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E04271: The Miracles of *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) recounts the miraculous healing from a disease of the testicles of a woman’s son, when *Phebronia (S01588) appeared to her in a dream and gave her three jujube berries to eat. When the woman woke up, she found her baby healthy. She gave thanks to Artemios, Phebronia and *John (the Forerunner and the Baptist, S00020). 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), 45

Ἑτέρα πάλιν γυνή τις ἔτεκεν τέκνον ἄρρεν, ὅπερ γεννηθὲν ηὑρέθη ἔχον τὸν δεξιὸν δίδυμον ἐξωγκωμένον· ὀδυνωμένου τε καὶ θρήνοις συγκοπτομένου, ἡ μήτηρ τοῖς μητρικοῖς σπλάγχνοις ἔπασχεν ὀδυνωμένη. πληρωσάσης οὖν αὐτῆς τῶν λοχίων τὰς τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας, τινῶν πεῖραν ἐχόντων τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ἀρτεμίου καὶ τῶν αὐτοῦ θαυμάτων, συνεβούλευσαν αὐτῇ προσεδρεῦσαι τῇ σορῷ τοῦ ἁγίου. καὶ δὴ λαβοῦσα τὸ βρέφος ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ ναῷ τοῦ Προδρόμου καὶ ποιήσασα τὰ ἐν ἔθει γινόμενα ἔμενεν προσκαρτεροῦσα· καὶ μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας ὁρᾷ ἡ μήτηρ γυναῖκά τινα εὐοπτοτάτην μοναχικὴν στολὴν ἐστολισμένην· ὁ γὰρ μάρτυς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἔστιν ὅτε, γυναικῶν προκειμένων, τὴν ἁγίαν
Φεβρωνίαν ἐπιτρέπει ὑπουργῆσαι τὴν θαυματουργίαν. ὁρᾷ ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ καταβαροῦς βρέφους τινὰ γυναῖκα ἐπιδιδοῦσαν αὐτῇ τρία ζίνζυφα, ἅτινα δεξαμένη ἔφαγεν τὰ δύο καὶ ἔμεινεν τὸ ἓν κρατοῦσα ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὑτῆς. καὶ ἅμα ἔφαγεν τὰ δύο ζίνζυφα, διυπνίσθη. ἔτυχεν δὲ τὸ βρέφος ἐπιζητῆσαι μαστόν, καὶ ἐν τῷ θηλάζειν αὐτὴν τὸ νήπιον ἀνεμνήσθη τοῦ ὀνείρου καὶ τῶν ἐπιδοθέντων αὐτῇ ζινζύφων· θεωρεῖ καὶ τὸ ἕτερον ἕν, ὅτι ἦν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτῆς. ἕως οὖν τὸ βρέφος ἦν ἐν τῷ μαστῷ αὐτῆς, ψηλαφᾷ τῇ χειρὶ τοὺς διδύμους αὐτοῦ καὶ ηὗρεν αὐτὸ σῶον καὶ ὑγιὲς καὶ ἠρεμοῦν καὶ ἐν ἰδιώματι ὄντας τοὺς διδύμους αὐτοῦ. καὶ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπιφθασάσης, πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ τοῖς πρὸς τὸ ἰαθῆναι παραμένουσιν ἔδειξεν τὸ ἓν ζίνζυφον, ὅπερ αὐτῇ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ ἅγιος θαυματουργὸς Ἀρτέμιος διὰ τῆς ἁγίας καλλινίκου μάρτυρος Φεβρωνίας. λαβοῦσα οὖν τὸ βρέφος κατῆλθεν ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ σορῷ τῶν ἁγίων λειψάνων καὶ ἔρριψεν ἑαυτὴν ἁπλωτὴν σὺν τῷ τέκνῳ εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος, εὐχαριστοῦσα τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ Προδρόμῳ καὶ τῷ ἁγίῳ μάρτυρι καὶ τῇ ἁγίᾳ Φεβρωνίᾳ.

'Again a certain other woman bore a male child who after birth was discovered to have his right testicle swollen; and since he was in pain and racked by cries of sorrow, the mother also experienced pain in her maternal emotions. So after she completed the forty days of lying in after childbirth, because some men had experience of the holy martyr Artemios and his miracles, they advised her to sit beside the saint's tomb (soron). And so she took the infant and went to the church of the Forerunner and performed the customary rites and waited in attendance; and after two days the mother saw a most beautiful woman dressed in monastic garb; for these are times when Christ’s martyr relies upon St. Febronia to assist in the miracle-working when women are in question. The mother of the herniated infant saw a certain woman dispensing three jujube berries to her of which, after receiving them, she ate two and kept holding one in her hand. And as soon as she ate the two jujube berries, she woke up. And it happened that the infant wanted to nurse and while she was suckling, she recalled the dream and the jujube berries that had been handed to her; and she noticed the other one because it was in her hand. So, as long as the infant was at her breast, with her hand she was touching his testicles and found [her baby] hale and healthy and calm, with his testicles in their normal condition. And when day arrived, to all those in the church and to those waiting for the cure, she showed the one jujube berry, which the holy wonderworker Artemios sent her in the dream through the holy, victorious martyress Febronia. Then taking the infant, she went down to the holy coffin of holy relics and cast herself on the floor with the child, thanking God and the Forerunner and the holy martyr and St. Febronia.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr of Antioch under the emperor Julian : S01128 Phebronia, martyr of Nisibis : S01588 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Ἀρτέμιος Φεβρωνίᾳ Πρόδρομος

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

Women Children


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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