Saint NameForty Martyrs of Sebaste, ob. early 4th c. : S00103
Saint Name in Sourceܐܖ̈ܒܥܝܢ ܣܗ̈ܕܐ
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before819
Evidence not after846
Activity not before483
Activity not after502
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcQartamin
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Qartamin
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
SourceThe Chronicle of the Year 819 is a historiographical work that begins with the birth of Christ and reaches the year 819, covering events from both secular and ecclesiastical history. The Chronicle is an original Syriac composition, produced soon after the year 819 by a West-Syrian author. A large number of references to the abbey of Qartamin, located near the city of Mardin, in the Chronicle suggests that its author might have been a monk of this monastery.
Syriac text: Chabot 1916-1937, v. 1, pp. 3-22; Latin translation: Chabot 1916-1937, v. 3, pp. 1-16. For general information, see Palmer 1990, 9-13.
DiscussionThe Chronicle reports that during the episcopate of John Sa‘ārā (483-502), a monk from the monastery of Qartamin, the church dedicated to the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste was built in the city of Amida. It is the earliest reference that relates the building of this shrine to a particular person. We know, however, about the existence of this church in the early 6th century from other sources, such as the Syriac Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor (7.4), according to which it served as an asylum for survivors of the siege of the city by the Persian troops of Kavadh I in the year 503.
It is unclear from where the medieval Syriac chronicler derives this information. In light of the fact that the bishop responsible for the building of the church came from the abbey of Qartamin, our author might have relied upon the local historiographic tradition of this West-Syrian monastery. However it may be, since this evidence does not contradict what we know about the church of the Forty Martyrs in Amida from other sources, there is no reason to doubt this evidence.
BibliographyMain editions and translations:
Chabot, J.B., Anonymi auctoris Chronicon ad annum Christi 1234 pertinens. 3 vols (CSCO 81, 82, 109, Syr. 36, 37, 56; Paris: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1916, 1920, 1937).
Palmer, A., Monk and Mason on the Tigris Frontier: The Early History of Tur ‘Abdin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).