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E07544: The late 5th or 6th century Life and Martyrdom of *Dometios (ascetic and martyr of Syria, S00414) recounts the ascetic career and miracles of a Persian convert who was stoned to death, together with his two boy disciples, in his hermitage near Cyrrhus (Syria) under Julian the Apostate. It describes the miraculous rediscovery of the relics, and their deposition at the church of Parthen, a village near the shrine of *Kosmas and Damianos (brothers, physician martyrs of Syria, S00385). Written in Greek, presumably in Cyrrhus.

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posted on 2019-04-26, 00:00 authored by erizos
Life and Martyrdom of Dometios (BHG 560-560b)


1-2. The author warns against the demonic temptations and the sinfulness of humankind, whereas he glorifies the work of God.

3-5. During the reign of Constantine, a pious man named Abbaros lives in Assyria (Persia), teaching the word of God and preaching against pagan customs. At the same time, another righteous man arrives in Assyria, whose name is Dometios and he has been educated by the Persians. Abbaros meets Dometios at the market and converts him to Christianity. Since Dometios is eager to learn more about Christianity, he decides to leave the city in search of better teachers. Thus, he travels to the Assyrian monastery of Netzibe (Nisibis), where he becomes a monk. Dometios soon becomes one of the most brilliant students of the monastic school, which is famous in the entire region, not only because he excels in the study of the Scriptures but also because he practices the most perfect asceticism.

6. Since these qualities cause the envy of his schoolmates, Dometios leaves the monastery. During his journey, he runs into wolves, but calls for God’s help, and the beasts withdraw immediately. Divine grace guides him towards the main road where he joins a group of people travelling to Theodosioupolis (Resaina). He practices a very strict asceticism, never sharing a meal with them, which astonishes his fellow travellers. They initially think that he is a Samaritan, but he tells them that he is a Christian. They report that they are Christian too and are travelling to a monastery of the martyr *Sergios (martyr of Syria, S00023). Dometios explains his ascetic practices, and his fellow travellers praise God for meeting him. Upon their request, he decides to travel with them to the monastery.

7. Two or three miles away from Theodosioupolis, they encounter a possessed man who offers to show them the way, but leads them to the wilderness, intending to kill them. Dometios recognises the demonic possession and exorcises the man.

8-10. They arrive in the city and go to the monastery of Sergios. At their arrival, they are received by the archimandrite Noubel, an old wise man who has practised severe asceticism for sixty-five years. Noubel recognises Dometios as a monk and accepts him in his community. Dometios remains there for eighteen years. Iakobos, bishop of Theodosioupolis, ordains him deacon. One day, while serving at the altar with Noubel, Dometios has a vision of a white dove flying over the chalice. After this episode, Noubel decides to have Dometios ordained to the priesthood.

11-12. Noubel asks the chorepiskopos Gabriel to notify the bishop about Dometios’ holiness. The bishop announces to the people the existence of a holy man who is to be ordained priest of the main church of Theodosiopolis. The bishop comes to the monastery for the ordination, but Dometios runs away. He joins some camel-drivers travelling to Cyrus. Once again, his fellow travellers are astonished by his asceticism. When they arrive at the village of Kaproimanda, Dometios goes to the shrine (martyrion) of *Kosmas and Damianos (S00385), where he remains for several days, praying. Here, Dometios meets an ill man who has been praying in the church for a month. Dometios instructs him to repent of a sin which he had committed against the martyrs, and receive Holy Communion. The man admits to having violated a oath which he had taken, when one of his serfs had sought sanctuary at the saints' shrine. The man is indeed healed after communing.

13. The man advertises Dometios’ holiness, and the ascetic retires to a deserted place, about eight miles north of the shrine of Kosmas and Damianos. The place is a sandy mount, where mostly thorns grow, near a village of serfs, called Parthen (κτῆμα Παρθέν). Dometios spends two years in solitude there. He takes water from local springs where women come to wash their clothes. At some point, one of these women acts shamefully and scandalises Dometios. His prayers cause the water to stop flowing, till the villagers ask for forgiveness and the holy man restores the springs.

14. In winter, a passing Saracen visits Dometios, and offers to build him a house, in order to protect him from the cold, which the holy man refuses. After a violent snowstorm, the Saracen finds Dometios half-buried in the snow and takes him inside his tent. Dometios had lived in the desert for three years, withstanding all weather conditions.

15-20. As Dometios is getting old, the locals cut for him a dwelling in the rock, where he performs numerous miracles. He heals a man with a paralysed hand, a man left gravely ill after an accident, a dumb man, and a deaf man. His prayers cause a barren woman to conceive. Finally, he exorcises a man possessed by demons, who frightened many people by throwing rocks at them and screaming loudly.

21. Under Julian the Apostate, persecutions break out against the Christians. Dometios is denounced to the emperor and Julian orders his arrest. When the persecutors arrive at his cave and see him, they find Dometios reciting the prayers and psalms of the sixth hour with his two boy disciples. They order him to go to the highway, to pay homage to the emperor, but he ignores them. They stone him and the two boys to death, filling up the cave with the stones.

22-23. After the saint’s death, his burial is forgotten and the site is completely overgrown. Two years later, a merchant with his camel passes by Parthen. One of his camel trespasses the field of a farmer and, while being chased away, it has one of its legs broken. Its master quarrels with the farmer, and leaves the camel on the nearby mount for four days. Accidentally, the camel steps into the entrance of the cave where Dometios’ remains lay. The animal is instantly healed and returns to its master who indicates the incident and the place to the locals. Some people realise that the site is the cave of Dometios, and invite the local presbyter to perform a prayer on the site. They start digging and retrieve the relics, which they take to the church of Parthen. Crowds gather and some attend to steal the relics, but order is restored. The relics were buried at Parthen on the 5th of the month Panemos (5 July), and a great celebration was held till the 15th, with clerics, monks, abbots and lay people attending.

Text: Van den Gheyn 1900.
Summary: E. Rizos and L. Cerioni.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dometios, monk and martyr of Syria under Julian : S00414 Kosmas and Damianos, brothers, physician martyrs of Syria : S00385 Sergios, soldier and martyr of Rusafa : S00023

Saint Name in Source

Δομέτιος Κοσμᾶς καὶ Δαμιανός Σέργιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Hagiographical - Lives


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus/Hagioupolis Parthen

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

Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus/Hagioupolis Thabbora Thabbora Parthen Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Punishing miracle Miracle with animals and plants Healing diseases and disabilities Exorcism Fertility- and family-related miracles (infertility, marriages)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Ecclesiastics - bishops Women Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Pagans Monarchs and their family Animals

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified


For the manuscript tradition, see:


Text: J. Van den Gheyn, "Acta Graeca S. Dometii Martyris," Analecta Bollandiana 19 (1900), 289-320. Further reading: Parmentier, M.F.G., “Non-Medical Ways of Healing in Eastern Christendom: The Case of St. Dometios,” in: A.A.R. Bastiaensen, A. Hilhorst and C.H. Kneepkens (eds.), Fructus centesimus. Mélanges offerts à Gerard J.M. Bartelink à l’occasion de son soixante-cinquième anniversaire (Instrumenta Patristica 19; Dordrecht/Steenbrugge, 1989), 279-296. Peeters, P., “S. Dometios le martyr et S. Dometios le médecin,” Analecta Bollandiana 57 (1939), 72-104.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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