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E06103: The Encomium on *Longinos (centurion at the Crucifixion, S00926), misattributed to Hesychius of Jerusalem, recounts the legend of the centurion who attended the crucifixion of Christ. Initially tortured under king Herod of Judaea for confessing the newly-born Christ as God, he lived till Christ’s crucifixion, and attended it. He was martyred at the village of Andralis near Tyana in Cappadocia (central Asia Minor), where his shrine was founded after the recovery of his head from Jerusalem by a widow. Written in Greek, probably in Cappadocia, or perhaps in Palestine, possibly in the 6th century or later.

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posted on 2018-08-08, 00:00 authored by erizos
Encomium on Longinos (= ps-Hesychius of Jerusalem, Homily 20; CPG 6590 = BHG 990)


1. Praise for the three First Martyrs, John the Baptist, Stephen, and Longinos the centurion.

2-12. Longinos is a centurion under king Herod. He is sent to Bethlehem after the departure of the Magi, and returns to Herod, confessing the divinity of Christ. He is arrested, imprisoned, and tortured, but remains miraculously radiant and beautiful. He is liberated by an angel and lives invisibly in the city. Herod dies.

13. The succession of kings of Judea after Herod till the crucifixion of Christ.

14-16. Longinos, who has joined the army again under the name Primianos, attends Christ’s crucifixion. Christ blesses him from the cross and allows him to leave Jerusalem, promising to make him a martyr.

17-22. Longinos returns to his native village, Andrales of Gabrales, near Tyana in Cappadocia, where he lives as a shepherd. Informed by the governor Loukios, King Herod starts a persecution of the Christians and seeks out Longinos. He sends three officers and soldiers to decapitate him, who meet him near Tyana. Longinos offers them hospitality and reveals himself to them. They behead him, bury his body at the village, and take his head to the governor Loukios in Jerusalem.

23. A noble widow called Chreste (‘kind’) suffered from a demon and decided to go to Jerusalem seeking a cure. Longinos appears to her and instructs her to go the governor Loukios and ask for his head which she should unite with this body.

24. She prays at Longinos’ tomb, and hears a voice encouraging her. She goes to Jerusalem and acquires the head, after paying 200 dinars to the governor Loukios.

25. Accompanied by her son, Chrestion, the widow returns to Longinos’ village. The door of the martyr’s shrine opens miraculously, and her son enters the tomb where the head is miraculously united with the body.

26-29. Two days later, Longinos appears to Chreste and promises to recruit her son to the heavenly army. While working with his vines, Chrestion dies. When his mother finds him, she is distressed, but an angel reveals to her that he was taken by Christ and will be buried in the same tomb as Longinos. She reports the events to the villagers, and they inform the bishop of Tyana, Paphnoutios, who arrives and consoles Chreste. Paphnoutios buries her son with Longinos, and Chreste becomes a deaconess at the shrine. Longinos appears to her at night and shows her her son, now a soldier in heaven. Chreste spends the rest of her life serving at the shrine where she is also buried, during the episcopate of Paphnoutios.

Text: Aubineau 1980.
Summary: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Longinos, the Centurion, ob. 1st c. : S00926

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Tyana Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Hesychius of Jerusalem

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Invisibility, bilocation, miraculous travels Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous sound, smell, light Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Jews Pagans

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - head Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


On the manuscript tradition of this text (two manuscripts), see Aubineau 1980, 868-870, and:


For a discussion of the cult and hagiography of Longinos see E06102. This text represents a more developed version of the legend than the one known from BHG 988 (E06102). Probably a later text than than the 6th (?) century BHG 988, it clearly predates the 8th century, since it is preserved in a manuscript of the 8th/9th century (Brussels, Royal Library Albert I, IV. 459). The core story of Longinos’ role in the crucifixion and martyrdom in Cappadocia is altered in some details, and expanded by the addition of a prequel narrative involving him in the story of Jesus’ birth and the massacre of the Innocents. This addition, which links Longinos to the narratives of the shrines of Bethlehem and its surroundings, may suggest some input from the saint’s cult in the Holy Land, where he had a notable shrine with relics at Bethany (see discussion in E06102). The Palestine section of the narrative seems to draw upon an unknown source which features a governor called Loukios, and preserves the information that the centurion Longinos was renamed Primianos when he rejoined the army at the time of Christ's persecution (14.10; 17.1). This text is also richer in information concerning the Cappadocian shrine of the saint, linking it to the bishopric of Tyana and its (otherwise unknown) bishop Paphnoutios, and naming the founder of the shrine and her son as Chreste and Chrestion respectively. The two figures appear to have acquired a role as cultic companions of Longinos by the time of the text's composition. The text lacks the postscript of BHG 988 concerning Hesychius of Jerusalem, but the title of the 8th century Brussels manuscript still ascribes our text to him. Very clearly, it cannot be his work.


Text, French translation, and commentary: Aubineau, M., Les homélies festales d’Hésychius de Jérusalem II: les homélies XVI-XXI (Subsidia Hagiographica 59; Brussels, 1980), 668-705.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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