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E04495: Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History mentions the existence of a church of *John (the Baptist, S00020) in Alexandria (Lower Egypt) in the late 5th century. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 593/594.

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posted on 2017-12-19, 00:00 authored by erizos
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 3.12

12. Ἐκ βουλῆς δὲ ἐνίων Ἰωάννης πρεσβύτερος οἰκονομεῖν τεταγμένος τὸν σεβάσμιον νεὼν τοῦ ἁγίου προδρόμου καὶ βαπτιστοῦ Ἰωάννου τὴν βασιλέως καταλαμβάνει …

‘12 At the instigation of certain people, the presbyter Ioannes who served as administrator of the venerable shrine of the holy Forerunner and Baptist John, travelled to the imperial capital …’

Text: Bidez, Parmentier 2011.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

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

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)


Evagrius was born in about 535 in the Syrian city of Epiphania. Educated at Antioch and Constantinople, he pursued a career as a lawyer at Antioch, serving as a legal advisor to Patriarch Gregory (570-592). He wrote the Ecclesiastical History in 593/4, with the express purpose of covering the period following the coverage of the mid 5th century ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. His narrative starts with Nestorius and the Council of Ephesus (431) and stops with the death of Evagrius’ patron, Gregory of Antioch, in 592. The work offers a balanced mixture of ecclesiastical and secular events in the East Roman Empire, being best informed about Antioch and Syria. Evagrius also published a dossier of original documents from the archive of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, which has not survived.


The shrine of John the Baptist in Alexandria, which is sporadically attested in various sources (e.g. E05275) may have hosted relics of the Baptist and the Prophet Elisha, which were rescued from the shrine of Sebaste in Palestine during an attack by pagans under Julian the Apostate (361-363) (see E04196).


Text and French translation: Bidez, J., and Parmentier, L., Evagre le Scholastique, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 542, 566; Paris, 2011, 2014), with commentary by L. Angliviel de la Beaumelle, and G. Sabbah, and French translation by A.-J.Festugière, B. Grillet, and G. Sabbah. Other translations: Whitby, M., The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). Hübner, A., Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). Carcione, F., Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica (Roma, 1998). Further Reading: Allen, P., Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). Treadgold, W., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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