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E04193: Philostorgius in his Ecclesiastical History recounts the martyrdom of *Loukianos of Antioch (theologian and martyr of Nicomedia, S00151), and reports that the city of Helenopolis was founded in honour of his burial site by Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great (if so, in 324/330). Written in Greek at Constantinople, 425/433.

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posted on 2017-10-20, 00:00 authored by erizos
Philostorgius, Ecclestical History, 2.12-14


12. Constantine’s mother, Helena, builds the city of Helenopolis at the mouth of the gulf of Nicomedia, because the martyr Loukianos was brought there by a dolphin, after his death as a martyr.

13. Shortly before his death, Loukianos celebrated the Eucharist for himself and his companions, using his own chest as an altar.

14. Philostorgius mentions several of Loukianos’ disciples, namely Eusebius of Nicomedia, Maris of Chalcedon, Theognis of Nicaea, Leontius of Antioch, Antonius of Tarsus, Menophantus, Noominius, Eudoxius, Alexander, and Asterius of Cappadocia. During the persecution, the last two apostatised, but their master encouraged them to repent.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Loukianos, martyr of Nicomedia : S00151

Saint Name in Source


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

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miracle with animals and plants

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Monarchs and their family Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Philostorgius was born in Borissus of Cappadocia in c. 368, and lived from the age of twenty in Constantinople, where he became a follower of the Anomaean theologian Eunomius. His twelve-volume Ecclesiastical History, now largely lost, appeared between 425 and 433. In 402/3 a continuation of the Church History of Eusebius of Caesarea had been produced in Latin by Rufinus of Aquileia, who recounted the period from the Council of Nicaea to the death of Theodosius I in 395. Rufinus presented Nicene Christianity as the Orthodox faith which was oppressed by the Arian emperors and restored by Theodosius I (379-395). Philostorgius offered a radically different, pro-Arian, reading of the 4th century theological disputes, portraying Nicene heroes like Athanasius of Alexandria and Basil of Caesarea in a negative manner. His work may have triggered the mid 5th century boom in Greek ecclesiastical historiography, represented by the Nicene ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Philostorgius’ original text is only known from a summary in the 9th century Bibliotheca of Photius, and from fragments in a later version of the Greek Martyrdom of Artemios (E06781). A partial reconstruction of Philostorgius’ Ecclesiastical History, based on Photius and the fragments, has been produced by Joseph Bidez and Friedhelm Winkelmann. Winkelmann’s text is available in English translation by Philip R. Amidon. Philostorgius is also the author of the Martyrdom of *Loukianos of Antioch (E00).


This is the earliest attestation of the information that the Bithynian port-town of Helenopolis was founded under Constantine on the burial site of Loukianos/Lucian of Antioch (Amidon 2007, 30-31). Philostorgius’ reverence for Loukianos, otherwise also demonstrated by the fact that he is the author of the saint’s extant martyrdom account, is a major testimony to this martyr’s special importance for the broader Arian community. Philostorgius, belonging to the Eunomian Arian church, seeks to present several major theologians of the Arian party as disciples and followers of Loukianos. The martyr was indeed one of the most important Christian theologians of the third and early fourth centuries. His theology included the doctrine of subordinationism (the belief that the Son is inferior to the Father), which was understood as anticipating the doctrines of Arius. He was therefore revered by the Arians not only as a major martyr, but also as a Father of the church and teacher of orthodoxy. Regardless of his doctrinal position, Loukianos was also honoured by the Nicene party, since he had died a martyr while being in communion with the Church. However, judging from a sermon of John Chrysostom about him, it appears that the Nicene side strove to underplay his inconvenient theological views (E02260).


Text: Bidez, J., and Winkelmann, F., Philostorgius, Kirchengeschichte; mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochien und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen. 3rd. ed. (Griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 21; Berlin, 1981). Translations and commentaries: Amidon, P.R., Philostorgius, Church History (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007). Bidez, J., et al., Philostorge, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources chrétiennes 564; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2013). Further reading: Mango, C., "The Empress Helena, Helenopolis, Pylae," Travaux et Mémoires 12 (1994), 143–158. Marasco, G., Filostorgio: cultura, fede e politica in uno storico ecclesiastico del V secolo (Studia ephemeridis "Augustinianum" 92; Rome: Institutum patristicum Augustinianum, 2005). Treadgold, W.T., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 126-134.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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