμνήσθητι τοίνυν τῶν ῥημάτων ἐκείνων καὶ τῆς συνθήκης, καὶ φύγε τὴν παράβασιν.

‘[...] I am not forbidding you to go to the suburb, but I am forbidding you to do so tomorrow. For what reason? So that your pleasure might not hold condemnation. So that your enjoyment might be pure and condemnation might not sneak its way in. After all, on another day, you can both indulge in the pleasure and be free of the sin. But, if you wish to enjoy pleasure even now, what is more delightful than this gathering? What is more gratifying than this spiritual theatre? Than the members of your own body? The company of your brethren? But do you wish to share also a material table? After the gathering is dissolved, you can sit down here under fig and vine by the shrine (martyrion), and comfort your body and rid your conscience of the blame. For the martyr, seen nearby, and being close at hand, and joining the table itself, does not allow pleasure to outpour into sin. Instead, like a tutor or excellent father, he watches with the eyes of faith and checks the laughter, cuts out inappropriate enjoyments, removes all the leaps of the flesh – things which one cannot escape over there. Why? Because tomorrow choruses of men will arrive at the suburb. And the sight of such things often seduces even a person intending to be restrained into unwittingly imitating the same indecency – especially when the Devil himself is present in their midst. For he certainly is present, summoned by the obscene songs, by the shameless words, by the demonic pageantry. But you rejected all this pageantry, and ranked yourself in Christ’s service on that day when you were found worthy of the holy mysteries [= baptism]. Therefore, remember those words and that commitment and flee the transgression.’

5. Addressing those who do not intend to go to Daphne, Chrysostom suggests that, next day, they should go out to the streets and gates and prevent people from going to Daphne. They should do that for the salvation of their brethren, even if it means enduring beating or being taken to court. He suggests that they take the martyr with them (the relics?) and present him before the eyes of the lax. They should grab all the Christians around the town and bring them to the church, so that the service of the second day will be as well attended as the current one.

Εἰ βούλεσθε, καὶ τὸν μάρτυρα λάβωμεν μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν· οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται γὰρ ἐλθεῖν καὶ σῶσαι τοὺς ἀδελφούς. Ἐπιστήσωμεν αὐτοῖς ἐκείνων ὀφθαλμοῖς, φοβηθῶσι παρόντα, αἰδεσθῶσι παρακαλοῦντα καὶ δεόμενον· οὐ γὰρ αἰσχύνεται καὶ παρακαλέσαι. Εἰ γὰρ ὁ Δεσπότης αὐτοῦ παρακαλεῖ τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν· Ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ πρεσβεύομεν, φησὶν ὁ Παῦλος, ὡς τοῦ Θεοῦ παρακαλοῦντος δι’ ἡμῶν, Καταλλάγητε τῷ Θεῷ· πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὁ δοῦλος τοῦτο ποιήσει· ἓν αὐτὸν λυπεῖ μόνον, ἡ ἀπώλεια ἡ ἡμετέρα· ἓν εὐφραίνει, ἡ σωτηρία ἡ ἡμετέρα, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐ παραιτήσεται οὐδὲν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς ποιῆσαι. [... ] Ἐννοοῦντες τοίνυν τὸ κέρδος τὸ ἐκεῖθεν ἡμῖν προσγινόμενον, πρὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐκχυθέντες ἅπαντες, καὶ συλλαβόντες τοὺς ἡμετέρους ἀδελφοὺς ἐπαναγάγωμεν ἐνταῦθα, ἵνα καὶ αὔριον ἡμῖν πλῆρες τὸ θέατρον γένηται, καὶ οὕτω ἀπηρτισμένη ἡ πανήγυρις· [...]

‘If you like, let us take the martyr with us too. For he is not ashamed of coming and saving our brethren. Let us set him in front of their very eyes, that they may fear his presence, and be embarrassed to see him urging and entreating them. For he is not ashamed even to urge us. For, if his Master urges our nature (Paul says: ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, seeing that God urges through us: “Be reconciled to God”’ [2 Cor. 5:20]), even more so will his servant do this. Just one thing grieves him – our doom. One thing delights him – our salvation – and for this reason he won’t deny doing anything for its sake. [...] Therefore, considering the reward that attaches to us from the action, let us all pour out in front of the city and grab hold of our brethren and bring them back here so that tomorrow too our theatre may be filled and the festal gathering may be as complete as this one. [...]’

