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E07665: Sophronius of Jerusalem, in his Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John, recounts how *Kyros and Ioannes/Cyrus and John (physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt, S00406) healed from blindness two men who came to their sanctuary in Menouthis (near Alexandria, Lower Egypt), sending them to the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. The great sanctuary of *Menas (soldier and martyr buried at Abu Mena, S00073), near the Mareotis, is also mentioned. Written in Greek in Alexandria, 610/615.

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posted on 2019-06-16, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Sophronius of Jerusalem, The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John, 46


There was a certain Tribounos who came from a small village near the Mareotis lake, where the famous sanctuary of Saint Menas is. This man suffered from complete blindness, so that he could not separate his eyelids one from the other. He was not able therefore to distinguish day from night. He did not lose, however, his faith in the healing power of Cyrus and John, so he went to their sanctuary. While he was sleeping there, he heard: “Go, wash in Siloam, and you will regain your sight.” The man woke up and hurried to Jerusalem. He washed in the pool of Siloam and regained his sight at once. He thus went back to the martyrs Cyrus and John and installed himself in their sanctuary for the rest of his life.

There was also another man, a monk from the monastery of Tabennesos (founded by the father and master Pachomios). He likewise was blind and went to the sanctuary of Cyrus and John. He too heard the same order: “Go, wash in Siloam, and you will regain your sight.” Yet the man replied that he was poor, as he had spent all his money to cure his blindness, and he asked how much money he needed to be able to travel such a great distance to Jerusalem. The martyrs smiled and told him to go to the storehouse, known as that of Fronto, and find Thomas, the faithful servant of a cumin merchant. He was then to say that the martyrs Abba Kyros and Ioannes commanded Thomas to give him a golden coin, that he would spend on his journey to the sacred city where he was sent by the saints. Then the saints withdrew.
When the man woke up, he executed their order. He found Thomas who gave him the money, obeying the martyrs. He went to Siloam and washed his face in its waters and wiped the mist from his eyes.

Text: Fernández Marcos 1976, lightly modified in the light of Gascou 2007 Summary: J. Doroszewska


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyros and Ioannes/Cyrus and John, physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt : S00406 Menas, soldier and martyr buried at Abu Mena : S00073

Saint Name in Source

Κῦρος καὶ Ἰωάννης


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after



Sophronius (c. 560-c. 637) was born to a Chalcedonian family in Damascus, and was probably familiar with both Greek and Syriac culture. He was educated as a teacher of rhetoric, but in c. 580 became an ascetic while in Egypt, and entered the monastery of St. Theodosios near Bethlehem. He travelled widely to monastic centres in Egypt, the Near East, Aegean, and North Africa, accompanying his friend, the monk and writer John Moschus, who dedicated to him his treatise on the religious life, the Spiritual Meadow (Leimon pneumatikos). In 633-634, Sophronius travelled to Alexandria and to Constantinople in order to persuade the patriarchs to renounce Monoenergism. In 634, he was elected patriarch of Jerusalem. He is venerated as a saint in the catholic and orthodox churches; in the Byzantine rite he shares with John Moschus a feast day on 11 March. He died in Jerusalem in about 637. His extant doctrinal writings include a Letter to Arcadius of Cyprus and the Synodical Letter against Monenergism. Other works have also been preserved, such as an encomium on the Alexandrian martyrs Cyrus and John (in gratitude for healing his vision), The Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John, a collection of 23 Anacreontic poems, and several patriarchal sermons on such themes as the Muslim siege of Jerusalem and on various liturgical celebrations. The Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John comprise 70 stories; this number, as explained by the author in the Preface, consists either of 7 decades or 10 heptades, both of which refer to biblical and pagan (Pythagorean) arithmetic, where 7 is a mystic number and 10 is a perfect number. References to the number 7 and its multiple (14) recurs in the work several times (Miracles 5, 15, 23, 39, 43; Gascou 2006: 11 with notes). The significance of other numbers has also been noted: for the number 3, see Fernández Marcos 1975: 42, n. 15; for the number 67 (Miracle 1), see Nissen 1939: 377, n. 2.  All 70 stories concern miraculous healings performed by the two martyrs, considered saints of the first rank by Sophronius (Miracle 29), in their sanctuary at Menouthis, near Alexandria. The first 35 miracles concern Alexandrians, the next 15 Egyptians and Libyans, mostly of the Alexandrian region, and the last 20 foreigners of whom some were settled in Alexandria. Sophronius wanted to flatter in this way the self-esteem of the Alexandrians who were the possessors of the saints' relics. He also argued that the miracles of Alexandria were particularly credible, since they delivered plenty of verifiable facts. For the same reason, the miracles selected by him were limited to those of his own times and concerned persons who were still alive and could testify to the events. Sophronius seems also to have had at his disposal earlier and parallel collections. A powerful feature of the miracle stories is a disdain for secular doctors, but not medicine per se, who are seen as ineffective in comparison to the power of the saintly healing of Cyrus and John. The collection is also notable for Sophronius’ polemic against Miaphysites, who evidently attended the shrine. The most recent edition of Sophronius' text is Fernandez Marcos 1976, but Gascou in his translation of 2007 includes several textual emendations which we have followed when they occur.


