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E07160: Eulogius of Alexandria wrote in Greek Five Books Against Novatus and On the Dispensation, which reported that the Novatians of Alexandria refused to venerate the relics of the martyrs. Written in Alexandria in 580/608; the work is lost, but summarised in the 9th century Bibliotheca of Photius.

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posted on 2018-12-13, 00:00 authored by CSLA Admin
Photius, Bibliotheca

182: Eulogius of Alexandria, Five Books Against Novatus and On the Dispensation

After talking about Novatus and his story, Photius summarises the work, which includes the following treatise:

Ἐν μὲν οὖν τοῖς τέσσαρσι λόγοις κατὰ τῆς αἱρέσεως κοινῶς τοῦ Ναυάτου ἀγωνίζεται ὁ συγγραφεύς, γραφικοῖς αὐτὸν αἰκιζόμενος ῥήμασιν. Ἐν δὲ τῷ πέμπτῳ ἰδίως περὶ τοῦ δεῖν τιμᾶν τὰ τῶν μαρτύρων λείψανα ἐπαγωνίζεται, ὃ μὴ ἀνέχεσθαι πράττειν φησὶ τοὺς ἀνὰ τὴν Ἀλεξανδρείαν διασπαρέντας Ναυατιανούς, εἴτε τούτων μόνων καὶ τὴν τοιαύτην νόσον προσνενοσηκότων, εἴτε κοινῶς τῆς αἱρέσεως τοῦτο διαπρεσβευούσης.

'Now, in the first four books, the author fights generally against the heresy of Novatus, assailing him with scriptural quotations. In the fifth, he argues in particular for the necessity of honouring the relics of the martyrs, which, he says, the Novatians of Alexandria refused to do, either because they alone had contracted this additional malady, or because the whole sect was holding this view.'

Text: Henry 1959.
Summary and translation: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Theological works


  • 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

Major author/Major anonymous work


Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Scepticism/rejection of the cult of saints

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Heretics


The Bibliotheca or Myriobiblos (the 'Ten Thousand Books') is a work of the 9th century scholar and Patriarch of Constantinople Photius (c. 810-893), composed of 279 reviews of books of Christian and pagan authors from the 5th century BC to the author’s own time in the 9th century AD. Almost half the books mentioned no longer survive.


Eulogius' lost text provides an interesting attestation of debates concerning the legitimacy of the cult of relics in the late 6th century. The roughly contemporary work of Eustratius of Constantinople, On the State of the Souls after Death (E04192), discusses the problem of the nature of miracles, but does not discuss the legitimacy of the cult of relics.


Text: Henry, R., Photius. Bibliothèque, vol. 2 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1960), with French translation. Canfora, L., Bianchi, N., and Schiano, C., Fozio, Biblioteca (Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2016), with Italian translation and commentary.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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