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E04680: The presbyter Chrysippus of Jerusalem composes an Encomium on *John (the Baptist, S00020), which he delivers during a festival dedicated to the veneration of his head, which is said to have been discovered at Emesa (Syria). Written in Greek, probably in Jerusalem, 455/479.

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posted on 2018-01-25, 00:00 authored by erizos
Chrysippus, presbyter of Jerusalem, Encomium On John the Baptist (CPG 6708, BHG 0851)


1-5: The birth and childhood of John.

6-10: The Baptism of Christ.

11-14: John's beheading.

15: John’s head was buried by Herodias in a garden, separated from his body. The head was later transferred by a man to Emesa and was revealed after several miracles.

16: John lived thirty-two and a half years, and died at Sebaste. The veneration of his head is celebrated during Lent, because John is the greatest model of fasting and pure living.

Summary: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Jerusalem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Chrysippus of Jerusalem

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous behaviour of relics/images

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - head


Chrysippus (c. 405-479) was born in Cappadocia and grew up in Syria. Together with his brothers, Kosmas and Gabrielios, he came to Palestine and joined the ascetic community (laura) of *Euthymios. At the instigation of the empress Aelia Eudocia, then living in Jerusalem, the three brothers were ordained priests in 456. Chrysippus and Kosmas joined the clergy of the Anastasis, whereas Gabrielios was appointed abbot of the shrine of Stephen the First Martyr. In 467, Chrysippus became staurophylax (Keeper of the True Cross), succeeding in this office his elder brother, Kosmas, who was ordained bishop of Scythopolis. Chrysippus died in 479. Our source about his life, Cyril of Scythopolis' Life of Euthymios, reports that Chrysippus excelled as an author. From his work, only four homilies are known. This homily is preserved in 31 Manuscripts of the 10th to 17th centuries, on which see:


The relatively rich manuscript tradition of this text suggests that it was popular and widely used in the Byzantine monastic tradition. This explains its numerous variations and interpolations which, according to the editor, took their extant form by the 9th century. The last two paragraphs, which refer to the festival of the discovery of the head of John, are likely to be later interpolations. The editor believes that the references in § 15 to the discovery of the head at Emesa belong to the original text. The contents of the text refer generically to all aspects of the life of John, and it is not possible to deduce from them when the text was written and for which feast. The author frequently refers to John as a model of ascetic life, of special relevance for his audience, suggesting that the sermon was preached in a monastic context. The discovery of John’s head is dated by Marcellinus Comes to 453, i.e. three years before Chrysippus’ ordination (E03602). This sermon may originate from one of the earliest celebrations of the anniversary of the discovery of the head.


Text: Sigalas, A. Des Chrysippos von Jerusalem Enkomion auf den hl. Johannes den Täufer. Untersuchungen und Ergänzungen zu den Schriften des Chrysippos (Texte und Forschungen zur Byzantinisch-Neugriechischen Philologie 20; Athens: Verlag der "Byzantinisch-neugriechischen Jahrbücher", 1937). On Chrysippus: Di Berardino, A., Patrology: The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (+750). English translation A. Walford (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 2006), 251-252.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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