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E06913: The Greek homiletic Martyrdom of *Kyrillos (bishop and martyr of Gortyna in Crete, S00396), based on a possibly 4th c. account, recounts the martyrdom of an elderly bishop who was executed and buried on a high mountain. Probably written in Crete.

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posted on 2018-10-17, 00:00 authored by erizos
The Martyrdom of Kyrillos, archbishop of Crete (BHG 467, 467b)


The title gives the “17th before the Kalends of July” (= 15 June) as the saint’s feast, and describes Kyrillos as archbishop of Gortyna in Crete

During the persecution of Maximian, under the provincial governor Agreianos, the elderly archbishop Kyrillos has a vision of a bird taking a part of his head to a mountain, which presages his martyrdom. He is arrested on Sunday, on the 7th before the Ides of July (= 9 July), and tried by Agreianos who threatens to have him burned. Kyrillos does not apostatise, and is condemned to death. He is carried on a cart with two oxen which walk directly to the site of his martyrdom, which is a very rough place high on a mountain called Raxos/Raxon. A voice from heaven says 'Till here', and the oxen suddenly stop. Kyrillos is executed, and his body is buried by the Christians on the spot. The text is a homily given on the saint’s feast.

Text: Franchi De' Cavallieri 1953.
Summary: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrillos, bishop and martyr of Gortyn : S00396 Kyrillos/Quirillus, Quindeus/Kyndaias, and companions, martyrs of Axiopolis : S01020

Saint Name in Source

Κύριλλος Κύριλλος

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

Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Gortyn Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Miracle with animals and plants Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous sound, smell, light

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Officials Torturers/Executioners


For the manuscript tradition of the text see:


This text, preserved in a 10th c. manuscript, is the summary of an early and important text concerning this martyr. It is less than certain whether Kyrillos’ association with Gortyna and Crete reflects the original story. The saint’s feast (9 July) is associated with Tomis in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, which suggests the possibility that the story originally belonged to the martyr Kyrillos/Cyrillus whose cult is documented in Axiopolis of Moesia/Scythia Minor.


Text and commentary: Franchi de’ Cavallieri, P., Note agiografiche 9 (Studi e Testi 175; Città del Vaticano, 1953), 203-229.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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