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E04021: Sozomen in his Ecclesiastical History refers to miracles at the shrine of *Martyrios and Markianos (martyrs in Constantinople, ob. c. 351, S01719) in Constantinople, and to the building of its church in the early 5th century. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

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posted on 2017-09-13, 00:00 authored by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 4.3

After the deposition of the orthodox (Nicene) Paul and the second appointment of the Arian Macedonius as bishop of Constantinople in 350, a persecution breaks out against the clergy that remained faithful to Paul.

(1) Προῆλθε γὰρ τὸ κακὸν καὶ μέχρι φόνων· καὶ γὰρ δὴ ἄλλοι τινὲς ἀνῃρέθησαν καὶ Μαρτύριος καὶ Μαρκιανός, οὓς συνοίκους ὄντας Παύλου λόγος ἀνδρείως ἀποθανεῖν παραδοθέντας ὑπὸ Μακεδονίου τῷ ὑπάρχῳ ὡς αἰτίους γενομένους τῆς Ἑρμογένους κακῆς ἀναιρέσεως καὶ τῆς κατ’ αὐτοῦ στάσεως. ἦν δὲ ὁ μὲν ὑποδιάκονος, ὁ δὲ Μαρκιανὸς ψάλτης καὶ ἀναγνώστης τῶν ἱερῶν γραφῶν· ὁ δὲ τάφος αὐτοῖς ἐστιν ἐπίσημος πρὸ τοῦ τείχους Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, οἷά γε μαρτύρων μνῆμα εὐκτήριον οἶκον περικείμενος· (2) ὃν οἰκοδομεῖν ἤρξατο Ἰωάννης, ἐτελεσιούργησε δὲ Σισίννιος, οἱ μετὰ ταῦτα προστάντες τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἐκκλησίας. οὐ γὰρ ἄξιον νενομίκασι μαρτυρίας γερῶν ἀμοιρεῖν αὐτοὺς ὑπὸ θεοῦ τιμωμένους, καθότι καὶ ὁ τῇδε τόπος, τῶν ἐπὶ θανάτῳ ἀγομένων ἐνθάδε τὰς κεφαλὰς ἀποτεμνομένων, τὸ πρὶν ἄβατος ὢν ὑπὸ φασμάτων ἐκαθάρθη· καὶ δαιμονῶντες τῆς νόσου ἀπηλλάγησαν καὶ πολλὰ ἄλλα παράδοξα ἐπὶ τῷ τάφῳ αὐτῶν συνέβη. (3) τάδε μὲν ἡμῖν περὶ Μαρτυρίου καὶ Μαρκιανοῦ εἰρήσθω. εἰ δέ τῳ οὐ πιθανὰ εἶναι δοκεῖ, πόνος οὐδεὶς ἀκριβέστερον παρὰ τῶν εἰδότων μαθεῖν· ἴσως γὰρ καὶ τούτων θαυμαστότερα ἀφηγήσονται.

‘(1) Violence advanced even to the point of slaughter. Indeed, several people were killed, including Martyrios and Markianos who are said to have lived in Paulos’ house and to have died bravely. They were handed by Macedonius to the urban prefect, accused for the horrendous murder of Hermogenes and for the sedition against him. Martyrios was a subdeacon, whereas Markianos was a singer and reader of the Holy Scriptures. Their tomb is famous, located before the walls of Constantinople and, as a memorial of martyrs, it is housed in an oratory. (2) Its construction was commenced by John and completed by Sisinnius, who presided over the church of Constantinople in a later period. They indeed thought that it was not right for these men to be left bereft of veneration as martyrs, while they were held in honour by God. On that site decapitations of death convicts had been taking place and, while previously it had been inaccessible because of ghosts, it was now purified. Moreover, people tormented by demons were delivered from their malady, and many other prodigies occurred at their tomb. (3) For my part, let these things suffice with regard to Martyrios and Markianos. If anyone finds them implausible, it is not difficult to acquire more information from to those who know. They might indeed relate even more wonderful things than these.'

Text: Bidez and Hansen 1995. Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrios and Markianos, martyrs of Constantinople, ob. c. 351 : S01719

Saint Name in Source

Μαρτύριος, Μαρκιανός

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 - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Salamenios Hermeias Sozomenos (known in English as Sozomen) was born in the early 5th c. to a wealthy Christian family, perhaps of Arab origins, in the village of Bethelea near Gaza. He was educated at a local monastic school, studied law probably at Beirut, and settled in Constantinople where he pursued a career as a lawyer. Sozomen published his Ecclesiastical History between 439 and 450, perhaps around 445. It consists of nine books, the last of which is incomplete. In his dedication of the work, Sozomen states that he intended to cover the period from the conversion of Constantine to the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius II, that is, 312 to 439, but the narrative of the extant text breaks in about 425. The basis of Sozomen’s work is the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, published a few years earlier, which our author revises and expands. Like Socrates, Sozomen was devoted to Nicene Orthodoxy and the Theodosian dynasty, but his work is marked by stronger hagiographical interests, a richer base of sources, and different sympathies/loyalties. Sozomen probably lacked the classical education of Socrates, but had a broader knowledge of hagiographical and monastic literature and traditions, which makes him a fuller source for the cult of saints. Besides Greek and Latin, Sozomen knew Aramaic, which allowed him to include information about ascetic communities, monastic founders, and martyrs from his native Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, to which Socrates had had no access. Much like the other ecclesiastical historians of the fourth and fifth centuries, Sozomen focuses on the East Roman Empire, only seldom referring to the West and Persia.


This passage is the first dated reference to the story and shrine of the two martyrs known in the Byzantine tradition as the Holy Notaries (Ἅγιοι Νοτάριοι), as having been notaries of the orthodox bishop Paul the Confessor. Their cult was apparently popular, but their story does not seem to have been enhanced substantially beyond the information provided by Sozomen who places their death in the context of the outbreak of violence which followed the deposing of the orthodox bishop of Constantinople Paul and his replacement by Macedonius in 350. Their martyrdom account (BHG 1028-1029, E06890) places their shrine outside the gate of Melanthias, very probably a gate of the Constantinian walls of Constantinople, in the region of the Holy Apostles (Janin 1969, 377-378).


Text: Bidez, J., and Hansen, G. C., Sozomenus. Kirchengeschichte. 2nd rev. ed. (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte, Neue Folge 4; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Grillet, B., Sabbah, G., Festugière A.-J. Sozomène, Histoire ecclésiastique. 4 vols. (Sources chrétiennes 306, 418, 495, 516; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1983-2008): text, French translation, and introduction. Hansen, G.C. Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica, Kirchengeschichte, 4 vols. (Fontes Christiani 73; Turnhout: Brepols, 2004): text, German translation, and introduction. Hartranft, C.D. “The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Comprising a History of the Church from AD 323 to AD 425." In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series, edited by P. Schaff and H. Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 179-427. Further reading: 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). Van Nuffelen, P., Un héritage de paix et de piété : Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters, 2004).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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