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E05668: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions the unexplained disappearance, in c. AD 100, of *John (Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) from Ephesus (western Asia Minor), where he had been living as a bishop. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-07, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 11.2

Ἕως δὲ τοῦ δευτέρου ἔτους τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ ἦν φαινόμενος καὶ διδάσκων ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, ἐπίσκοπος καὶ πατριάρχης ὤν, ὁ ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ ἀπόστολος καὶ θεολόγος· καὶ ἀφανῆ ἑαυτὸν ποιήσας οὐκέτι ὤφθη τινὶ καὶ οὐδεὶς ἔγνω, τί ἐγένετο, ἕως τῆς νῦν, καθὼς Ἀφρικανὸς καὶ Εἰρηναῖος οἱ σοφώτατοι χρονογράφοι συνεγράψαντο.

‘Until the second year of his [Trajan’s] reign, Saint John the apostle and theologian was alive and teaching in Ephesos, being a bishop and patriarch. Then he disappeared by himself and has not been seen by anyone ever since, and no one knows to the present day what happened to him, as Africanus and Irenaeus, the most learned chroniclers wrote.’

Text: Thurn 2000. Translation Jeffreys, Jeffreys, and Scott 1986, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John, the Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts


The Chronographia of John Malalas (c. 490–c. 570) is a Christian chronicle of universal history, from Adam to the death of Justinian I (565). It appears to have been composed in two parts, the earlier of which focuses on the history of Antioch and the East, ending in c. 528 or 532. The second part focuses on the urban history of Constantinople up to the death of Justinian. Malalas is likely to have pursued a career in the imperial administration at both Antioch and Constantinople, writing the two parts of his chronicle while living in these two cities. Malalas was widely used as a source by Byzantine chroniclers and historians, including John of Ephesus, John of Antioch, Evagrius Scholasticus, the Paschal Chronicle, John of Nikiu, John of Damascus, Theophanes, George the Monk, pseudo-Symeon, Kedrenos, Zonaras, Theodore Skoutariotes, and Nikephoros Kallistou Xanthopoulos. The text of the chronicle is preserved in a very fragmentary form, based on quotations in other sources (notably the Paschal Chronicle and Theophanes), and on a Slavonic translation which follows a more extensive version of the original text. It is believed that we now have about 90% of the text. On the composition and manuscript tradition of the text, see Thurn 2000, and:


Malalas reproduces here the tradition about John's miraculous 'disappearance', which was interpreted as his corporeal assumption.


Text: Dindorf, L., Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae; Bonn, 1831). Thurn, J., Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 35; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000). Translation: Jeffreys, E., Jeffreys, M., and Scott, R., The Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation (Sydney, 1986). On Malalas: Carrara, L., Meier, M., and Radtki-Jansen, C. (eds.), Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas. Quellenfragen (Malalas-Studien 2; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017). Jeffreys, E., Croke, B., and Scott, R. (eds.), Studies in John Malalas (Sydney, 1990). Meier, M., Radtki-Jansen, C., and Schulz, F. (eds.), Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas: Autor, Werk, Überlieferung (Malalas-Studien 1; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016). Treadgold, W.T. The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 235-256. Further reading: Janin, R., "Les sanctuaires byzantins de Saint Michel," Échos d’Orient 33 (1934), 28-52. Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les eglises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969). Mango, C., "St. Michael and Attis," Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 12 (1984), 39-62.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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