Text: Fernández Marcos, N., Los thaumata de Sofronio. Contribución al estudio de la "Incubatio" cristiana, Manuales y anejos de "Emérita" 31 (Madrid, 1975), 243-400. Translation: Sophrone de Jérusalem, Miracles des saints Cyr et Jean (BHGI 477-479), trans. and comm. J. Gascou (Paris, 2006). Collections grecques de Miracles, sainte Thècle, saints Côme et Damien, saints Cyr et Jean (extraits), saint Georges, trans. and comm. A.-J. Festugière (Paris, 1971). Sophrone de Jérusalem, Récit des miracles des saints Cyr et Jean, trans. and comm. D. Peltier (Paris, 1978, unpublished). Further reading: Déroche, V., "Représentations de l'Eucharistie dans la haute époque byzantine", Mélanges Gilbert Dagron, Travaux et Mémoires 14 (2002), 167-180. Duffy, J., “Observations on Sophronius' Miracles of Cyrus and John,” Journal of Theological Studies, 35 (1984), 71-90. Duffy, J., “The Miracles of Cyrus and John, new old Readings from Manuscript,” Illinois Classical Studies, 12 (1987), 169-177. Gascou, J., "Recherches de topographie alexandrine: le Grand Tétrapyle," Ktema 27 (2002), 337-343. Gascou, J., “Religion et identité communautaire à Alexandrie à la fin de l'époque byzantine, d'après les Miracles des saints Cyr et Jean,” in J.-Y. Empereur, C. Décobert (eds.), Alexandrie médiévale, 3 (Cairo, 2008), 69-88. Gascou, J., Les origines du culte des saints Cyr et Jean, electronic version at Le Coz, R., “Les Pères de l'Eglise grecque et la médecine,” Le Bulletin de Littérature Ecclésiastique 98 (1997), 137-154. Maraval, P., “Fonction pédagogique de la littérature hagiographique d'un lieu de pèlerinage: l'exemple des Miracles de Cyr et Jean,” in Hagiographie, culture et sociétés (IVe-XIIe siècles), Actes du Colloque organisé à Nanterre et à Paris (2-5 mai 1979), Paris 1981, p. 383-397. Nissen, Th., “Sophronios-Studien III, Medizin und Magie bei Sophronios,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 39 (1939), 349–81. Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides. L'apport des inscriptions et des papyrus grecs et coptes (Paris, 2001). Sansterre, J.-M., "Apparitions et miracles à Ménouthis: de l'incubation païenne à l'incubation chrétienne," in E. Dierkens (ed.), Apparitions et miracles (Bruxelles: Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 1991), 69-83. Schönborn, Ch., Sophrone de Jérusalem. Vie monastique et confession dogmatique (Paris, 1972). Wipszycka, E., “Les confréries dans la vie religieuse de l'Egypte chrétienne,” in her Études sur le christianisme dans l'Égypte de l'antiquité tardive (Roma, 1996), 257-278.

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