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E02999: The Martyrdom of *Athenogenes (bishop and martyr of Pedachthoe, S00065), of the 4th/5th c., reports that on the saint’s feast (17 July) a deer offers its fawn to be consumed by the faithful, butcheries are free of flies, meat bought on the day keeps fresh, and water is miraculously provided in preparations for the festival. Athenogenes has power against the effects of ill-omened dreams. Written in Pedachthoe (Pontus, northern Anatolia).

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posted on 2017-06-16, 00:00 authored by erizos
Anysios, Life and Martyrdom of Athenogenes (BHG 197b), 28, 40 and 41

[For a summary and discussion of the complete Martyrdom, see E02993.]

28. Ἤρχετο δὲ τῆς ἐπὶ Σεβαστείας ὁδοῦ ὁ ἅγιος Ἀθηνογὲνης χαίρων καὶ εὐχαριστῶν τῷ κυρίῳ. Ὑπήντησεν δὲ αὐτῷ ἡ ἔλαφος ἣν ἀνεθρέψατο νηπιάσασαν καὶ προσεκύνησεν τοῖς ποσὶν τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀθηνογένους. Εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῇ ὁ ἅγιος Ἀθηνογένης καὶ μάρτυς τοῦ Χριστοῦ· «Ἐστερήθης ἀδελφῶν· ἴδε στερήσῃ καὶ ἐμοῦ τοῦ ἁναθρεψαμὲνου σε· ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῶν ὅλων αἰώνων μὴ δώῃ σοι ὑπὸ κυνηγῶν κυριευθῆναι, ἀλλ’ ἔσται τὸ σπέρμα σου φέρον τὸν γόνον αὑτοῦ εἰς τὴν μνήμην ἡμῶν τοῦ ἀναλίσκεσθαι αὑτὸν εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ»· ὃ δὴ καὶ μέχρι τοῦ νῦν ἐκτελεῖται. Ἠ δὲ ἔλαφος προσέπεσεν τοῖς ποσὶν τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀθηνογένους στενάζουσα· κατασφραγίσας δὲ αὐτὴν ὁ ἅγιος ἀπέλυσεν αὐτὴν ἐν εἰρήνῃ.

‘28. Saint Athenogenes was coming on the road leading to Sebasteia, joyful and giving thanks to the Lord. And the deer which he had reared since it was a fawn met him and prostrated itself at the feet of the holy martyr Athenogenes. And the holy Athenogenes and martyr of Christ said to it: “You have been deprived of your siblings and, behold, you will now be deprived also of me that raised you. But may the God of All ages never allow that you be conquered by hunters, but your progeny will be bringing their offspring to be consumed in our memory, to the glory of God.” And that indeed takes place into the present. The deer fell before the feet of Saint Athenogenes sighing. The saint blessed it with the seal of Christ and released it in peace.’

40. Χρὴ τοίνυν μηδὲ ἐκεῖνα παραλείπειν ἅπερ τῷ τρισμακαρίῳ καὶ ἁγίῳ μάρτυρι ἐχαρίσθη παρὰ τοῦ πάντα δωρουμένου Χριστοῦ, τῷ ίουλίῳ μηνὶ καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐνιαυτὸν ἐπιτελουμένης τῆς μνήμης αὑτοῦ ἐπιφαίνεσθαι τὰ χαρίσματα τοῖς ἀξίοις αὑτοῦ.

Καὶ ἡ ἔλαφος παραγίνεται ἐν τῇ μνήμῃ τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων, καθὼς ᾐτήσατο τὸν θεὸν ὁ μακάριος Ἀθηνογένης. Παραγινομὲνη δὲ προσάγει τὸν γόνον αὐτῆς δῶρον τῷ θεῷ· προσάγει δὲ αὐτῷ ἀναγινωσκομένου τοῦ ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον, θεωροῦντος παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ, καὶ τιθεῖσα τὰ ἑαυτοῦ γόνατα προσκυνεῖ τῷ θεῷ· καταλιμπάνουσα τὸ ἑαυτῆς νεβρὸν ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ πορεύεται ὲν εἰρήνῃ. Ἀναλίσκεται δὲ ὁ γόνος αὐτῆς τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ καὶ μνήμην τῶν ἁγίων

Ἐν δὲ ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ τῶν καυμάτων μὴ φαίνεσθαι εἰς κρεωπώλιον ἢ ἐν ἄλλοις τισὶ μυίαν ἐν τῇ μνήμῃ αὐτοῦ· εἰ δὲ καὶ φανῇ ἐν οἴκῳ ἀδρανῆ αὐτὴν εἶναι καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν χειμῶνι νεναρκυῖαν, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἑπικομίσηται ἐκ τοῦ πιπρασκομένου κρέους, λόγῳ εὐλογίας ἀκέραιον τοῦτο φυλάττεσθαι ἕως ἂν βούληται.

Καὶ ὃς ἐὰν συνδράμῃ ἐν τῇ μνήμῃ τοῦ ἀγίου καὶ χρῄζῃ ὓδατος - βραχὺ γάρ ἐστιν ὕδωρ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ - καὶ ἐὰν ὁρύξῃ, παρέχεται αὐτῷ τὸ ἀρκοῦν ὕδωρ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ, ὅπερ μετὰ τοῦτο ὑπονοστεῖται καὶ ξηραίνεται.

41. Ἔτι δὲ περιόντος τοῦ ἁγίου, ἔδοξεν αὑτὸν κατ’ ὄναρ ἀπαχθῆναι εἰς τὸν ἄρχοντα καὶ εἰδωλοθύτου ἀπογεύσασθαι· διυπνισθεὶς δὲ ἐπὶ τούτοις καὶ κλίνας τὸ γόνυ
αὑτοῦ προσηύξατο τῷ δεσπότῃ Χριστῷ μεταβληθῆναι τὸ ὄναρ εἰς ἀγαθόν. Ἠνίκα δὲ ἔμελλεν τελειοῦσθαι, ἀναμνησθεὶς περὶ τούτου ᾔτησεν παρὰ τοῦ δεσπότου Χριστοῦ ὥστε εἴ τις ἅνθρωπος θεάσηται φαῦλον ὄναρ καὶ ταραχθῇ, ἐπικαλέσηται δὲ τρίτον τὸν ἅγιον Ἀθηνογένην, ἀπαλλάττεσθαι τῆς δυσκληρίας τοῦ ὁράματος εἰς καλόν. Ταύτας τὰς δωρεὰς ἤτοι χάριτας παρέσχετο αύτῷ ὁ θεός, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο παντὶ τῷ δεομένῳ αὐτῷ γνησίως μεγάλην καὶ ταχείαν παρέχει τὴν προστασίαν. Ούδὲ γὰρ τῆς φιλοθέου Εὑσεβείας ἐπελάθετο ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς Ἀθηνογένης, ἀλλὰ καθὼς συνέθετο αὐτῇ λέγων· «Ὅσα ᾐτήσω παρ’ ἐμοῦ, παρέχει σοι κύριος καὶ συγκεχώρηταί σοι πάντα τὰ πλημμελήματα σου.»

‘40. It is then necessary that we should not omit those things which have been granted to the holy martyr by Christ, the granter of all gifts – namely the graces that occur to those worthy of him, when his memory is celebrated in the month of July every year.

So the deer comes in the memory of the holy martyrs, as the blessed Athenogenes asked God. When it appears, it brings forth its offspring as a gift to God. And it brings it, while the holy gospel is being read at the altar, all the people watching, and, bending its knees, it venerates God. And it leaves its fawn in the church and departs peacefully. And her young is consumed on the same day to the glory of God and in the memory of the holy martyrs.

And in that time of burning heat, no fly appears in butcheries or other places, in his memory. And even if it does appear at a house, it is immobile and numb, as in winter. And if one obtains some of the meat that is sold, they can keep it intact as long as they wish, due to the blessing.

And, if someone assisting in his memory needs water (water is indeed scarce in that place) and digs, sufficient water is granted to him in that place, which after that disappears and dries away.

41. And while the saint was still alive, he saw a dream that he was taken to the governor and tasted sacrificial meat. As he woke up at this, he bent his knee and prayed the Lord Christ that his dream be turned to a positive outcome. And, when he was about to be put to death, he remembered that and asked of the Lord Christ that, when a man sees a bad dread and is distressed, if he invokes Saint Athenogenes three times, he should be rid of the unpropitious effect of the vision for a favourable one. God granted him all these gifts, that is graces, and for that reason he grants his protection greatly and quickly, to all those who supplicate him sincerely. Neither did the holy martyr Athenogenes forget the God-loving Eusebia, but he did as he had promised to her, when he said: “The Lord grants you as much as you have requested from me and all your transgressions have been forgiven”.'

Text: Maraval 1990.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Athenogenes, Bishop and martyr of Pedachthoe, ob. 305 : S00065

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Sebasteia/Sebaste Pedachthoe

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

Sebasteia/Sebaste Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia Pedachthoe Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

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

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Specialised miracle-working Miracle with animals and plants Power over objects Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Miraculous protection - of people and their property Other specified miracle


The text is preserved in one manuscript, the 10th-century Codex Sabaiticus 242, of the Patriarchal Library of Jerusalem, on which see:


These episodes reflect the specialised miraculous power ascribed to Athenogenes. This is one of the earliest attestations of the miracle of the animal offering its young to be sacrificed.


Text, French translation, commentary: Maraval, P. La Passion inédite de S. Athénogène de Pédachthoè en Cappadoce (BHG 197b). Subsidia Hagiographica 75. Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1990.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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