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E07835: Victor of Tunnuna states that an African bishop exiled to Constantinople was buried in 565 next to the tombs there of the *African confessors whose tongues were cut out by the Vandals (S01481). Entry in his Latin Chronicle, written in Constantinople in 565/566.

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posted on 2019-11-29, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Victor of Tunnuna, Chronica

Theodorus Cebarsuscitanus episcopus defensor trium capitulorum exilio apud urbem regiam eo mense et die quo Iustinianus moritur et iuxta confessores, quibus Ugnericus Wandalorum rex linguas absciderat, sepelitur.

'IN THE 40TH YEAR OF HIS REIGN [i.e. Justinian's]
Theodorus bishop of Cebarsussi, a defender of the Three Chapters, dies in exile in the royal city [Constantinople] in the same month and on the same day as Justinian, and is buried next to the confessors whose tongues Huneric king of the Vandals cut out.'

Text: Mommsen 1894, 206. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

African confessors whose tongues were cut out by the Vandals : S01481

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

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

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Victor was a bishop of the city of Tunnuna (or Tonnona) in Latin North Africa, the exact location of which is unknown. He was expelled from his see during the Three Chapters controversy. During his exile he stayed for several years in Egypt, but in 564 was transferred to Constantinople. There he wrote his Latin Chronicle. Only the part covering the years 444-567 is extant. Up to AD 518 it is based mostly on the Church History of Theodore Anagnostes. The written sources of the following part are not easy to identify, but Victor was deeply involved in ecclesiastical politics and had a firsthand knowledge of many events that he mentioned in the Chronicle.


Victor states that Theodorus of Cebarsussi, the bishop of a see in the Africa (Cebarsussi was in the province of Byzacena) who had been exiled to Constantinople because of his opposition to the condemnation of the Three Chapters, was buried next to (iuxta) the tombs of the confessors famed for their miraculous ability to speak after their tongues were cut out during the Vandal persecution of 484 (for Victor's account of this incident, see E07834). This is the closest that any early literary source comes to implying that the confessors received post-mortem cult. While Victor does not say outright that Theodorus' burial was regarded as a burial ad sanctos, this would seem to be the most obvious interpretation. If, as Victor says, Theodorus died on the same day as Justinian, his death was on 14 November 565. Given the apparent concreteness of Victor's statement, it is frustrating that he does not name the church in which these tombs were located. It is also interesting that they seem to be mentioned nowhere else. One possible explanation is that they were venerated only by the African community in Constantinople, although given the prominence of the confessors' story in literary sources (Greek as well as Latin), there would seem to be no obvious reason for their cult to be so limited.


Edition: Mommsen, T., Victori Tonnonennsis episcopi chronica, in: Chronica minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII. (II) (Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores Antiquissimi 11; Berlin, 1894), 184-206.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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