Saint NameMenas, soldier and martyr buried at Abu Mena : S00073
Paulos, bishop of Constantinople and confessor, ob. c. 350. : S01500
Akakios, soldier and martyr of Ptolemais under Aurelian : S01603
Apostles, unnamed or name lost : S00084
Saint Name in SourceMenas
Type of EvidenceDocumentary texts - List
Evidence not before413
Evidence not after427
Activity not before330
Activity not after450
Place of Evidence - RegionConstantinople and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcConstantinople
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantinople
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
SourceThe Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae is a list of the physical and administrative resources of Constantinople, arranged under its Fourteen Regions. The text dates from the reign of Theodosius II, and was probably published between 413 and 427, since it mentions the building of the new Theodosian Walls (built in 413), but seems to be unaware of the renaming of the 'Constantinian' baths after Theodosius, which took place in 427. It belongs to a dossier of texts of a broadly technical and administrative nature, transmitted by copyists in the 15th and 16th centuries from a lost Carolingian manuscript once in the Cathedral Library of Speyer, which included the Notitia Dignitatum and the so-called Anonymus de Rebus Bellicis.
DiscussionAmong the public buildings enumerated for the 14 regions, the document also enumerates the main congregational churches (ecclesiae) of the city. The list includes eleven churches, although in the final section, it states that the city had fourteen. Among these churches, four are explicitly mentioned as being related to the cult of certain saints.
Two of these shrines, those of the Apostles and of Akakios in the Tenth and Eleventh Regions, were very early foundations, dating from the times of the emperor Constantine I (Janin 1969, 41-49; ).
The church/martyrium of Menas in the Fourth Region was, according to the Patria of Constantinople (3.2) one of the pagan temples of the acropolis of Byzantium. The Patria reports that Constantine only desacralised the building and removed its statues, and that its transformation into a church took place '169 years later, under Pulcheria and Marcian'. This statement, which is anyway chronologically inconsistent, is disproved by the testimony of the Notitia Urbis, which indicates that the building served as the congregational church of the Fourth Region in the early 5th century. The Synaxarium of the Church of Constantinople commemorates the inauguration of the church on 21 September, and confirms that, by the 10th century, it was dedicated to the cult of the Egyptian martyr Menas (Janin 1969, 333-335). It is unknown, however, whether the Egyptian martyr was the original dedicatee of the church. A pair of martyrs called Menas and Menaios had a shrine at the Constinopolitan suburb of Hebdomon (E04420). Their identity is otherwise unknown.
The information of the document about the churches of the Seventh Region (one of the quarters of the Golden Horn, roughly the area of today's Eminönü) is interesting. Three churches are recorded, Saint Paul, Eirene, and Anastasia. The use of the epithet sanctus differentiates the church of Paulos the Confessor, from the other two which were still not dedicated to saints at the point when the document was compiled. The church of Paulos was the centre of the Macedonianists until the accession of Theodosius I, who appropriated it for the Nicene Orthodox, and buried there the remains of Paulos the Confessor (E02282, E04006). At the time of the Notitia, it served as a place of regular worship (Janin 1969, 394-395).
By contrast, the titles of Eirene ('Peace') and Anastasia ('Resurrection') were probably still abstract at the time of the Notitia, even though both of them were later related to the cult of the homonymous martyrs of Magedon and Sirmium respectively. The Eirene was the church later known as Saint Eirene of Perama or Saint Eirene by the Sea. The Patria report that this was a former pagan temple (3.44), probably a shrine of the port of Byzantium. The Anastasia was a church founded by Gregory of Nazianzus in the late 370s. Both of them are known to have been rebuilt by the presbyter Markianos in the mid 5th century (Janin 1969, 22-25, 106-107).
Seeck, O., Notitia dignitatum: Accedunt notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et Laterculi provinciarum (Berlin, 1876).
Translation and commentary:
Matthews, J., "The Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae," in: L. Grig and G. Kelly, Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 81-115.
Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969).