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E07817: The Miracles of *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) recounts the miraculous healing by the saint at his shrine in Constantinople of a boy from a hernia. The saint appeared to the boy's mother in a dream at the dawn of Ascension Day, and healed the child by making the sign of the cross over his body. Written in Greek in Constantinople, 582/668; assembled as a collection, 658/668.

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posted on 2019-10-28, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Artemios (BHG 173), 10

Ἀκακίῳ τοὔνομά τινι ἀργυροπράτῃ ὑπῆρχεν υἱὸς ὡς ἐτῶν ἑπτά, ὃς ἐκ σκαιοῦ δαίμονος τῇ αὐτῇ περιέπεσεν νόσῳ.
τοῦτον ἄγουσιν οἱ γονεῖς πρὸς τὸν πάνσεπτον καὶ τίμιον μάρτυρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. τινὰ δὲ αὐτῶν χρόνον διαγόντων ἐν τῷ τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰωάννου ναῷ, καὶ δὴ καταλαβουσῶν τῶν νηστειῶν, τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ ἁγίου Σαββάτου, ἅτε δὴ τὴν ἁγίαν ἀνάστασιν συνεορτάσαι τοῖς ἰδίοις βουλόμενοι, αἴρουσιν αὐτῶν τὴν στρωμνὴν καὶ ἀπαναχωροῦσιν. ἡ δὲ μήτηρ οὐ διέλειπεν σὺν αὐτῷ ἐρχομένη, μετὰ δακρύων παρακαλοῦσα τὸν ἅγιον μάρτυρα, μάλιστα κατώδυνος τῇ ψυχῇ τυγχάνουσα. ἄξιον δὲ καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ παιδὸς τῶν ψελλισμάτων καὶ τραυλισμῶν ἀκοῦσαι, ἅπερ γέλωτα πολὺν πρὸς τὸ παρὸν ἐμποιοῦντα οἶκτον πολὺν τοῖς λογιζομένοις ἐνέφαινον· οἷα γὰρ οἰκεῖον πατέρα ὄψιν πρὸς ὄψιν δεόμενος ἐξῄτει πεπαρρησιασμένως τὸν ἅγιον μάρτυρα, φάσκων· “Ἅγιε Ἀρτέμιε, ἔπαρον τὴν κήλην μου”. τούτων δὲ οὕτως παρὰ τοῦ παιδὸς καὶ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ πραττομένων, ἐπιφωσκούσης τῆς τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
ἀναλήψεως, φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῇ γυναικὶ ὁ ἅγιος, ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ διαγόντων αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ· “Φέρε μοι τὸν υἱόν σου”. ἡ δὲ δόξασα βαστάζειν αὐτόν, χαίρουσα ἔκλινεν τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τοῦ μάρτυρος· ὁ δὲ τοῦ πώγωνος αὐτοῦ λαβόμενος ἀνώρθωσεν αὑτὸν κεκυφότα, καί φησι πρὸς αὐτόν· “Θέλεις ἐπάρω τὴν κήλην σου”; τὸ δὲ παιδίον ἀπεκρίνατο· “Ναί, κῦρι, ἔπαρον τὴν κήλην μου”. τότε ὁ ἅγιος σφραγίσας αὐτὸ κατὰ παντὸς τοῦ σώματος τῷ τιμίῳ σταυρῷ ἔφη· “Ἴδε ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν κήλην οὐκ ἔχεις”. ταῦτα ἑώρα ἡ γυνὴ καθ’ ὕπνους, καὶ διυπνισθεῖσα ηὗρεν τὸν παῖδα, καθὼς ἐθεάσατο, ὑγιῆ καθεστῶτα. πρωίας δὲ γενομένης, ἐξηγησαμένη τῷ ἀνδρὶ τὴν ὀπτασίαν καὶ τὴν ἴασιν
τοῦ τέκνου, ἅμα τούτοις σπουδαίως δραμοῦσα ἐν τῷ πανσέπτῳ ναῷ πρὸς τὸν ἅγιον μάρτυρα, δόξαν ἔδωκεν τῷ θεῷ καὶ τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ.

