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E06775: The Greek Martyrdom of *Epimachos (Decian martyr of Egypt, S00222) recounts the martyrdom of man from Pelusium who appeared during a trial of Christians in Alexandria, and destroyed an altar. Written in Greek, presumably in Egypt before the 7th century.

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posted on 2018-10-08, 00:00 authored by erizos
Martyrdom of Epimachos (BHG 593)


§§ 1-2: The life starts with praise of Epimachos. He lives in the city of Pelousion, when persecutions arise in Alexandria under a prefect named Apellianos. Christians who refuse to sacrifice to the gods are incarcerated or killed. Among those Christians who offer themselves freely to martyrdom, there is a girl named Eutropia. While the torturer is burning her with fire, an angel appears extinguishing the fire with water. Seeing such a miracle, Apellianos has her imprisoned.

§§ 3-6: When Epimachos hears about the events, he goes to Alexandria, enters the tribunal, smashes the idols of the gods, and assaults the judge himself. Thinking that he is drunk, Apellianos orders him to be beaten and incarcerated. When he is in prison, he strengthens the faith of the Christians there. Hearing about it, Apellianos goes to the prison and finds that Epimachos has also converted the guards, who even urge Apellianos to stop the persecution and believe in Christ. The governor has them tortured and killed, and feeds their corpses to the dogs.

§ 7: During an interrogation, Epimachos reprehends Apellianos for his lack of faith and for his terrible actions, warning him that he will go to hell.

§ 8: The prefect tries once more to persuade him and his companions to sacrifice to the gods, while they try to convince him of the falsity of the gods.

§ 9: Apellianos has Epimachos hang on a piece of wood and has him lacerated and skinned, while the martyr keeps praising God. The whole city watches the spectacle and praises the saint. During his torments, some of his blood drops fall on a woman who has a blind eye, and she is miraculously healed.

§ 10: Epimachos exhorts the crowd to believe in Christ and not to fear the persecutors. He is taken down from the stake and is beheaded. (On 7 May, in one of the manuscripts)

Text: Van Esbroeck 1966. Summary: Giovanni Hermanin De Reichenfeld.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Epimachos, Decian martyr of Egypt : S00222

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

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Alexandria Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Soldiers


For the manuscript tradition, see: There is also an Arabic version (see Bibliography) surviving in a 10th c. manuscript, which is believed to represent an earlier form of the legend than the extant Greek martyrdom account (van Esbroeck 1966, 399-410).


Text: Acta Sanctorum, Oct. XIII (1883), 712-718. Van Esbroeck, M. "Saint Épimaque de Péluse. Un parallèle arabe à la passion prémétaphrastique BHG3 593," Analecta Bollandiana 84 (1966), 399-442. Further reading: Baumeister, T. Martyr invictus; der Martyrer als Sinnbild der Erlösung in der Legende und im Kult der frühen koptischen Kirche (Münster, 1972), p. 142. Papaconstantinou, A. Le culte des saints en Egypte: des Byzantins aux Abbassides : l'apport des inscriptions et des papyrus grecs et coptes (Paris, 2001), pp. 92-93. Van Esbroeck, M. "Saint Épimaque de Péluse, II. La translation arabe," Analecta Bollandiana 85 (1967), 441-457.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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