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E04538: In his Church History, Rufinus of Aquileia, writing in Latin c. 402 in Aquileia (North Italy), describes Edessa as the city adorned with the relics of *Thomas the Apostle (S00199).

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posted on 2017-12-30, 00:00 authored by robert
Rufinus of Aquileia, Church History 11.5

Edessa namque Mesopotamiae urbs fidelium populorum est Thomae apostoli reliquiis decorata.

'For Edessa in Mesopotamia, which is adorned with the relics of the apostle Thomas, is a city of the faithful.'

There follows a story of how persecution in Edessa was ordered by the Emperor Julian, but was not carried out by the prefect who wanted to avoid slaughter.

Text: Mommsen 1908, 1008. Translation: Amidon 1997, 67. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thomas, the Apostle : S00199

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Aquileia Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Rufinus of Aquileia

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified


In 402-403, some time after his return to Italy from Palestine, Tyrannius Rufinus, or Rufinus of Aquileia, translated the Church History of Eusebius into Latin. He added a few passages in books 1-9 and wrote two entirely new books (10-11), which continued Eusebius' narrative down to AD 395. He described mostly contemporary events and his sources are difficult to identify.


Edition: Mommsen, Th., Eusebius Werke II/2. Historia ecclesiastica (Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller 9.2; Berlin, 1908), 957-1040. Translation: Amidon, P.R., The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia: Books 10 and 11 (Oxford, 1997). Further reading: Thelamon, F., Païens et Chrétiens au IVe siècle. L'apport de l'«Histoire ecclésiastique» de Rufin d'Aquilée (Paris, 1981).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity