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E02549: The Greek Martyrdom of *Ioulianos (martyr of Cilicia, S00305), of the 5th c. or later, recounts the trials of an eighteen-year-old Christian at Anazarbos and Aigai of Cilicia (south-east Asia Minor), before his execution in the sea. His body is collected in Egypt and venerated at a shrine belonging to Tabennesiot monks, and his feast is 21 June. Probably written in Egypt, based on an earlier Cilician legend.

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posted on 2017-03-11, 00:00 authored by erizos
Martyrdom of Ioulianos of Cilicia (BHG 966)


Markianos, the legatus of Cilicia Secunda, is ordered to persecute the Christians. Ioulianos is an eighteen-year-old boy from a family of councillors, well educated, and exceptionally handsome, famous through the whole province. Out of envy, he is reported as a Christian to the governor. Markianos asks him about his name, religion, and rank. Ioulianos confesses being a lay Christian and refuses to sacrifice, declaring the existence of only one God. He does not fear torments and death. Asked by Markianos, Ioulianos reveals that his father was a councillor, which is confirmed by the logistes Kronides. Markianos orders that they make Ioulianos eat of the sacrificial meat and wine. Ioulianos prays for help. The ducenarius Euilasios urges him to apostatise, but Ioulianos reproaches him for speaking without having authority. Markianos orders that the martyr be beaten, and threatens to torment him in every town as an example. The martyr asks him to realise his threat, so that the cities may invoke him as their helper and intercessor. The passage reads as follows:

p. 164 (column 11, line 24 – column 12, line 7)

Μαρκιανὸς εἶπεν· Μὰ τοὺς θεοὺς ἅπαντας, ἐὰν μή μου πεισθῇς, αἰκιζόμενόν σε ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι περιφέρων, εἰς ἐπίδειξίν σε καταστήσω πάντων. Ἀπεκρίθη Ἰουλιανὸς καὶ εἶπεν· Ἀξιῶ τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά με, δεύτερον δὲ καὶ σὲ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, ὥστε ἔχοντά με δύναμιν οὐράνιον, πρῶτον με καλεῖν εἰς τὰς πόλεις βοηθὸν τοῦ πρεσβεύειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν, ἵνα γνῷς ὅτι δύναμις θεοῦ ἐστιν ἐν ἐμοί.

‘Markianos said: “By all the gods, unless you obey me, I shall make of you a spectacle for all, carrying you in torments through the cities.” Ioulianos replied and said: “I request of God who created me, but also you, to do that, so that, having heavenly power, I may be invoked in the cities as their first helper, that I may intercede on their behalf – so that you may learn that God’s power is in me.”’

Markianos puts him in gaol, and some days later, he has him publicly tried in Anazarbos. The martyr refuses to sacrifice, is beaten several times, and is put to gaol. He is taken to Aigai where Markianos is informed by the people that Ioulianos has a mother, Asklepiodora. He summons her and asks her to counsel her son. She requests to be given three days’ grace to do so. Markianos suspects that they may attempt to poison themselves, but they declare that suicide is as disastrous as apostasy. Markianos threatens to throw Ioulianos into the sea, so that no women will collect his bones. The martyr is kept in gaol for three days, after which he and his mother appear at the tribunal, and refuse to apostatise. Markianos threatens to make Asklepiodora a prostitute, but, as Ioulianos states that she has titles of nobility, she is just flogged and released. Ioulianos is flogged and finally thrown into the sea in a sack with beasts. His body emerges in Alexandria, at the suburb of Bapheion. A pious woman buries it solemnly at a small shrine, where she also buries her young child. Demons are exorcised at the shrine. Monks of the monastery of Tabenna come in search of the martyr’s relics. After long prayers and fasting, they find the relic, together with the body of the woman’s child, which is beautifully preserved thanks to its vicinity to the martyr. Once exhumed, the body of the child is immediately dissolved, while that of the martyr is preserved. The monks deposit the relic at a solemn shrine. Ioulianos was martyred on 21 June.

Summary and translation: Efthymios Rizos.


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


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor Constantinople and region Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism Bodily incorruptibility Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Pagans Officials Relatives of the saint

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - bones and teeth Bodily relic - entire body Construction of cult building to contain relics Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Privately owned relics Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


The text of BHG 966 is unedited and unpublished. It is preserved in two 11th-century manuscripts, on which see: (accessed on 20/03/2017) Our summary is based on one of the two manuscripts, codex Par. Graec. 1488, p. 160-174, which is now available online: 1488.zoom (accessed on 20/03/2017)


This text probably represents one of several versions of this saint’s hagiography. Ioulianos had a popular cult in the eastern Mediterranean, flourishing in Cilicia, Syria, and Egypt, and reaching Constantinople. His legend, which was known to John Chrysostom (E02544), is likely to have existed in different local versions, of which the only one that has survived intact is this text. As its last part suggests, it is related to a shrine of the saint in Egypt, which had a link with the Pachomian Tabennesiot monks. Although the text cannot be easily dated, its composition may go back to the 5th century. The early spread of the text in Egypt is attested through a fragment of it (BHG 965) discovered on a 5th/6th-century parchment leaf (E02550). The survival of only the Egyptian passio of the saint in the Greek menologia also suggests that the cult of Ioulianos was introduced to Constantinople from Egypt, rather than from his homeland in Cilicia. The Martyrdom of Ioulianos is structured in the form of an itinerant martyrdom, unfolding as a journey through the cities of Cilicia, which, as the saint declares, will be invoking him as their helper and intercessor. Thus this is an interesting example of a martyrdom account constructing the image of a saint as common protector of the communities of an entire province. Comparable examples of martyrdom accounts written in the same way are those of *Sergios and *Bakchos in Syria (E02791) and *Alexandros in Thrace (E00321).


Text: Rizos, E. "Saint Julian of Cilicia: a Study of his Cult and Hagiography, Including the Edition and English Translation of the Greek Passio S. Iuliani Anazarbeni (BHG 966) and its Epitome (BHG 967d).' Analecta Bollandiana (forthcoming) Van den Gheyn, J. ‘Un fragment des Actes de S. Julien d’Anazarbe.’ Analecta Bollandiana 15 (1896), 73-76.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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