University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E04153: Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Ecclesiastical History recounts the persecutions of Julian the Apostate (r. 361-363), mentioning the *Martyrs of Askalon in Palstine (S01853), *Kyrillos (deacon and martyr of Heliopolis-Baalbek in Syria, S01851), *Aimilianos (martyr of Durostorum on the Lower Danube, S01589), *Ioventinos and Maximinos (soldiers and martyrs of Syrian Antioch, S00053), *Artemios (dux of Egypt and martyr in Antioch, S01128), and the confessor *Markos (bishop of Arethousa in Syria, S01563). Written in Greek at Cyrrhus (northern Syria), 444/450.

online resource
posted on 2017-10-13, 00:00 authored by erizos
Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Ecclesiastical History, 3.7, 3.11, 3.15, 3.18, 3.19.

3.7.1. At Askalon and Gaza [Palestine], Christian clerics and consecrated virgins are slaughtered and fed to the swine.

3.7.2. The desecration of the head of John the Baptist in Sebaste of Palestine.

3.7.2-4. The deacon Kyrillos, who had destroyed many idols at Heliopolis-Baalbek in Lebanon, is slaughtered. Some pagans, who eat of his liver, lose their teeth or tongues.

3.7.5. Aimilianos is burned alive at Durostorum [lower Danube], by Kapetolinos, vicar of Thrace.

3.7.6-10. Markos of Arethousa [Syria].

3.11 The confessor Theodoros in Antioch.

3.15 Ioventinos and Maximinos.
Under Julian, the Christians of Antioch are distressed, because both the waters and the food products of the market were subject to the pagan purification rites, and were therefore regarded as defiled. During a drinking party, two Christian soldiers of the emperor’s guard are overheard complaining about the emperor’s impiety, which is reported to Julian. He summons and interrogates them. They report that they have been brought up as Christians under Constantine and his sons, and that they now cannot stand the ubiquity of pagan sacrifices. Julian has them tortured and killed, accusing them of drunkenness and insubordination. The Antiochenes bury them in a splendid sarcophagus and celebrate their memory.

3.15.8-9. ... ταῦτα δὲ θρυλεῖσθαι προσέταξε, φθονῶν τοῖς τῆς ἀληθείας ἀθληταῖς τῆς τῶν μαρτύρων προσηγορίας τε καὶ τιμῆς. τούτων ὁ μὲν Ἰοβεντῖνος, ὁ δὲ Μαξιμῖνος προσηγορεύετο. τούτους ἡ Ἀντιόχου πόλις ὡς ἀγωνιστὰς εὐσεβείας τιμήσασα πολυτελεῖ παραδέδωκε θήκῃ, καὶ μέχρι δὲ τήμερον ἐτησίῳ δημοθοινίᾳ γεραίρονται.

‘... He ordered that this excuse be spread, because he grudged the champions of truth the title and honour of martyrs. One of them was called Ioventinos and the other Maximinos. The city of Antioch honoured them as defenders of the true religion, and deposited them in a magnificent tomb, and up to this day they are honoured by a yearly festival.’

3.18. Martyrdom of Artemios, dux of Egypt. He destroyed several idols under Constantius II, and Julian had him dispossessed and beheaded.

3.19. The story of the female confessor Pouplia in Antioch.

Text: Hansen 1997.
Summary and Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr in Antioch on the Orontes, ob. 362 : S01128 Markos, bishop of Arethousa and confessor, ob. 4th c. : S01563 Iuventinus and Maximinus, soldiers and martyrs of Antioch under Julian, AD 361/363 : S00053 Aimilianos, soldier and martyr

Saint Name in Source

Ἀρτέμιος Μάρκος Ἰοβεντῖνος, Μαξιμῖνος Αἰμιλιανός Κύριλλος

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

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus/Hagioupolis Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Theodoret of Cyrrhus

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - sarcophagus/coffin

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Theodoret was born in Antioch in c. 393, where he received a formidable education before joining the monastery of Nikerte near Apamea in 416. In 423, he was consecrated as bishop of Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus. During the theological debates of the time, he emerged as one of the chief exponents of Antiochene Christology. The Second Council of Ephesus (449) deposed him as a supporter of Nestorius, of whom he was indeed a friend. He was restored to his bishopric by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. He is thought to have died in c. 460. His Ecclesiastical History was probably written between 444 and 450. It is uncertain whether the author consulted the slightly earlier ecclesiastical histories of Philostorgius, Socrates and Sozomen. He covers roughly the same period as they do, namely the history of the church from 324 to 429.


Theodoret’s account of the persecution of Julian differs remarkably from those of the Constantinopolitan church histories of Socrates and Sozomen, demonstrating his independence from them. Theodoret seems to rely mainly on sources from Antioch and Palestine, especially an anonymous Arian chronicle of the 4th century, sections of which are reproduced in the Paschal Chronicle. This is probably his source for the Martyrs of Askalon and Gaza, Kyrillos of Heliopolis-Baalbek, Aimilianos of Durostorum, and Artemios, the dux of Egypt. With regard to the Martyrs of Askalon, it is remarkable that Theodoret follows this rather than the version recounted by Gregory of Nazianzus who places the event at Heliopolis-Baalbek (Oration 4, Against Julian, 86-91, followed by Sozomen, 5.10.5-7). The story of the desecration of the head of John the Baptist in Sebaste of Palestine is also known from Rufinus (Eccl. Hist. 2.28). Theodoret’s relatively lengthy account of Ioventinos and Maximinos is of major importance, since it allows the safe identification of these saints with the subject of a sermon by John Chrysostom (see E00069). The reference of the Antiochene Theodoret to the splendid sarcophagus of the saints and to their yearly festival is suggestive of the popularity of their veneration down to his times.


Text: Hansen, G.C., Theodoret Kirchengeschichte (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 5; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1997). Translations: Blomfield, J., "The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret," in: A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church 3 (Oxford and New York, 1892), 33-159. Gallico, A., Teodoreto di Cirro, Storia ecclesiastica. Introduzione, traduzione e note (Roma: Città nuova, 2000). Martin, A., et al., Theodoret de Cyr. Histoire Ecclesiastique (Sources Chretiennes 501, 530; Pars: Editions du Cerf, 2006, 2009). Walford, E., "A History of the Church in Five Books, from A.D. 322 to the Death of Theodore of Mopsuestia A.D. 427, by Theodoretus, Bishop of Cyrus," in: The Greek Ecclesiastical Historians of the First Six Centuries of the Christian Era (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1843). Further reading: 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). Treadgold, W.T., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 155-164. Martyrs under Julian: 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., “Ammianus, Libanius, Chrysostomus, and the Martyrs of Antioch,” Vigiliae Christianae 67 (2013), 263-88. Teitler, H.C., The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager