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E01905: Gregory of Nazianzus in his Letter 122, of the 380s, mentions the feast of unnamed martyrs at Arianzos in Cappadocia (central Asia Minor) on the 22 of the local month Dathousa (= 29 September). Written in Greek at Arianzos.

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posted on 10.10.2016, 00:00 by Bryan
Gregory of Nazianzus, Letters (CPG 3032), Letter 122


(1.) Χρεωστεῖς μὲν ἡμῖν καὶ ὡς νοσεροῖς θεραπείας, εἴπερ μία τῶν ἐντολῶν ἀσθενούντων ἐπίσκεψις· χρεωστεῖς δὲ καὶ τοῖς ἁγίοις μάρτυσι τὴν δι’ ἔτους τιμήν, ἣν ἐν Ἀριανζοῖς τοῖς σοῖς ἑορτάζομεν τῇ εἰκάδι δευτέρᾳ τοῦ καθ’ ἡμᾶς μηνὸς Δαθοῦσα. Καὶ ἅμα οὐκ ὀλίγα τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν δεῖται κοινῆς διασκέψεως. (2.) Πάντων οὖν ἕνεκεν ἀόκνως παραγενέσθαι καταξίωσον· καὶ γάρ, εἰ πολὺς ὁ κάματος, ἀλλ’ ἀντίρροπος ὁ μισθός.

‘Letter 122, To the same (Theodoros of Tyana)

You owe us tending, also because we are unwell, in as much as one of the commandments is the visitation of the sick. You also owe to the holy martyrs their yearly veneration, which we celebrate at your own Arianzos on the twenty second of our local month, Dathousa. At the same time, there is a no mean number of ecclesiastical affairs which require our common examination. For all these reasons, then, deign to visit us without delay. For, even if the labour is great, the reward is proportionate.’

Text: Gallay 1964
Translation: E. Rizos


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Arianzos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Nazianzus

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Gregory was born in c. 330 to a wealthy Christian family in Cappadocia. He was educated at Nazianzos, Kaisareia/Caesarea, Athens, and Alexandria, and in 361 he returned to Nazianzos where he was ordained priest by his father, Gregory the Elder, who was bishop of Nazianzos. He was ordained bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia by Basil of Caesarea in 372, but stayed in Nazianzos, administering the local community after the death of his father. After retreating as a monk in Isauria for some years, he moved to Constantinople in 379, in order to lead the struggle for the return of the city to Nicene Orthodoxy. Two years later, the Arians were ousted by the emperor Theodosius I, and Gregory became bishop of Constantinople. In 381, he convened the Council of Constantinople, at the end of which he resigned his throne and retired to Cappadocia where he died in 390. His 249 Letters are an important source concerning his life and personality, and the ecclesiastical history of the 360s to 380s. For their manuscript tradition and editions, see: Gallay 1964 and:


This letter dates from the 380s, after Gregory’s abdication from Constantinople and retirement to the estate of his family in Cappadocia, where he spent the last years of his life as an ascetic. The estate, known by the name Karbalē/Carbala (today’s Gelveri/Güzelyurt), lay in the outskirts of the settlement of Arianzos near Nazianzus. Theodoros, the addressee, seems to have been a friend or relative, and probably also a native of Arianzos. He may, in fact, be a bishop of Tyana of that name (on Theodoros, see Heuser-Meury 1960, 161, 164). It is unknown if the the festival mentioned in the letter was related to a shrine of martyrs, which stood on the grounds of the estate of Karbalē/Carbala (mentioned in E01908). The local character of the feast is suggested by the fact that Gregory only gives its date in the Cappadocian calendar: the 22nd of Dathousa probably corresponded to 29 September. The date cannot be associated with any of the known martyrs of Cappadocia.


Text, French translation, and commentary: Gallay, P. (1964). Saint Grégoire de Nazianze, Lettres. Texte établi et traduit. Paris: Les Belles lettres. Further reading: Comings, J. B. Aspects of the Liturgical Year in Cappadocia (325-430). Patristic Studies. New York: Peter Lang, 2005, 98. Daley, Brian. Gregory of Nazianzus. London, New York: Routledge, 2006. Hauser-Meury, M.-M. Prosopographie zu den Schriften Gregors von Nazianz. Theophaneia 13. Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1960. McGuckin, John A. St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography. Chrestwood, New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001. Storin, Bradley K. "The Letter Collection of Gregory of Nazianzus." In Late Antique Letter Collections. A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide, edited by Bradley K. Storin and Edward Watts Cristiana Sogno, 81-101. Oakland: University of California Press, 2017.

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