University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E04234: The Miracles of *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) recounts the miraculous healing by the saint of a sailor afflicted with a disease of the testicles, who had spent time at his shrine seeking a cure; the saint appeared in a vision on the sailor's ship and cured him by treading on his testicles; the sailor returned to Constantinople to give thanks. Written in Greek in Constantinople, 582/668; assembled as a collection, 658/668.

online resource
posted on 2017-10-30, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Artemios (BHG 173), 14

Τὶς ναύτης τῷ αὐτῷ νοσήματι περιπεπτωκὼς προσεκαρτέρησεν τῷ ἁγίῳ ἡμέρας τριάκοντα· τῶν δὲ συνναυτῶν αὐτοῦ ἐπειγόντων αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλεῦσαι, ἀναχωρήσας τοῦ ναοῦ ἀπέπλευσεν· μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐξαβυδῆσαι αὐτούς, πλεόντων αὐτῶν φορῷ ἀνέμῳ, ὀφθαλμοφανῶς ἑώρων τινὰ χλαινηφόρον ἑστῶτα παρὰ τῷ κυβερνήτῃ ἐπιτάττοντα, καὶ ἐξεθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τῷ ξένῳ θεάματι, ὁρῶντες ἐν τοιούτῳ σχήματι ξένον αὐτοῖς συμπλέοντα. ἔτυχεν δὲ τῷ τηνικαῦτα τὸν νοσοῦντα πλησίον κατάκεισθαι τοῦ κυβερνήτου. ὡς οὖν ὁρμᾷ δῆθεν ὁ βλεπόμενος αὐτοῖς ξένος ἐπιλαβέσθαι τοῦ αὐχένος, ἅτε δὴ βοηθήσων τῷ κυβερνήτῃ, ἄγνοιαν προσποιησάμενος πατεῖ τὸν νοσοῦντα κατὰ τῶν διδύμων· ὁ δὲ φόβῳ συσχεθεὶς ἀνέκραξεν μέγα, ψηλαφήσας τε τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ διδύμους εὗρεν αὐτοὺς ὑγιεῖς, καὶ ἐκπλαγεὶς ἐπὶ τῷ γεγονότι ἔδειξεν ἑαυτὸν καὶ τοῖς ἑταίροις, οἳ καὶ τὸ θαῦμα ἰδόντες καὶ ἀφανῆ γεγονότα τὸν συμπλέοντα ξένον ἐπὶ πολλὰς τὰς ὥρας τὸ “Κύριε ἐλέησον” ἔκραξαν. ἀποκομισθέντων δὲ αὐτῶν, εὐθέως ὁ ἰαθεὶς τὰ πρὸς εὐχαριστίαν ἐπιτήδεια λαβὼν ἐπανῆλθεν ἐν τῇ πανευδαίμονι, ἔνθα ἐστὶν ἡ τοῦ ἁγίου σορός, εὐχαριστῶν τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ ἁγίῳ μάρτυρι·

'A certain sailor afflicted by the same disease waited upon the saint for 30 days. Since his shipmates urged him to set sail, he withdrew from the church and set sail. After they had passed beyond Abydos, while they were sailing with a favorable wind, they plainly saw someone wearing a cloak standing by the steersman giving orders and they were amazed at the strange sight, seeing a stranger in such a garb sailing with them. It happened that about this time the sick man was lying near the helmsman. Now the stranger they were staring at made as if to lay hold of the tiller so as to help the pilot, and pretending not to notice, he trod upon the sick man’s testicles. The man, gripped by fear, shouted loudly and touching his testicles found them healed, and, amazed at what had happened, he showed himself to his shipmates as well; these had witnessed both the miracle as well as the disappearance of the stranger who had been sailing with them, and they shouted for many hours: “Lord, have mercy.” While these [shipmates] returned home, the healed man posthaste took what was suitable for thanksgiving and returned to the divinely favoured [city], where the tomb of the saint is situated, and thanked God and the holy martyr.'

Text: Papadopoulos-Kerameus 1909. Translation: Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr in Antioch on the Orontes, ob. 362 : S01128

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • 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

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Specialised miracle-working Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


