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E04017: Socrates in his Ecclesiastical History reports that in 438 the bishop of Constantinople Proclus had the body of *John Chrysostom (bishop of Constantinople, ob. 407, S00779) brought from its resting place in Komana/Comana (Pontus, northern Asia Minor) to Constantinople, and buried at the Holy Apostles. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/446.

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posted on 2017-09-12, 00:00 authored by erizos
Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 7.45

1. (…) Οὐκ εἰς μακρὰν δὲ μετὰ τόνδε τὸν χρόνον καὶ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Πρόκλος τοὺς χωριζομένους διὰ τὴν τοῦ ἐπισκόπου Ἰωάννου καθαίρεσιν <εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν> ἐπανήγαγεν, φρονήσει παραμυθησάμενος τὴν λύπην αὐτῶν. Τί δὲ ἦν τοῦτο λεκτέον. 2. Τὸ σῶμα Ἰωάννου ἐν Κομάνοις <τοῦ Εὐξείνου Πόντου> τεθαμμένον, βασιλέα πείσας, τριακοστῷ πέμπτῳ ἔτει μετὰ τὴν καθαίρεσιν εἰς τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολιν μετεκόμισεν. 3. Καὶ μετὰ πολλῆς τιμῆς δημοσίᾳ πομπεύσας αὐτὸ εἰς τὴν ἐπώνυμον τῶν Ἀποστόλων ἐκκλησίαν ἀπέθετο. 4. Ἡσθέντες οὖν ἐπὶ τούτῳ οἱ δι’ αὐτὸν χωριζόμενοι τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἡνώθησαν. Καὶ τοῦτο γέγονεν τῇ ἑξκαιδεκάτῃ ὑπατείᾳ τοῦ βασιλέως Θεοδοσίου περὶ τὴν ἑβδόμην καὶ εἰκάδα τοῦ Ἰαννουαρίου μηνός. 5. Θαυμάσαι δέ μοι ἔπεισι, πῶς ὁ φθόνος Ὠριγένους μὲν τελευτήσαντος ἥψατο, Ἰωάννου δὲ ἐφείσατο. 6. Ὁ μὲν γὰρ μετὰ διακόσια ἔτη που τῆς ἑαυτοῦ τελευτῆς ὑπὸ Θεοφίλου ἀκοινώνητος γέγονεν, Ἰωάννης δὲ τριακοστῷ πέμπτῳ ἔτει μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν εἰς κοινωνίαν ὑπὸ Πρόκλου ἐδέχθη. 7. Τοσοῦτον Πρόκλος Θεοφίλου τῷ τρόπῳ διήνεγκεν. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν ὅπως γέγονέ τε καὶ ἀεὶ γίνεται, τοὺς εὖ φρονοῦντας οὐ διαφεύγει.

‘(...) Not long after this, bishop Proclus brought back to the Church those separated from it on account of bishop John's deposition, satisfying their grievance by a sensible idea. It is necessary to recount what this was about. He convinced the emperor to allow him to have the body of John, which had been buried at Komana of Pontus, transferred to Constantinople, then being the thirty-fifth year since his deposition. So he had it carried through the city with great honours in solemn procession, and deposited at the church which is named after the Apostles. Pleased by this, then, those separated were reunited with the Church. This happened around the twenty-seventh of January, in the sixteenth consulate of the Emperor Theodosius. I cannot but marvel at how malice assaulted Origen posthumously, but spared John. For the former was excommunicated by Theophilus about two hundred years after his decease, whereas John was admitted to communion by Proclus thirty-five years after his death. So much did Proclus differ from Theophilus in his character. Yet how these things happened and always do happen does not elude the sound-minded.’

Text: Hansen 1995.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, ob. 407 : S00779

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



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

  • Procession

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of relic invention/translation

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


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.


Socrates' assessment of Chrysostom was relatively neutral, appreciating him as an ascetic and Origenist, but disapproving of his hostile stance towards the Novatians. The author keeps a distance from the schismatic followers of Chrysostom ('Johannites'), and speaks very positively about his successor bishops. He notes that Atticus restored the commemoration of Chrysostom (7.25.1-2), and here he ascribes the transfer of John's remains from Komana to Constantinople to an initiative of Proclus. Socrates praises Proclus' initiative as an ingenious idea which restored unity, refraining from comments about Chrysostom as a saint. It is worth comparing this passage with the account of the same event by Theodoret of Cyrrhus (Eccl. Hist. 5.38 [36], 39 [36-37]; E04187). The latter extolls the role of emperor Theodosius II, totally hushing up the role of Proclus who had replaced Theodoret's close friend, Nestorius, as bishop of Constantinople. The role of Proclus is also ignored by the also pro-Johannite Life of Hypatios of Rufinianae in its reference to the event (E05568). Chrysostom is the first bishop of Constantinople known to have been buried at the Holy Apostles, where his sarcophagus remained and became an object of veneration down to the 13th century.


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). 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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