'A certain silver dealer, Akakios by name, had a son of about 7 years who fell victim to the same disease because of an evil demon. His parents brought him to the all-holy and honoured martyr of Christ. They had spent some time in the church of St. John when on Holy Saturday, the fasting over, they picked up their mattresses and departed, since they wished to join their family in celebrating the holy Resurrection. But the mother did not desist from coming with him, tearfully exhorting the holy martyr, since she was especially afflicted in her soul. Now it is worthwhile as well to lend an ear to her child's inarticulate speech and lisping since, although these things occasion much laughter for the present, they would reveal much pity for those who reflect. For as though entreating his own father face to face, he confidently begged the holy martyr thus: "St. Artemios, take away my hernia." After the child and mother had acted in this way, at the dawn of the Ascension of our Lord and God Jesus Christ the saint appeared to the wife in a dream, while they were passing time at home and he said to her: "Bring me your son." She, seeming to lift him up, gladly leaned the boy's head against the martyr's feet. Artemios, after he took hold of him by the chin, straightened up from a stooped position and said to him: "Do you want me to take away your hernia?" The child replied: "Yes, sir, take away my hernia." Then making the sign of the precious cross all over his body, the saint said: "behold, from now on you do not have a hernia." These things the woman saw in her dream, and after awakening she found the child, just as she had seen, restored to health. When morning came, she recounted to her husband the vision and their child's cure. Together with them she eagerly ran to the holy martyr in the all-holy church and gave glory to God and His saints.'

Text: Papadopoulos-Kerameus 1909; translation: Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr of Antioch under the emperor Julian : S01128 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Ἀρτέμιος Ἰωάννης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Greek

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 - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Specialised miracle-working Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation


The Miracles of Artemios is a collection of 45 miracle-stories, effected by the saint at and around his burial and cult site in the church of St. John the Baptist in the Oxeia quarter of Constantinople. Artemios was an Alexandrian dux and martyr of the reign of Julian, who has an independent Martyrdom (E06781). The Miracles does not include this passio, although the stories on occasion show some acquaintance with it. Nothing is known of the cult before the period described in the Miracles. The Miracles’ vignettes stretch from (at least) the reign of Maurice (582-602) to that of Constans II (641-668). The current text was compiled in the period 658-668: the terminus post quem is provided by the last datable event mentioned within the text (Mir. 41: 4 October 658) and the terminus ante quem by the fact that Constans is there described as still alive (as he is too in Mir. 23). The text is not, however, the product of a single pen, but seems instead to be a compilation of several parts. Those narratives at the beginning and end of the collection (Mir. 1-14, 42-45) are short, somewhat unembellished, healing narratives of a more-or-less standardised kind; while those of the central section are far more elaborate and varied, and seem to fall into rough thematic doublets or groups. One such group is conspicuous because all of its miracles (24-31) conclude with some sermonettes on secular medicine. The most obvious explanation for this basic dissonance is that the collection as we have it has been composed from at least three different parts: first, an earlier, more simple collection which opens the text; second, an original composition in the central section (where the addition of the sermonettes to some miracles perhaps indicates the exploitation of another, pre-existent collection of miracles); and third, a final addition of the four concluding miracles. Besides pre-existent collections of written material preserved within the shrine itself, the text also draws, no doubt, on the oral traditions then circulating amongst the shrine’s clientele. The text itself describes in vivid terms the community of clerics and lay devotees who gathered around the shrine, in particular for its weekend vigil, and several such persons are the protagonists of individual miracles. One such person is an anonymous devotee of the saint’s vigil who features in two long and detailed miracles (Mir. 18, 22); another is George, a cleric and devotee of Artemios, who features as protagonist in three different miracles (Mir. 38-40). It seems clear, then, that the compiler draws from the oral accounts, or perhaps even written records, which the saint’s clerics and devotees produced, and which provide these central miracles with their vivid detail and insight. Indeed, although the compiler of the collection is anonymous, it is reasonable to suppose that he is also a lay devotee of the saint, and perhaps even one of those persons who feature prominently in the text. Through descriptions of this vigil, and other scattered details, we are offered an unparalleled perspective both on the layout of the church of St. John—which can be reconstructed in some detail—and on the practices of Artemios’s devotees. The saint’s cult was an incubatory healing cult, in which the sick came to the shrine and slept overnight, in the hope of a miraculous cure. The collection underlines the importance of performing ‘the customary rites’ in advance of a cure, which seems to mean the dedication of a votive lamp and other offerings. The weekly vigil is also presented as especially efficacious, for on this night it was possible to sleep in and around the crypt where the tomb which contained the saint’s relics was sited (see e.g. Mir. 17). Almost all of the cures occur within the church of St John itself, or else upon those who have spent some time there and then withdrawn. The principal mode of healing is a miraculous dream, sometimes in combination with the application of holy oil taken from the tomb’s lamps, or a wax-salve imprinted with the image of the saint. Almost all of the miracles concern healing, but also of a particular kind. For Artemios was a specialist in diseases of the male genitals and groin, which dominate the entire collection. Sick women at the shrine could expect a vision of the martyr *Phebronia, who appears in several places as Artemios’ female equivalent (Mir. 6, 23, 24, 38, 45). In contrast to equivalent collections, Artemios does not collaborate with secular doctors, or depend on quasi-Hippocratic cures. Indeed, one of the most striking features of the text is the series of sermonettes which punctuate the central miracles and denounce in virulent terms the inadequacies of contemporaneous Hippocratic medicine (Mir. 24-31). The text was compiled at a moment of high drama for the eastern Roman Empire, in which its territorial holdings, and revenues, had been dramatically reduced through the Arab conquests. This context is however strikingly absent from the collection, which instead paints a picture of vivid and thriving urban life, in particular amongst the capital’s middle classes, who make up the vast majority of the saint’s devotees. Nevertheless, it has been suggested the text offers a powerful political metaphor related to the perceived disease of the body politic: that the cure for all ailments, whether derived from sin or from natural causes, is not to turn to other men, but rather to propitiate and to trust in God.