The Miracles of Artemios is a collection of 45 miracle-stories, effected by the saint at and around his burial and cult site in the church of St. John the Baptist in the Oxeia quarter of Constantinople. Artemios was an Alexandrian dux and martyr of the reign of Julian, who has an independent Martyrdom (E06781). The Miracles does not include this passio, although the stories on occasion show some acquaintance with it. Nothing is known of the cult before the period described in the Miracles. The Miracles’ vignettes stretch from (at least) the reign of Maurice (582-602) to that of Constans II (641-668). The current text was compiled in the period 658-668: the terminus post quem is provided by the last datable event mentioned within the text (Mir. 41: 4 October 658) and the terminus ante quem by the fact that Constans is there described as still alive (as he is too in Mir. 23). The text is not, however, the product of a single pen, but seems instead to be a compilation of several parts. Those narratives at the beginning and end of the collection (Mir. 1-14, 42-45) are short, somewhat unembellished, healing narratives of a more-or-less standardised kind; while those of the central section are far more elaborate and varied, and seem to fall into rough thematic doublets or groups. One such group is conspicuous because all of its miracles (24-31) conclude with some sermonettes on secular medicine. The most obvious explanation for this basic dissonance is that the collection as we have it has been composed from at least three different parts: first, an earlier, more simple collection which opens the text; second, an original composition in the central section (where the addition of the sermonettes to some miracles perhaps indicates the exploitation of another, pre-existent collection of miracles); and third, a final addition of the four concluding miracles. Besides pre-existent collections of written material preserved within the shrine itself, the text also draws, no doubt, on the oral traditions then circulating amongst the shrine’s clientele. The text itself describes in vivid terms the community of clerics and lay devotees who gathered around the shrine, in particular for its weekend vigil, and several such persons are the protagonists of individual miracles. One such person is an anonymous devotee of the saint’s vigil who features in two long and detailed miracles (Mir. 18, 22); another is George, a cleric and devotee of Artemios, who features as protagonist in three different miracles (Mir. 38-40). It seems clear, then, that the compiler draws from the oral accounts, or perhaps even written records, which the saint’s clerics and devotees produced, and which provide these central miracles with their vivid detail and insight. Indeed, although the compiler of the collection is anonymous, it is reasonable to suppose that he is also a lay devotee of the saint, and perhaps even one of those persons who feature prominently in the text. Through descriptions of this vigil, and other scattered details, we are offered an unparalleled perspective both on the layout of the church of St. John—which can be reconstructed in some detail—and on the practices of Artemios’s devotees. The saint’s cult was an incubatory healing cult, in which the sick came to the shrine and slept overnight, in the hope of a miraculous cure. The collection underlines the importance of performing ‘the customary rites’ in advance of a cure, which seems to mean the dedication of a votive lamp and other offerings. The weekly vigil is also presented as especially efficacious, for on this night it was possible to sleep in and around the crypt where the tomb which contained the saint’s relics was sited (see e.g. Mir. 17). Almost all of the cures occur within the church of St John itself, or else upon those who have spent some time there and then withdrawn. The principal mode of healing is a miraculous dream, sometimes in combination with the application of holy oil taken from the tomb’s lamps, or a wax-salve imprinted with the image of the saint. Almost all of the miracles concern healing, but also of a particular kind. For Artemios was a specialist in diseases of the male genitals and groin, which dominate the entire collection. Sick women at the shrine could expect a vision of the martyr *Phebronia, who appears in several places as Artemios’ female equivalent (Mir. 6, 23, 24, 38, 45). In contrast to equivalent collections, Artemios does not collaborate with secular doctors, or depend on quasi-Hippocratic cures. Indeed, one of the most striking features of the text is the series of sermonettes which punctuate the central miracles and denounce in virulent terms the inadequacies of contemporaneous Hippocratic medicine (Mir. 24-31). The text was compiled at a moment of high drama for the eastern Roman Empire, in which its territorial holdings, and revenues, had been dramatically reduced through the Arab conquests. This context is however strikingly absent from the collection, which instead paints a picture of vivid and thriving urban life, in particular amongst the capital’s middle classes, who make up the vast majority of the saint’s devotees. Nevertheless, it has been suggested the text offers a powerful political metaphor related to the perceived disease of the body politic: that the cure for all ailments, whether derived from sin or from natural causes, is not to turn to other men, but rather to propitiate and to trust in God.


This healing miracle, a short and to some extent standarised account, belongs to the first of the several sections that make up the collection of Artemios' miracles (Mir. 1-14; see Discussion).


Text: Papadopoulos-Kerameus, A., Miracula xlv sancti Artemii, in idem, Varia graeca sacra [Subsidia Byzantina 6] (St. Petersburg: Kirschbaum, 1909): 1-75. Translation: Crisafulli, V.S., and J.W. Nesbitt, The Miracles of St. Artemios. A Collection of Miracle Stories by an Anonymous Author of Seventh Century Byzantium (Leiden, New York, Köln: Brill, 1997). Further reading: Alwis, A., “Men in Pain: Masculinity, Medicine and the Miracles of St. Artemios,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 36. (2012), 1–19. Busine, A.,“The Dux and the Nun. Hagiography and the Cult of Artemios and Febronia in Constantinople,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 72 (2018), 93–111. Déroche, V., "Pourquoi écrivait-on des recueils de miracles? L’exemple des miracles de saint Artémios," in C. Jolivet-Lévy, M. Kaplan, J.-P. Sodini, (eds), Les saints et leur sanctuaire à Byzance: textes, images, monuments (Paris, 1993), 95-116. Deubner, L., De incubatione capita quattuor scripsit Ludovicus Deubner. Accedit Laudatio in miracula Sancti Hieromartyris Therapontis e codice Messanensi denuo edita. (Lipsiae: Teubner, 1900). Efthymiadis, S., "A Day and Ten Months in the Life of a Lonely Bachelor: The Other Byzantium in Miracula S. Artemii 18 and 22," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 58 (2004), 1-26. Grosdidier de Matons, J., “Les Miracula Sancti Artemii: Note sur quelques questions de vocabulaire,” in E. Lucchesi and H.D. Saffrey (eds), Mémorial André-Jean Festugière: Antiquité, Paienne et Chrétienne (Geneva: Cramer, 1984), 263-266. Haldon, J., "Supplementary Essay: The Miracles of Artemios and Contemporary Attitudes: Context and Significance," in Crisafulli and Nesbitt, Miracles of Artemios 33-75. Kaplan, M., “Une hôtesse importante de l’église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de l’Oxeia à Constantinople : Fébronie," in D. Sullivan, E.A. Fisher, S. Papaioannou (eds), Byzantine Religious Culture: Studies in Honor of Alice-Mary Talbot (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 31–52. Krueger, D., Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East (Phildelphia, PA, 2004), 63-70. Mango, C., “History of the Templon and the Martyrion of St. Artemios at Constantinople,” Zograf 10 (1979), 40–43. Rydén, L., "Kyrkan som sjukhus: om den helige Artemios' mirakler," Religion och Bibel 44 (1987), 3-16. Simon, J., “Note sur l’original de la passion de Sainte Fébronie,” Analecta Bollandiana 42 (1924), 69–76.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager