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E05106: The Greek Martyrdom of *Basilissa (martyr of Nicomedia, S01881) recounts the story of its heroine who survives the torture of martyrdom, brings about the conversion of her persecutor, and dies next to a miraculous spring of water near Nicomedia (north-west Asia Minor). Written, probably at Nicomedia, during Late Antiquity.

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posted on 2018-02-20, 00:00 authored by erizos
Martyrdom of Basilissa of Nicomedia (BHG 2058)

Very brief summary:

Basilissa was a Christian virgin at Nicomedia, when the governor Alexandros demanded that all Christians offer sacrifice, by the threat of death. She was arrested and interrogated and tortured, but remained steadfast. She was put into a burning furnace, but the fire did not harm her, and finally she was exposed to be eaten by two lions, but the beasts were tamed by her prayers. The last prodigy caused the conversion of the persecutor Alexandros to Christianity. Basilissa took him to the bishop of Nicomedia, Antonios, who baptised him. Alexandros died soon thereafter, thus winning eternal life. Basilissa left the city and visited a rocky place near Nicomedia, where she was overcome by thirst. She prayed and caused a spring to gush forth, which has healing powers. Then she prayed to die, which was granted by God, and was buried by the bishop at the same site. The text closes with a brief epilogue justifying why the saint did not die during her martyrdom, but was allowed to die a peaceful death.

Summary: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Basilissa, martyr of Nicomedia : S01881

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

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Nicomedia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Torturers/Executioners


Published text based on Codex 53, fol. 189-195, of the Pantocrator Monastery on Mount Athos.


This brief martyrdom account seems to reflect the cult of a female figure practiced at a rocky place with a sacred spring near Nicomedia. The story seems to have been produced in order to provide a legend for the cult practised on that particular site, recalling the hagiography and cult of *Ariadne of Prymnessos (E02474).


Text: Halkin, F. "La passion inédite de sainte Basilisse de Nicomédie," Analecta Bollandiana 95 (1977), 245-253.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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