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E05720: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions a pilgrimage of the emperor Theodosius II to the shrine of *John (Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) in Ephesus (western Asia Minor) shortly before his death in 450; there he received a revelation of the name of his successor. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-13, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 14.26-27

26 (…) Ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς Θεοδόσιος μαθών, ὅτι κατὰ γνώμην Εὐδοξίας τῆς αὐτοῦ θυγατρὸς προεδόθη ἡ Ῥώμη ἐλυπήθη πρὸς αὐτὴν καὶ εἴασεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ Ἀφρικῇ παρὰ Ζινζιρίχῳ μηδὲν αὐτῷ δηλώσας, ἀλλὰ ποιήσας πρόκενσον ἐξῆλθεν ἀπὸ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως εἰς Ἔφεσον, πόλιν τῆς Ἀσίας· καὶ ηὔξατο εἰς τὸν ἅγιον Ἰωάννην τὸν θεολόγον αἰτῶν αὐτόν, τίς ἄρα μετ’ αὐτὸν βασιλεύει, καὶ ἐν ὁράματι ἔμαθεν· καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει.

27 μετὰ δὲ ὀλίγον καιρὸν ἐξῆλθεν ἱππασθῆναι· καὶ ἐν τῷ ἱππάζεσθαι αὐτὸν συνέπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ ἵππου· καὶ πληγεὶς τὸν σφόνδυλον αὐτοῦ εἰσῆλθε λεκτικίῳ. καὶ καλέσας τὴν ἀδελφὴν αὐτοῦ τὴν δέσποιναν Πουλχερίαν εἶπεν αὐτῇ διὰ Μαρκιανὸν τὸν ἔχοντα μετ’ αὐτὸν βασιλεῦσαι. καὶ μεταστειλάμενος Μαρκιανὸν τὸν ἀπὸ τριβούνων εἶπεν αὐτῷ ἐπὶ Ἄσπαρος καὶ τῶν συγκλητικῶν πάντων, ὅτι· ‘ἐφάνη μοι, ὅτι σὲ δεῖ γενέσθαι βασιλέα μετ’ ἐμέ.’ καὶ μεθ’ ἡμέρας δύο τελευτᾷ ὁ αὐτὸς Θεοδόσιος, ὢν ἐνιαυτῶν ναʹ.

’26. (…) The emperor Theodosius learnt that it was at the instigation of his own daughter, Eudoxia, that Rome had been betrayed. He was displeased with her and let her stay in Africa with Geiseric, without communicating with him. But he made a processus from Constantinople to Ephesos, a city in Asia. There he prayed to St John the Theologian, asking who would reign after him. He received the answer in a vision and returned to Constantinople.

27. A short time later he went out riding, and while riding he fell from his horse and injured his spine, so that he was brought back on a litter. Calling his sister the lady Pulcheria, he spoke to her about Marcian, who was to reign after him. He summoned Marcian, the ex-tribune, and said to him in the presence of Aspar and all the senators, "It was revealed to me that you must become emperor after me." Two days later Theodosius died, at the age of 51.’

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


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 Constantinople and region

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 Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family


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:


The story about the pilgrimage of Theodosius II to Ephesus and the oracle concerning the accession of Marcian as emperor is unattested elsewhere, but it adds a testimony to the association of John the Evangelist with the Theodosian emperors (cf. E04186). The story is remarkable and implausible, because Theodosius is not known to have ever left the region of Constantinople. It is possible that these accounts were part of the imperial propaganda of the time, or that they circulated at the shrine of Ephesus.


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.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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