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E05739: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions a propitiatory procession to the shrine of *Diomedes (physician and martyr of Nicaea, S02161) in Constantinople, after the ominous prophecies of a woman in 541/2. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-15, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 18.90

Ἰνδικτιῶνος εʹ συνέβη γενέσθαι τοιοῦτον πρᾶγμα. γυνή τις καταμένουσα πλησίον τῆς λεγομένης Χρυσῆς πόρτας χρηματισθεῖσα ἐν μιᾷ νυκτὶ ἐφλυάρησε πολλά, ὥστε συνδραμεῖν τὰ πλήθη Κωνσταντινουπόλεως καὶ ἀπελθεῖν λιτανεύοντα εἰς τὸν ἅγιον Διομήδην εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ καταγαγεῖν τὴν γυναῖκα ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτῆς καὶ εἰσαγαγεῖν εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ ἁγίου Διομήδους· ἔλεγε γάρ, ὅτι μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἀνέρχεται ἡ θάλασσα καὶ πάντας λαμβάνει. καὶ πάντων λιτανευόντων καὶ κραζόντων τὸ ‘κύριε ἐλέησον·’ ἠκούετο γάρ, ὅτι καὶ πόλεις πολλαὶ κατεπόθησαν. τότε δὲ καὶ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ θνῆσις ἀνθρώπων γέγονεν. ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς βασιλεὺς πέμψας Ναρσῆν τὸν κουβικουλάριον μετὰ δρομώνων καὶ ἄλλους τινὰς μαθεῖν τὰ γενόμενα, καὶ ἀπελθόντων τῶν παίδων Ναρσοῦ κατ’ ἐπιτροπὴν αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἅγιον Διομήδην καὶ μαθόντων παρὰ τοῦ συναχθέντος ὄχλου τὰ λεγόμενα ὑπὸ τῆς γυναικός, ἐλθόντες ἀπήγγειλαν Ναρσῇ τὰ γενόμενα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, καὶ ὅτι ἤκουσαν ἀπὸ τῆς γυναικὸς τῆς χρηματισθείσης, ὅτι μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἀνέρχεται ἡ θάλασσα καὶ κατακλύζει πάντας. καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ ὄχλοι τῶν λεγομένων παρ’ αὐτῆς ἀνεχώρουν πτοούμενοι.

‘In the 5th indiction the following incident took place. A woman living near what is known as the Golden Gate went into ecstasy one night and spoke a lot of nonsense, so that the people of Constantinople came running up and went off in a procession of prayer to Saint Diomedes-in-Jerusalem. They brought the woman out of her house and took her to the church of Saint Diomedes, for she was saying that in three days' time the sea would rise and take everybody. Everybody went in procession of prayer and chanted, "Lord, have mercy", for reports were circulating that many cities had been swallowed up. It was then that men died of a plague in Egypt, including Alexandria. The emperor sent Narses, the cubicularius, and others in fast ships to learn what had happened. When Narses' servants had gone off on his instructions to Saint Diomedes' and learnt from the crowd gathered there what was being said by the woman, they came and reported to Narses what had happened in the church, and also that they had heard from the woman who was in ecstasy that in three days' time the sea would rise and submerge everybody. On hearing what was said by her, the crowds went away in alarm.’

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Diomedes, physician and martyr of Nicaea : S02161

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 Constantinople

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Crowds


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 shrine of Diomedes was located near the Propontis (Marmara Sea) coast of Constantinople, between the Golden Gate of the Theodosian Walls and the Constantinian Walls. It was an important monastic centre known as the New Jerusalem (Janin 1969, 95-97).


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., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les eglises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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