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E04954: The Life of *Nikolaos of Sion (abbot and bishop in Lycia, ob. 564, S00559) reports that Nikolaos, bishop of Pinara, built a church for *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) at Pinara (Lycia, south-west Asia Minor), after a dream vision of her in the mid 6th century. Written in Greek in the late 6th c., probably at the monastery of Holy Sion in Lycia.

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posted on 2018-02-07, 00:00 authored by erizos
Life of Nikolaos, Abbot of Holy Sion and Bishop of Pinara (BHG 1347), 69

Μετὰ δὲ τὸν ἑνθρονιασμὸν αὐτοῦ ὡς μετὰ χρόνους τρεῖς φαίνεται αυτῷ ἡ ἔνδοξος καί ἀειπάρθενος καὶ μήτηρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐπιδεικνύουσα αὐτῷ τόπον καὶ μέτρα εὐκτηρίου τῆς ἰδίας ὀνομασίας, ἐπὶ τὸ ἐξεγεῖραι τὸν ναὸν τῆς ἁγίας Μαρίας καὶ ἀναστὰς καί παραγενόμενος ἐν τῷ τόπῳ, ὃν ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ ἡ ἔνδοξος μήτηρ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καταμετρεῖ τὸν τόπον. γνόντες δὲ οἱ ἐκεῖσε οἰκοῦντες πολιτευόμενοι, ἁντεπάθησαν σὺν τοῖς κληρικοῖς, καί διεκώλυον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ κτίσαι καὶ πληρῶσαι τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ὀπτασίαν. τοῦ δὲ ἁγίου πνεύματος μὴ συγχωροῦντος, ἀλλ’ ἐνδυναμοῦντος τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ δοῦλον Νικόλαον, βίᾳ φιλονεικήσας καὶ μὴ συγχωρήσας μήτε συγχωρούμενος κτίσαι, ἠναγκάσθη ἀγοράσαι τὸν ἐπιδειχθέντα αὐτῷ ἅγιον τόπον. καὶ τότε ἀρξάμενος ἔκτισεν καὶ ἐπλήρωσεν καὶ ἠνέῳξεν τὸν ἔνδοξον τῆς Θεοτόκου ἅγιον οἶκον. καὶ εὐχαριστήσας τῷ θεῷ ἦλθεν εἰς τὸ εὐαγὲς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔνδοξον μοναστήριον. καὶ ψηφίσας τὴν ἔκβασιν τοῦ κτίσματος τοῦ ἁγίου οἴκου τῆς Θεοτόκου, ηὑρέθησαν νομίσματα τετρακόσια.

‘About three years after his enthronement, the glorious and ever virgin Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him, indicating to him a site and dimensions for a shrine to be named after herself, that he might erect the temple of Holy Mary. So he arose and went to the spot which the glorious Mother of Christ had indicated to him, and he took measures of the site. When the magistrates who lived there heard about this, they opposed him, joined by the clerics, and attempted to prevent him from building and fulfilling the vision of God. Yet the Holy Spirit did not cede, but rather strengthened the servant of God Nikolaos. Quarrelling with them harshly, he neither yielded nor was allowed to build, and he was compelled to purchase the hallowed spot which had been indicated to him. Beginning then, he started, built, finished, and inaugurated the glorious holy house of the Mother of God. Having given thanks to God, he came to his charitable and glorious monastery. When he calculated the final cost of the building of the holy house of the Mother of God, the result was four hundred pieces of gold.’

Text: Ševčenko and Patterson-Ševčenko 1984.
Translation: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Ἁγία Μαρία, Θεοτόκος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Monastery of Holy Sion Myra

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

Monastery of Holy Sion Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia Myra Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The text is preserved in four manuscripts, on which see: The editions of the text are based on the Codices Vaticanus Graecus 821 and Sinaiticus Graecus 525.


For the context of this passage, see E04953.


Text and translations: Anrich, G., Hagios Nikolaos, der heilige Nikolaos in der griechischen Kirche, texte und Untersuchungen (Leipzig, Berlin, vol. 1: 1913; vol. 2: 1917). Blum, H., Vita Nicolai Sionitae (Bonn, 1997). Ruggieri, V., La Vita di San Nicola di Sion. Traduzione, note e commentario (Roma: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 2013). Italian transaltion with commentary. Ševčenko, I., and Patterson-Ševčenko, N., The Life of St. Nicholas of Sion (Brookline, Mass.: Hellenic College Press, 1984), with English translation. Further reading: Foss, C., "Cities and villages in Lycia in the Life of Saint Nicholas of Holy Sion," Greek Orthodox Theological Review 36 (1991), 303-339. Hellenkemper, H., and Hild, F., Lykien und Pamphylien (Tabula Imperii Byzantini 8) (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2004).

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