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E05282: Two hymns in honour of *Cyricus and Julitta (child and his mother, martyrs of Tarsus, S00007) composed in Latin in Spain, possibly in the 7th c.

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posted on 2018-04-03, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 108

(1) Adest miranda passio
Quirici, sancti martiris,
qui trium annorum passus est,
confessor Xristi factus est

5 (2) Beatus sanctus Quiricus,
qui orat pro omni populo,
pro xristianus sepius,
qui colent diem ipsius.

(3) Corona, que meruerunt,
10 a domino acceperunt,
pro Iesu Xristo domino
animas suas cesserunt

(4) "Deus, adiuba", Quiricus,
"Iolita pabit cocabum",
15 canstigans matrem filius,
ne perderet tale munus.

(5) Егагius ille artifex
nicil se dicit facere;
limas accepit manibus,
20 quod faceret martirium.

(6) Firmentur omnes martires
at stuporem iudicis;
putabat ipsum uincere,
qui potius confessus est.

25 (7) Gaudebant omnes martires,
qui missi sunt in carcerem,
quia angelus aduenerat
et loquitur cum Quirico.

(8) Honorem in eo xristicola
30 magnificabat domino,
qui hunxit suo filio,
ut uinceret diabulo.

'(1) This is an amazing martyrdom of Quiricus, the holy martyr who was killed being three years old and was made the confessor of Christ.

(2) The blessed and holy Quiricus who prays for all the people, for the Christians who celebrate his day.

(3) The crowns, which they deserved, they received from the Lord, [because] they offered their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.

(4) "O God, help! Julitta is afraid of the cauldron", said Quiricus, a son chiding his mother so that she does not lose such a great gift.

(5) A coppersmith says that he is not doing that. [Another one] took files in his hands in order to prepare the martyrdom. [In the Martyrdom II.8–9 (Acta Sanctorum Iun. IV, 25) a coppersmith declines Quiricus's demand to prepare the instruments of passion, and another one comes to do this work]

(6) All martyrs strengthened seeing the stupor of the judge. Though he had already conceded, now he thought he could win. [If Gil's emendation is accepted – confusus instead of confessus "Although confused, he thought he might win"]

(7) All martyrs who were sent in prison rejoice because the angel came and talked with Quiricus.

(8) The worshipper of Christ glorified and honoured the Lord who anointed his Son to defeat the Devil.'

Hymn 109


(1) Adest dies, quod passus est
martir beatus Quiricus;
cetus fidelis deuitas
Deo rependit gratias.

(2) 5 Nam personabat uocibus
preconis uox frequentior:
"deorum est sollemnitas,
libamus tura promtius!"

(3) Hec audiens miratus est
10 gemensque se ortatus est;
Quiricus agit: "uanissimis
non des onorem idolis".

'(1) This is the day in which the blessed martyr Quiricus was martyred; the faithful congregation gives due thanks to God.

(2) A constant call resonated by the voices of heralds: "This is the solemnity of the gods, let us offer incense without delay!"

(3) When Quiricus heard that, he was amazed and he was brought to tears; he said: "You shall not honour the hollow idols".

In the strophe (4) Quiricus rebukes a demon and utters a sentence of obscure meaning. In (5) the ruler is angry with Quiricus and prepares his martyrdom.

(6) Homnes uenite populi
ad expectaculum martirum,
quod sidera occiderat,
qui magno erant iubare.

(7) Iolita, mater Quirici,
simul exclamans dicta est:
“non timeamus quocabum
nec impiorum tartarum".

(8) Tormenta cassat uiscera,
uirtus datur martirium;
gratias Deo agimus,
quia fidelis est omnibus.

(9) Magnus est Deus omnium,
qui dat uictoriam Quirico
pro confirmandas animas,
qui credunt Xristum dominum.

(10) Preses uidens constantiam
sancti caput precidere
iussit, lanista inruens
fundit cruore martirum.

(11) Hec Iconia ciuitas
preclara, in qua natus est,
qui est repleta munere,
almi sacrata sanguine.

(12) Te, conditor piissime,
ad te rogamus cernui,
nostrum reatum dilue
precemque nostram suscipe.

(13) Procul recedat noxia,
sit castitas, benignitas,
pax, caritas, modestia
et larga in nos gratia.

Deo patri sit

'(6) Come, o people, to the spectacle of the martyrs that outshines the bright radiance of the stars.

(7) Julitta, mother of Quiricus, cried: "We are not afraid of the cauldron neither of the hell of the impious".

(8) Tortures crush the flesh, but the power is given in the martyrdom. We give thanks to God who is faithful in all things.

(9) God of all is great, He gives victory to Quiricus to strengthen the souls of those who believe in Lord Christ.

(10) The ruler seeing resolution of the saint, ordered to behead him. A hangman rushed to shed the blood of the martyrs.

(11) It was the famous city of Iconium in which he was born, which is filled with gifts and consecrated with the dear blood.

(12) We ask you with a deep bow, o merciful Creator, cleanse our guilt and hear our prayer.

(13) Make all the noxious things go far away and let there be chastity, benevolence, peace, charity, modesty and generous grace for us.

[Glory] to God the Father.

Text: Castro Sánchez 2010, 398-400. Translation and summary: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrikos/Cyricus and Ioulitta/Julitta, child and his mother, martyrs of Tarsus : S00007

Saint Name in Source

Cyricus, Quiricus

Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Hymns Literary - Poems


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

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

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Prisoners Angels Merchants and artisans Torturers/Executioners Children


The hymns are written in iambic dimeter and the first one (108) is abecedarian. Hymn 108 is also a paraphrase of the hymn in honour of *Vincent (deacon and martyr of Saragossa and Valencia, S00290), which was dated by Pérez de Urbel (1926, 128-129) to the 7th c. (see discussion in E07017). Diaz y Diaz (1958: no. 337) accepts the 7th century dating both for the hymn for Vincent and for the hymns for Cyricus. Both hymns survived only in one manuscript Alia Officia Toletana, London, British Library, Add. 30845 (10th/11th c.). In the manuscript the text of the first hymn (108) is interpolated by the text of the second one (109) in the following way: vv. 1-20 of hymn 108, then vv. 1-20 of hymn 109, vv. 21-32 of hymn 108, then vv. 21-53 of hymn 109. The digitised manuscript can be consulted here: According to Diaz y Diaz (1982, 402-404), the first quire of the manuscript (folios 1-7) containing the offices for the feast of Cyricus and Jerome might have belonged to another manuscript. Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


Both hymns allude to the episodes from the Martyrdom of Cyricus and Julitta (BHL 1802), but this text was not included in the Spanish Passionary. In Hymn 109, interestingly, the city of Iconium is named both as a place of origin and martyrdom of the martyrs. The Martyrdom mentions Iconium as a place of origin of Julitta but places the martyrdom in Tarsus.


Edition: Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Blume, C., Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Leipzig, 1897). Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Códices visigóticos en la monarquía leonesa (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidoro", 1983). Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Norberg, D., An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320. Pinell, J. M., "Fragmentos de códices del antiguo Rito hispánico," Hispania Sacra 17 (1964), 195-229. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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