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E04270: The Miracles of *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) recounts the miraculous healing by the saint of a coppersmith George from a disease of the testicles. The saint appeared to the man in a dream in the guise of a physician and cured him by tying one testicle up with a surgeon's cord and seemingly amputating it. Written in Greek in Constantinople, 582/668; assembled as a collection, 658/668.

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posted on 2017-10-30, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Artemios (BHG 173), 44

<Τ>ὶς χαλκοτύπος ὀνόματι Γεώργιος, ὡς ἐτῶν τριάκοντα, ἠσθένησεν τὸν δεξιὸν αὐτοῦ δίδυμον, ἔχων αὐτὸν ἐξωγκωμένον, καὶ ταῖς ὀδύναις συνείχετο, ὀδυρμοῖς καὶ στεναγμοῖς καὶ θρήνοις συγκοπτόμενος, ἀνακείμενος εἰς τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον μένων καὶ μονώτατος. τινὲς οὖν συνῄνουν αὐτῷ δοῦναι ἑαυτὸν ἰατρῷ, ἐπὶ τῷ ἀποτεμεῖν ὃν ἠσθένει δίδυμον· ὁ δὲ ἐκ μόνης τῆς ἀκοῆς ναρκήσας ἀνέκραζεν· “Οὐαί μοι, ἐπὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν με προτρέπεσθε· ἱκανοὶ γὰρ ἠστόχησαν δόντες ἑαυτοὺς ἐπὶ τὸ κηλοτομεῖσθαι”. ἄλλοι πάλιν πεῖραν ἔχοντες τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀρτεμίου συμβουλεύουσιν
αὐτῷ ἀπελθεῖν καὶ προσπαραμεῖναι τῇ ἁγίᾳ αὐτοῦ σορῷ, ἀφηγησάμενοι αὐτῷ καὶ περὶ τῶν αὐτοῦ θαυμάτων· ὁ δὲ πίστει καὶ ἐλπίδι ῥωσθεὶς ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ πολλάκις εἰρημένῳ τοῦ Προδρόμου ναῷ, συνεχόμενος τοῖς πόνοις. ποιεῖ τὰ ἐν ἔθει γινόμενα τῷ τόπῳ, καὶ τῇ δευτέρᾳ ἡμέρᾳ καλέσας τὸν προσμονάριον λέγει αὐτῷ· “Καὶ ταῖς ὀδύναις συγκόπτομαι καὶ τὴν φροντίδα ἔχων τοῦ ὁσπιτίου μου τιμωροῦμαι, μήπως σῦλα ὑπομείνω, καὶ βουλῆς εἰμι ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου· σιαίνω γὰρ καὶ τοὺς ἐνταῦθα κατακειμένους, μὴ ἠρεμῶν ἐκ τῶν συνεχόντων με πόνων”. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ προσμονάριος· “Ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ, μὴ ἀπογνῷς τῆς ἑαυτοῦ σωτηρίας, ἀλλ’ εἰς τὸν θεὸν καὶ τὸν ἅγιον Ἀρτέμιον ἔχε τὸν νοῦν σου καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπισκέπτεταί σε· ἱκανοὺς γὰρ παραμείναντας ἐπὶ καιροὺς καὶ ἀπράκτους ἀναχωρήσαντας εἰς τοὺς οἴκους αὑτῶν, ἐκεῖ αὐτοὺς ἐπεσκέψατο, καὶ ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ καὶ ἐν Ἀφρικῇ καὶ ἐν Ῥόδῳ”. καὶ διηγήσατο αὐτῷ, ὅσα κατέλαβεν εἰπεῖν, ὧν πεῖραν ἔσχεν. τούτοις πεισθεὶς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὑτοῦ, καὶ τῇ νυκτὶ ἐκείνῃ φαίνεται αὐτῷ ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ θεράπων Ἀρτέμιος ἐν σχήματι ἰατροῦ, ὃν ὑπελάμβανεν εἶναι κηλοτόμον ἐπιφερόμενον ἐργαλεῖον ἰατρικὸν καὶ σφήκωμα· καὶ ἐν τῷ ὕπνῳ αὑτοῦ ἐθεώρει, ὅτι ἐδέσμει τῷ σφηκώματι τὸν βαστακτῆρα τοῦ ἀριστεροῦ διδύμου καὶ
οὐχὶ τοῦ δεξιοῦ. λέγει οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ ἐν σχήματι ἰατροῦ φανεὶς αὐτῷ· “Κράτει τὴν μίαν ἀρχὴν τοῦ σφηκώματος”. ὁ δὲ ἐπελάβετο καὶ ἐκράτει τὸ σφήκωμα. λέγει αὐτῷ· “Τὸν δεξιὸν δίδυμον πονῶ, δέσποτα, καὶ τὸν ἀριστερόν μου δεσμεῖς”. ὁ δὲ ὁρώμενος αὐτῷ ἰατρὸς λέγει τῷ ἀσθενοῦντι· “Σῦρον τὴν μίαν ἀρχήν”. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ἀσθενῶν· “Οὐαί μοι, ἀπολινῶσαί με ἔχεις καὶ ἐπὶ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας οὐκ ἔνι λῦσαι τὴν ἀπολίνωσιν, ὡς μανθάνω, καὶ ὃ ἔφυγον δειλιῶν, εἰς αὐτὸ πάλιν”. ὁ φαινόμενος ἰατρός· “Σῦρον μόνον”. καὶ ὡς ἔσυρεν ὁ νοσῶν τὴν μίαν ἀρχήν, κρατῶν ὁ ἅγιος Ἀρτέμιος τὴν μίαν ἀρχὴν ἔσυρεν καὶ ἔδοξεν ἀποτεμεῖν τὸν δίδυμον αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πόνου διυπνίσθη ἀγωνιῶν· καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀνακρίνων τὸν ὄνειρον ῥίπτει τὴν χεῖρα αὑτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς δύο αὑτοῦ διδύμους, καὶ ψηλαφήσας αὐτοὺς εὗρεν ἑαυτὸν ὡς ἐκ γενετῆς ὑγιῆ καὶ τὸ σφήκωμα δεδεμένον ἐν ἀληθείᾳ εἰς τὸν ἀριστερὸν αὑτοῦ δίδυμον. καὶ ἐλθὼν ἕωθεν ηὐχαρίστησεν τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ ἁγίῳ αὐτοῦ μεγαλομάρτυρι καὶ θαυματουργῷ Ἀρτεμίῳ.

