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E04007: Socrates in the Ecclesiastical History reports that, in 404, bishop Epiphanius of Salamis visited the shrine of *John (the Baptist S00020, or the Evangelist S00042) at Hebdomon (Constantinople) where he celebrated a service and ordination. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/446.

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posted on 2017-09-11, 00:00 authored by erizos
Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 6.12.1-2

1. (…) Μετ’ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ἐκ τῆς Κύπρου ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Ἐπιφάνιος ἐπὶ τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολιν {πάλιν} ἔρχεται, ταῖς ὑποθήκαις Θεοφίλου πεισθείς, ἐπικομιζόμενος ἐν ταὐτῷ τὰ καθαιρετικὰ τῶν Ὠριγένους βιβλίων, δι’ ὧν οὐκ αὐτὸν Ὠριγένην ἀκοινώνητον εἶναι ἀπέφηνεν, ἀλλὰ τὰ βιβλία μόνον διέβαλλεν. 2. Προσορμίσας οὖν τῷ ἐπὶ Ἰωάννῃ μαρτυρίῳ (ἀπέχει δὲ τοῦτο ἑπτὰ σημεῖα τῆς πόλεως) καὶ ἐξελθὼν τῆς νεώς, σύναξίν τε ἐπιτελέσας καὶ διάκονον χειροτονήσας αὖθις εἰς τὴν πόλιν εἰσέρχεται.

‘Not long after this, following the instructions of Theophilus, bishop Epiphanius came from Cyprus to Constantinople. He brought with him a declaration condemning Origen’s books, by which he did not excommunicate Origen himself but only denounced his books. His boat docked by the shrine of John, which is seven miles distant from the city. He disembarked and celebrated a service there, and after ordaining a deacon, he straightaway entered the city.’

Text: Hansen 1995.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John, the Apostle and Evangelist : S00042 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work


Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Other liturgical acts and ceremonies

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Socrates ‘Scholasticus’ was born between 380 and 390 in Constantinople, where he probably spent his entire life. He was trained as a grammarian and rhetorician under the sophist Troilos of Side. From his work, Socrates emerges as a classically educated intellectual, and probably a member of the higher echelons of Constantinopolitan society. His only known work, the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History, was published between 439 and 446, very probably in 439/440. It covers the period from the accession of Constantine to 439, focusing on the Roman East and recounting the 4th century Christological disputes, the reign of Julian the Apostate, the conflicts that led to the deposition of John Chrysostom, and the beginnings of the Nestorian dispute. Socrates’ synthesis is defined by his loyalties to Nicene Orthodoxy, the Theodosian dynasty, and the Origenist tradition. He is markedly sympathetic to the Novatian community, of which he may have been a member, and is interested in recording information about several other sectarian Christian groups of his time. Although an Origenist, like John Chrysostom and his supporters, Socrates distances himself from the Johannite party. Socrates draws extensively on the Latin Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus of Aquileia for his account of the 4th century, which results in substantial overlaps between their works. In this database, we record only Socrates’ additions, and not the sections he reproduces from Rufinus. Alongside the recording of doctrinal disputes, successions of bishops, and victims of persecutions, Socrates was the first author to include a relatively systematic treatment of monasticism to the agenda of ecclesiastical historiography. It seems that he had access only to Greek and Latin sources, but not to the Syriac and other Aramaic hagiographies produced in this period in the East. The work of Socrates is the first of the three Orthodox ecclesiastical Histories published in Greek between 439 and 449. Within less than ten years of its publication, Socrates’ work was systematically reworked and expanded by Sozomen, and may have been known also to Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Socrates’ narrative overlaps extensively with both of these ecclesiastical histories. This boom in Greek ecclesiastical historiography may have been instigated by the publication in Constantinople of an Arian Ecclesiastical History by Philostorgius in 425/433, which survives in fragments.


The story is reproduced by Sozomen 8.4.5. The shrine of Hebdomon consisted of two churches, the older basilica of John the Evangelist, founded by Constantine, according to the Patria of Constantinople, and a rotunda housing the head of John the Baptist, founded by Theodosius I (Patria of Constantinople, 3.144-145; Janin 1969, 267-269, 413). On the shrine of Hebdomon, see E04013.


Text: Hansen, G.C., Sokrates, Kirchengeschichte (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 1; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Zenos, A.C., "The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus," in: The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 2 (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 1-178. Périchon, P., and Maraval, P., Socrate de Constantinople, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 477, 493, 505, 506; Paris: Cerf), 2004-2007. Further reading: Bäbler, B., and Nesselrath, H.-G. (eds.). Die Welt des Sokrates von Konstantinopel: Studien zu Politik, Religion und Kultur im späten 4. und frühen 5. Jh. n. Chr. Zu Ehren von Christoph Schäublin (Munich: K.G. Saur, 2001). Chesnut, G.F., The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986). Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les eglises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople (Paris, 1969). Leppin, H., Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 1996. Nuffelen, P. van, Un héritage de paix et de piété: Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters), 2004. Treadgold, W.T., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Urbainczyk, T., Socrates of Constantinople: Historian of Church and State (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997). Wallraff, M., Der Kirchenhistoriker Sokrates: Untersuchungen zu Geschichtsdarstellung, Methode und Person (Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte 68; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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