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E04103: Sozomen in his Ecclesiastical History lists martyrs and confessors who suffered under Julian the Apostate (r. 361-363), probably using hagiographies about them. These are *Georgios (Arian bishop of Alexandria, S01145), *Eusebios, Nestavos, Zenon, and Nestor (martyrs of Gaza in Palestine, S01653), *Hilarion (anchorite in Palestine and Cyprus, ob. 371, S00099), *Markos (bishop and confessor of Arethousa in Syria, S01563), *Makedonios, Theodoulos, and Tatianos (martyrs of Meros in Phrygia, west central Asia Minor,S01566), *Bousiris the Encratite (confessor of Ancyra, central Asia Minor, S01567), the presbyter *Basileios of Ancyra (martyr, S01565), and *Eupsychios (martyr of Kaisareia in Cappadocia, central Asia Minor, S00470). Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

online resource
posted on 2017-10-04, 00:00 authored by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 5.7-11

5.7. Murder/martyrdom of Georgios of Cappadocia, Arian bishop of Alexandria, by the pagan mob.

5.8. Martyrdom of Theodoros, presbyter and treasurer of the church of Antioch. He dies under torture, while refusing to reveal the vessels of the church to the Comes Orientis Julian (the emperor's uncle) who wished to confiscate them.

5.9. Martyrdom of Eusebios, Nestavos, Zenon and Nestor in Gaza (E04060)

1-4. Under Julian, the ascetic Hilarion escapes martyrdom by fleeing from Gaza to Sicily and Cyprus, according to the ancient ruling that Christians should not expose themselves to martyrdom.
5-7. The Virgin Martyrs of Heliopolis-Baalbek. The angry mob of the pagan city strips a group of Christian virgin women of their clothes and exposes them naked. They torture and slaughter them, and feed their flesh to the swine.
8-14. Markos, bishop of Arethousa in Syria, is severely tortured for refusing to pay for a temple he had demolished under Constantine. The pagans respect him for his perseverance in the torments, and free him. He is praised even by the pagan provincial governor of the time.

1-3. The Phrygian men Makedonios, Theodoulos, and Tatianos from the town of Meros in Phrygia are arrested by the governor Amachios for destroying a recently reopened temple, and are martyred by being roasted alive on a grill.
4-6. Bousiris, a member of the Encratite sect in Ankyra, was tortured and kept in prison till it was announced that Julian had died. He lived until the times of Theodosius, later joining the Catholic Church.
7-11. The presbyter Basileios of Ankyra, and the noble layman Eupsychios of Caesarea/Kaisareia in Cappadocia also suffer martyrdom. The death of Eupsychios was related to the destruction of the temple of Tyche, which precipitated Julian’s wrath against the city.

(12) Καὶ τὰ μὲν ὧδε, εἰ καὶ παρὰ γνώμην τῷ βασιλεῖ ἀπέβη, οὐκ ἀγεννεῖς οὐδὲ ὀλίγους μάρτυρας καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς αὐτοῦ ἡγεμονίας ἀπέδειξε γεγενῆσθαι· σαφηνείας δὲ χάριν συναγαγὼν πάντας ὁμοῦ διεξῆλθον, εἰ καὶ διάφορος ἦν ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἑκάστου μαρτυρίας.

‘These events took place like this. Even though they occurred without the emperor’s approval, they caused martyrs to be produced during his reign, who were neither unimportant nor few. For the sake of clarity, I have related all their stories together, although the time of each one of these martyrdoms was different.’

Text: Bidez and Hansen 1995. Summary and translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hilarion, anachorite in Palestine and Cyprus (ob. 371) : S00099 Markos, bishop of Arethousa and confessor, ob. 4th c. : S01563 Virgin Martyrs of Heliopolis-Baalbek, ob. 361/3 : S01564 Eupsychios, martyr in Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia : S00470

Saint Name in Source

Ἰλαρίων Μᾶρκος Εὐψύχιος Βασίλειος Μακεδόνιος, Θεόδουλος, Τατιανός Βούσιρις Γεώργιος Εὐσέβιος, Νέσταβος, Ζήνων, Νέστωρ

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts


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.


As the final phrase suggests, Sozomen composed this chapter based on different sources recounting the suffering of various people under Julian the Apostate. Sozomen presents them together, so as to substantiate the accusation that a persecution of Christians took place under Julian, even if the emperor did not encourage it. The sources he uses are in most cases identifiable. Sozomen's sources about the martyrdom of Georgios include, as he states, Julian the Apostate's letter to the Alexandrians following the event, but also Socrates (3. 2-3). Sozomen adduces here the summary accounts of Theodoretos of Antioch and of the martyrs of Gaza (on which see E04060), in order to contrast Julian's seemingly impartial reaction to the murder of Georgios with his tolerance for crimes elsewhere. Sozomen is the first source mentioning these martyrs. A Greek martyrdom account has survived for Theodoretos (BHG 2425). Jerome’s Life of Hilarion furnishes the information for 5.10. 1-5. The stories of the Martyrs of Heliopolis-Baalbek and Markos of Arethousa are known from Gregory of Nazianzus’ Oration 4, Against Julian (86-91), which was written shortly after the events themselves. The events are also recounted by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Ecclesiastical History, who places the story of the Virgin Martyrs in Askalon and Gaza, rather than in Heliopolis-Baalbek (3.7.1), where he instead places the story of a deacon called Kyrillos (3.7.3). The story of the three Phrygian men (5.11.1-3) seems to rely entirely on Socrates (E04005), but Sozomen augments it with three further stories from central Anatolia, namely Bousiris, the Encratite confessor (4-6), and the martyrs Basileios of Ankyra and Eupsychios of Caesarea (7-11). It appears that these are based on some form of hagiographical sources, even though Sozomen provides no concrete information about Basileios and Eupsychios. With regard to the latter, the author expresses the hypothesis that the martyrdom was related to the destruction of the temple of Tyche, but this appears to be Sozomen’s personal opinion. It is less than certain that these two figures were indeed martyrs of the times of Julian. Eupsychios’s cult was very prominent during the episcopate of Basil of Caesarea in the 370s, who refers to his feast in his letters, without giving information about the martyr’s story.


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: Argov, E.I. "A Church Historian in Search of an Identity: Aspects of Early Byzantine Palestine in Sozomen’s Historia Ecclesiastica," Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity 9 (2006), 367-396. 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). Scorza Barcellona, F. “Martiri e confessori dell’etaÌ di Giuliano l’Apostata: dalla storia alla leggenda,” in F.E. Consolino (ed.), Pagani e cristiani da Giuliano l'Apostata al sacco di Roma. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi (Rende, 12/13 novembre 1993) (Soveria Mannelli, 1995), 53-83. Teitler, H.C. The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). 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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