'A certain coppersmith named George about 30 years old was afflicted in his right testicle (it was swollen) and he was gripped by pain, beset by complaints, groans and cries of anguish, as he lay in his own house and remained all alone. Now some men advised him to entrust himself to a doctor to amputate the testicle in which he was diseased; just from hearing [the suggestion] he stiffened and cried out: "Oh my, you are urging me to my death; for many men have been unsuccessful when they entrusted themselves to the hernia operation." Again, other man who had experience of St. Artemios counselled him to go and wait by his holy tomb (soros) after having reported him about his miracles; strengthened by faith and hope, he went to the frequently mentioned church of the Forerunner, gripped by pain. He did what was customarily done in that place and on the second day he summoned the warden and said to him: "I am racked by pain and am tormented with concern for my lodging lest I somehow suffer burglary, and I am of a mind to leave and go home. For I am also disturbing the men lying here by not keeping quiet because of the pains that grip me." The warden replied to him, ‘If you leave, do not despair of your restoration to health, but turn your mind on God and St. Artemios and he will visit you; for many who waited for a time and [then] departed for their homes with no results, these he has visited there both in Alexandria and in Africa and in Rhodes." And he recounted to him whatever he was able of the things he had experienced. Persuaded by these words, he departed for home and that night Christ's holy servant Artemios appeared to him in the guise of a physician whom he understood to be a man who did hernia operations bringing along a medical instrument and a cord. And in his sleep he saw that [the doctor] was binding the ligament of the left testicle and not of the right with the cord. Now the one who appeared to him in the guise of the physician said to him: "Take hold one end of the cord." He took and held onto the cord. He said to him: "Sir, I suffer in the right testicle, but you are tying my left one." The doctor who appeared to him said to the sick man: "Pull one end [of the cord]." The sick man said to him: "Oh me, you will tie me up with a surgeon's thread and for seven days it is not possible to undo the suture, as I hear, and what I avoided out of fear, I have come back to." The one who appeared as the physician said: "Just pull [the cord]." And as the patient pulled one end, St. Artemios held onto the other end and pulled and he seemed to amputate his testicle and he woke up in agony from the pain. And coming to his senses and analysing the dream, he cast his hand upon both his testicles and touching them he found himself healed just as from birth - and the cord actually tied to his left testicle. And in the morning he went and gave thanks to God and to His holy megalomartyr and miracle worker Artemios.'

Text: Papadopoulos-Kerameus 1909; translation: Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr of Antioch under the emperor Julian : 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

Merchants and artisans Foreigners (including Barbarians)


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 last of the several sections that make up the collection of Artemios' miracles (Mir. 42-45); it displays affinity with the first section (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.

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