This healing miracle, a short and to some extent standarised account, belongs to the first of the several sections that make up the collection of Artemios' miracles (Mir. 1-14; see Discussion). 'But the mother did not desist from coming with him (ἡ δὲ μήτηρ οὐ διέλειπεν σὺν αὐτῷ ἐρχομένη), tearfully exhorting the martyr...' - The text is not precise here but this sentence is to mean that the parents gave up sleeping in the church just before Easter but the mother kept bringing her son to the martyr during the day to pray for the cure up to the feast of Ascension of Jesus (Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997: 242).


Text: Papadopoulos-Kerameus, A., Miracula xlv sancti Artemii, in idem, Varia graeca sacra [Subsidia Byzantina 6] (St. Petersburg: Kirschbaum, 1909): 1-75. Translation: Crisafulli, V.S., and J.W. Nesbitt, The Miracles of St. Artemios. A Collection of Miracle Stories by an Anonymous Author of Seventh Century Byzantium (Leiden, New York, Köln: Brill, 1997). Further reading: Alwis, A., “Men in Pain: Masculinity, Medicine and the Miracles of St. Artemios,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 36. (2012), 1–19. Busine, A.,“The Dux and the Nun. Hagiography and the Cult of Artemios and Febronia in Constantinople,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 72 (2018), 93–111. Déroche, V., "Pourquoi écrivait-on des recueils de miracles? L’exemple des miracles de saint Artémios," in C. Jolivet-Lévy, M. Kaplan, J.-P. Sodini, (eds), Les saints et leur sanctuaire à Byzance: textes, images, monuments (Paris, 1993), 95-116. Deubner, L., De incubatione capita quattuor scripsit Ludovicus Deubner. Accedit Laudatio in miracula Sancti Hieromartyris Therapontis e codice Messanensi denuo edita. (Lipsiae: Teubner, 1900). Efthymiadis, S., "A Day and Ten Months in the Life of a Lonely Bachelor: The Other Byzantium in Miracula S. Artemii 18 and 22," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 58 (2004), 1-26. Grosdidier de Matons, J., “Les Miracula Sancti Artemii: Note sur quelques questions de vocabulaire,” in E. Lucchesi and H.D. Saffrey (eds), Mémorial André-Jean Festugière: Antiquité, Paienne et Chrétienne (Geneva: Cramer, 1984), 263-266. Haldon, J., "Supplementary Essay: The Miracles of Artemios and Contemporary Attitudes: Context and Significance," in Crisafulli and Nesbitt, Miracles of Artemios 33-75. Kaplan, M., “Une hôtesse importante de l’église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de l’Oxeia à Constantinople : Fébronie," in D. Sullivan, E.A. Fisher, S. Papaioannou (eds), Byzantine Religious Culture: Studies in Honor of Alice-Mary Talbot (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 31–52. Krueger, D., Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East (Phildelphia, PA, 2004), 63-70. Mango, C., “History of the Templon and the Martyrion of St. Artemios at Constantinople,” Zograf 10 (1979), 40–43. Rydén, L., "Kyrkan som sjukhus: om den helige Artemios' mirakler," Religion och Bibel 44 (1987), 3-16. Simon, J., “Note sur l’original de la passion de Sainte Fébronie,” Analecta Bollandiana 42 (1924), 69–76.

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