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E07004: The Greek Life of *Dalmatos (abbot in Constantinople, ob. c. 436, S01782) recounts the life of the second abbot of the Monastery of Dalmatos in Constantinople, focusing on his role in deposing the heretical bishop Nestorius. Written in Constantinople, possibly in the 6th century.

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posted on 2018-10-28, 00:00 authored by erizos
Life of Dalmatos (BHG 481-482)


Dalmatos was a soldier of the Second Schola when Theodosius I visited Isaakios. He was so impressed by the holy man’s teaching that he decided to give up his career and marriage, and join the monastery. He released his wife, and let her return to her parents, while he and his young son Phaustos joined the monastery of Isaakios.

Once, on Ascension Day, Isaakios found Dalmatos sleeping, instead of joining the other monks at the service of the day. The latter reported that he had actually had a vision of himself attending the service at the church of the *Maccabean Martyrs [pre-Christian Jewish martyrs of Antioch, S00303] seated on a throne next to that of bishop Nectarius.

Some years later, during the episcopate of Nectarius, Isaakios died and the monks elected Dalmatos as their next abbot. Against his will, Dalmatos was ordained to the priesthood, 22 years after he had become a monk. He had been 30 years old when he became a monk, and lived for 16 years alongside Isaakios. Isaakios had lived for 22 years in Constantinople. Dalmatos was ordained in the second year of the reign of Arcadius (383 or 396?).

There follows an enumeration of episcopal successions in Constantinople from Nectarius (381-398) to Nestorius (428-431).

Nestorius’ heresy was revealed by a vision to Dalmatos who reproached Nestorius during the latter’s visitation to the monastery. During the Council of Ephesus (AD 431), no correspondence was allowed to reach Constantinople, except that of Nestorius. Yet the Fathers of the Council wrote a letter to Dalmatos, which reached him hidden in the rod of a beggar. Dalmatos, who had been living as a recluse for 48 years, came out of his cell and, having gathered the monks and abbots of the other monasteries and a crowd of lay people, marched to the imperial palace. He met the emperor and reported to him about the letter and Nestorius’ heresy. He then gathered his followers in the basilica of *Mokios [martyr of Byzantion, S01265], informed them about his meeting with the emperor, and released them. He convinced the emperor Theodosius II to accept the deposition of Nestorius, and wrote to the Council of Ephesus. The Council addressed five letters to Dalmatos, commanding that he and his successors be the superintendents (exarchos) of all the monasteries of Constantinople. This decision was ratified by the emperors.

Dalmatos died at the age of 85 during the episcopate of Proclus (434-446), leaving his son, Phaustos (Faustus), as his successor. His funeral was attended by a huge crowd. His body was taken to Saint Sophia for funeral, and was brought in a procession led by bishop Proclus back to the monastery. Three days later, the tomb produced myrrh, which effected cures. Dalmatos died on 2 August (feast of the invention of the relics of Stephen the First Martyr), and was buried on 3 August.

Proclus installed Phaustos as Dalmatos’ successor. Phaustos was also granted the grace of healing, and lived until the reign of Marcian (450-457).

Text: Gedeon 1899.
Summary: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dalmatos, abbot in Constantinople, ob. c. 436 : S01782 Maccabean Martyrs, pre-Christian Jewish martyrs of Antioch : S00303 Mokios, martyr of Byzantion : S01265

Saint Name in Source

Δαλμάτος Μακκαβαῖοι Μώκιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Other liturgical acts and ceremonies

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 after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous behaviour of relics/images

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Monarchs and their family Aristocrats Relatives of the saint The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves) Heretics

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Myrrh and other miraculous effluents of relics


For the manuscript tradition, see:


The Life of Dalmatos is the second major hagiographic text related to the monastery of Dalmatos in Constantinople, alongside the Life of *Isaakios (E06980). Both texts aim to recount the origins of early Byzantine Constantinople's leading monastic foundation. Both stories describe the monastery and its founding fathers as defenders of orthodoxy confronting major heresies (Isaakios standing up to the Arian emperor Valens, and Dalmatos facilitating the fall of Nestorius) (Hatlie 2003, 90-93). The text survives in two versions, of unknown date. It is possible that the legend was originally recorded in the 6th century, like the Life of Isaakios. The latter relies heavily on 5th century ecclesiastical histories, but the Life of Dalmatos seems to be a compilation of otherwise unattested anecdotes concerning the First Council of Ephesus – perhaps legends from the monastery itself. The dramatic exit of Dalmatos from his cell in protestation against the heresy of the bishop recalls an episode from the Life of *Daniel the Stylite (E04560), which it may imitate. Dalmatos' role in the First Council of Ephesus is presented as the reason for the monastery's special role in the monastic world of Constantinople. In recognition of the abbot's struggles for orthodoxy, the Council recognised the abbot of the Dalmatos monastery as the exarchos (superintendent) of all the monasteries of the capital. Although the text reports that Dalmatos' son and successor, Phaustos, lived until the 450s, it keeps silent about the Second Council of Ephesus and the Council of Chalcedon. This must have been a challenging period for the monastery, because the heresiarch Eutyches was a former disciple of Dalmatos, and Phaustos was among the abbots who signed his deposition in 448 (Price and Gaddis 2005, 25, 228). These events are, of course, beyond the scope of Dalmatos' life. If their omission is deliberate, it could suggest that the legend appeared in a period when the orthodoxy of the Council of Chalcedon was contested, namely under Zeno and Anastasius. In such a case, the Life of Dalmatos could be roughly contemporary with the Life of *Markellos of the Sleepless Monks (E07155), and the Life of Daniel the Stylite (E04560).


Text: Banduri, A., Imperium Orientale, vol. II (Paris, 1711), 697-710. Gedeon, M., Βυζαντινόν Ἑορτολόγιον (Constantinople, 1899), 145-148. Further reading: Price, R., and Gaddis, M., The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (Translated Texts for Historians 45; Liverpool, 2005), 19-25. Hatlie, P., The Monks and Monasteries of Constantinople, ca. 350-850 (Cambridge, 2007). Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969).

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