Text: Migne 1862, 665-676.
Translation: E. Rizos, using Mayer 2003.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr in Cilicia, ob. c. 303-311 : S00305

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Condemnation of other activity associated with cult

Cult Activities - Miracles

Exorcism Miracle after death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Crowds

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - bones and teeth Unspecified relic Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Public display of relics


John of Antioch, bishop of Constantinople, who came to be known as Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth), was born in 344/354 in Antioch on the Orontes where he studied under Libanius. He joined the Nicene Christian community of Antioch, led by bishop Meletios of Antioch, and was ordained priest by Meletios’ successor, Flavianos in 386. Acquiring a great reputation as a preacher, John was appointed as bishop of Constantinople in 397. Clashing with the bishop of Alexandria Theophilos and the empress Eudoxia in 403/404, Chrysostom was deposed and banished to Cucusus in Cappadocia and died in Comana of Pontus in 407. On the manuscript tradition of this sermon (24 manuscripts), see Rambault 2018: (accessed 10/03/2017)


The references of the author to the suburb of Daphne and its pagan festivities make it clear that this homily was given at Antioch. The martyrdom recounted by Chrysostom corresponds to the story of Ioulianos of Anazarbos, a legend known from the Byzantine Synaxaria, and from his martyrdom account (passio) (E02549). The latter recounts the saint’s trial and torments in Anazarbos and Aigai, under the governor Markianos, who has the saint thrown into the sea closed in a sack with beasts. It seems that Chrysostom knew a version of this legend, though with some differences: Chrysostom mentions manifold bloody torments, which the extant passio does not have, and he seems to be unaware of the role of Ioulianos’ mother, Asklepiodora, who features prominently in the passio. Furthermore, Chrysostom’s account seems to suggest that the martyr was taken through several Cilician cities for an entire year, which is alluded to in the passio as well, but its actual narrative unfolds only at Anazarbos and Aigai. In any case, the legend clearly had the structure of an itinerant martyrdom through numerous cities, known from other epic passiones such as those of *Sergios and *Bakchos (E02791), *Alexandros of Drusipara (E00321), *Kodratos of Nikomedia (E02075), *Viktor, son of Romanos (E05111, E05112, E05113, E05114), and several others. Chrysostom’s sermon is an invaluable testimony to the existence of this kind of hagiography already in the 4th century. It is unknown where the main shrine of this cult was, if there was one. The general narrative suggests that the saint was honoured as protector by all the cities of Cilicia, and it is likely that his presumed relics were distributed to many shrines and regions around the Mediterranean, leading to the emergence of numerous shrines and divergent local legends. It seems that the most successful and durable branch of the legend was the Egyptian one, which has survived in the form of the extant passio. That text claims that the saint’s body was washed up in Egypt, where it was venerated at a shrine belonging to the Tabennisiot monks (E02549). That text appears unaware of the shrine of Antioch, but it is clear that this shrine also acquired great pre-eminence, and was also associated with monasticism, as it received the burials of the early 5th century ascetics *Theodosios and Aphrahat (E00428). Procopius (E02554) and the legend of *Pelagia (E02571) mention the existence of a hostel or monastery adjacent to the shine. It was visited by the Piacenza Pilgrim (E00530), while Gregory of Tours records its destruction in AD 573 (E02105). It is unknown if the shrine of Antioch claimed to be the main burial site of the saint, as seems to have been the case with his shrine in Egypt. Chrysostom’s vague reference to using the martyr in order to stop people from going to Daphne may imply that his relics were movable and could be taken on a procession, rather than resting in a tomb. Of special interest is the testimony of this text to the fact that the feast of the martyr lasted two days. Ioulianos’ main feast seems to have been 20/21 June, which is mentioned by most of the hagiographic sources about him. This is the date given in his passio. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum records him on 26 December (E01075), 26 March, 20 June, 21 August, and on 8 October. The 10th century Synaxarion of Constantinople commemorates him on 16 March and 21 June. Since our text refers to a festival taking place in a warm period of the year, with picnics and outdoor festivities, it seems plausible that the feast of 20/21 June was the occasion of John’s homily. In which case, the rival pagan feasts of Daphne must have been Midsummer celebrations, related to the summer solstice. Wendy Mayer (2003, 127) suggests that the pagan feast was the well-attested celebration of Maiuma, which took place in May, and, accordingly, she assumes that the Christian feast of Ioulianos was also in May.


Text: Migne, J.-P., Patrologia Graeca, 50 (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1862), 665-676. Rambault, N., and Allen, P., Jean Chrysostome. Panégyriques de Martyrs I (Sources Chrétiennes 595; Paris: Editions du Cerf, 2018) (critical edition, French translation, introduction, notes). Translation: Leemans, J. (ed.), 'Let Us Die That We May Live': Greek Homilies on Christian Martyrs from Asia Minor, Palestine and Syria (c. AD 350-AD 450) (London: Routledge, 2003), 126-140 (W. Mayer). Further reading: Downey, G., Ancient Antioch (Princeton, 1961). Drobner, H.R., The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 327-337. Kelly, J.N.D., Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom. Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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