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E04742: The Greek Martyrdom of *Aimilianos (martyr of Durostorum under Julian, S01589) recounts the martyrdom of a man who destroyed idols at the city of Durostorum (Lower Danube) under Julian the Apostate (r. 361-363), and mentions the saint’s burial site near Durostorum. Written at Durostorum or Constantinople, at an uncertain date in Late Antiquity.

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posted on 2018-01-29, 00:00 authored by erizos
Martyrdom of Aimilianos of Durostorum (BHG 33)

Summary (based on Passio 1, BHG 33):

Under Julian, a certain Kapetoulinos (Capitolinus) is prefect at the city of Durostorum in Moesia. He demands that every Christian of the town be reported to him, and the guards reports that everyone in the town is pagan. He has dinner with the leading men of the town. Aimilianos enters a temple and destroys all the statues, altars and offerings with a hammer.

A servant reports the destruction to Kapetoulinos, and servants go out to arrest the culprit. They find a yeoman whom they beat and take to the praetorium, but Aimilianos reveals himself to them. He is arrested by the soldiers Varianos and Maxentios and brought to the praetorium on 16 July.

Kapetoulinos interrogates Aimilianos and he confesses to being a Christian. Kapetoulinos has him beaten, and then asks him if he is a free man or slave. The martyr reports that he is the son of Sabbatianos, the prefect of the city. Kapetoulinos condemns him to be burned alive, and orders that his father pay one pound of silver to the fisc.
Aimilianos is taken to be burned outside the city by the bank of the Danube. The fire spares his body, which is preserved intact, but it burns his executioners.

The wife of Kapetoulinos, being a Christian, requests the body of the martyr and buries it at a place called Gedina, three miles away from Durostorum. His body is covered with precious perfume and buried in a coffin.
Aimilianos was martyred on 3 September.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Aimilianos, soldier and martyr of Durostorum, ob. 362 : S01589

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Balkans including Greece Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Durostorum Constantinople

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

Durostorum Drizypera Δριζύπερα Drizypera Büyük Karıştıran Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Punishing miracle Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Miraculous protection - of people and their property

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Pagans Soldiers Torturers/Executioners Officials

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The manuscript tradition of the three versions of our text is as follows. Passio 1 (BHG 33), 6 manuscripts (9th-17th c.): Passio 2 (BHG 33a), 2 manuscripts (9th-10th c.): Passio 3 (BHG 33b), 2 manuscripts (10th-11th c.):


This text recounts the story of a martyr from the town of Durostorum in Moesia Inferior (mod. Silistra, Bulgaria). It is preserved in three recensions, the earliest of which is the pre-metaphrastic Passio 1 (BHG 33). A rare survivor of the hagiography of the Lower Danube, the Martyrdom of Aimilianos may owe its importance to the fact that the saint had a shrine in Constantinople (at the quarter of Rhabdos, according to the Constantinopolitan Synaxarion). The text seems to be based on early material, and parts of the dialogues may preserve fragments of trial acts. The text displays familiarity with the city of Durostorum (mentioned by its Byzantine Greek form 'Dorostolon') and its environs, and mentions the local military regiment (the Legio XI Claudia, whose name is echoed in the phrase ἐν δεκάτῃ χώρᾳ τοῦ Κλαυδίου) and the village where the martyr was buried (Gedina/Gezidina/Gizidina). A recently discovered early Roman inscription from Silistra confirms the existence of a village (vicus) called Gavidina. The site has been identified as the ancient settlement and necropolis of Ostrov near Silistra (Atanasov 2011). Aimilianos’ martyrdom is recorded by Jerome (Chronicle, a. 363), the Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret of Cyrrhus (E04153) and the Paschal Chronicle (appendix in a. 363). The latter two texts seem to rely on an anonymous Arian chronicle of the 4th century, which was apparently aware of a version of Aimilianos’ martyrdom account. These sources mention Aimilianos as a former soldier and Capitolinus as a vicarius rather than praefectus. The saint’s story seems to have been known to Ambrose of Milan (Letter 90, PL 16, p. 1107). Our text mentions two dates, 18 July as the date of the saint’s arrest, and 3 September as the day of his death. The former is evidently the earliest feast of the saint, since it is also recorded by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum and the Synaxarion of Constantinople. The 3 September feast is the only date preserved in the probably metaphrastic third version of our text (BHG 33b).


Text: BHG 33: Acta Sanctorum, Iuli IV (1725), 373-376. BHG 33b: Halkin, F., "Saint Emilien de Durostorum martyr sous Julien," Analecta Bollandiana 90 (1972), 27-35. Further reading: Atanasov, G., "À propos du martyre de Saint Emilien de Durostorum (Silistra)," Pontica 44 (2011), 211-220. Delehaye, H., "Saints de Thrace et de Mésie," Analecta Bollandiana 31 (1912), 260-261.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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