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E05721: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions the death of *Symeon the Stylite (the Elder, S00343) in 459; the people of Antioch demand that his body be buried in their city, and build a great church for it. 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, 14.37

Ἐπὶ δὲ τῆς αὐτοῦ βασιλείας ἐτελεύτα ὁ ἅγιος Συμεὼν ὁ μέγας ὁ στυλίτης, ὄντος τότε Ἀρδαβουρίου τοῦ πατρικίου, τοῦ υἱοῦ Ἄσπαρος, στρατηλάτου ἀνατολῆς. καὶ κραξάντων τῶν Ἀντιοχέων καὶ αἰτησάντων τὸ σῶμα τοῦ δικαίου ἔπεμψεν ὁ αὐτὸς Ἀρδαβούριος Γοτθικὴν βοήθειαν καὶ ἤνεγκε τὸ λείψανον τοῦ ἁγίου Συμεῶνος ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τῇ μεγάλῃ· καὶ ἐκτίσθη αὐτῷ μαρτύριον οἶκος μέγας καὶ ἐτέθη ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς σορόν.

‘During his reign [Leo I] Saint Symeon the Elder, the Stylite, died, while Ardabourios the patrician, the son of Aspar, was magister militum per Orientem. As the Antiochenes cried out and requested the body of the righteous man, the same Ardabourios sent a regiment of Goths and brought the remains of Saint Symeon to Antioch the Great. A great church was built for him as a shrine (martyrion) and he was buried there in a sarcophagus.’

Text: Thurn 2000. Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Symeon the Elder, stylite of Qal‘at Sim‘ān, ob. 459 : S00343

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

Constantinople and region Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Soldiers Officials

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Construction of cult building to contain relics Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


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:


According to his hagiography, the body of Symeon was first temporarily deposited at the Church of Cassian and later at the Great Church of Antioch, before a separate shrine (martyrion) was built to house it. This church was probably built between the late 5th and mid 6th centuries and existed until at least the 580s (see Mayer and Allen 2012, 104-107).


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: Mayer, W., and Allen, P., The Churches of Syrian Antioch (300‒638 CE) (Late Antique History and Religion 5; Leuven: Peeters, 2012).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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