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E02593: The Martyrdom of Iulianos of Emesa preserved in Georgian, recounts the martyrdom and death of *Iulianos/Julian (martyr of Emesa, S01259) and of three other martyrs, *Silouan/Silvanos, Luke and Mokimos (martyrs of Emesa, S01272). The events were soon followed by the translation of the head of John the Baptist (S00020) to Emesa. Translated in or before the 8th c. from a lost Greek original.

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posted on 22.03.2017, 00:00 by naleksidze
Martyrdom of Iulianos of Emesa

Summary:

§ 1. The emperor Numerian issued an edict according to which everyone suspected of Christianity was to be persecuted, taken to the pagan shrines, and forcibly converted. Many Christians abandoned their faith under duress, and adopted paganism. This was also the case in the city of Emesa.

§ 2. In those days, a certain holy man called Julian lived in Emesa. He was a nobleman and a famed healer through prayers. There were three other illustrious Christian men in town: Silouan, the bishop of the city of Emesa, Luke the archdeacon, and Mokimos, a wise scholar. And they all taught the true faith together, and converted many a soul.

§ 3. The three holy men were captured and handed over to the prefect of the city of Tyros, who was at that time visiting Emesa. They were taken to Tyros for prosecution, where they underwent many tortures. Then they were taken back to Emesa, to a local theatre in order to be thrown to wild beasts.

§ 4. Julian had heard that the holy men were brought back to Emesa and greeted them at the entrance of the town, and joined them in their prayers. The servitors of paganism were alarmed by Julian's boldness, they captured him, and forcibly took him away. In the meantime, the three holy men were taken to the theatre, and thrown to the beasts. After a prayer, the three men attained martyrdom, and handed over their souls to the Creator.

§ 5. Julian was thrown into prison where he spent twelve months, and no beatings and hardships could shake his faith. Then the pagans brought twelve nails, they tied him up, and pierced his head with the nails down to his throat and also his feet. Then they left him there. The holy man rose and found a cave, where he died peacefully.

§ 6. The cave was occupied by a certain potter, who returned to cave and discovered a dead body. He alarmed that someone may have brought and placed it here and ran away. However one night, the holy man appeared to the potter and told him:

რამეთუ მე ვარ ივლიანე მოწამჱ ქრისტჱსი. რომელი მივიწიე ქუაბსა მას შენსა და არა თუ სხუამან ვინ მიმიღო მე მუნ. არამედ აღდეგ ადრე და წარვედ და აღმიღე მე მიერ და მომიღე მე წმიდად ეკლესიად. სადა მონანი ქრისტჱსინი კრებულ არიან რამეთუ იყვნეს მას ჟამსა შემცირებულ ქრისტჱს-მორწმუნენი უღმრთოთა მეკერპეთა მიერ. და ფარულად ჰმსახურებდეს იგინი ქრისტესა ღმერთსა. მაშინ ირწმუნა მეკეცემან მან ჩუენებაჲ იგი წმიდისაჲ მის და ბრძანებაჲ მისი და მუნქუესვე ღამე აღდგა და წარვიდა ქუაბად და დავარდა იგი პირსა ზედა თჳსსა გუამსა მას წმიდისა ზედა და ევედრებოდა ღმერთსა რაჲთა შეეწიოს მას და განაძლიეროს. რაჲთა წარიღოს გუამი იგი მონისა მის ქრისტჱსაჲ. მაშინ მინდობითა ღვთისაითა განძლიერდა და აღიღო გუამი იგი წმიდისაჲ მის მჴართა თჳსთა ზედა განვიდოდა შუა ოდენ ქალაქსა მას და იხილეს იგი შვილთა მათ ეშმაკისათა. რომელთა აღემსთო ღამესა მას მსახურებად კერპთა შეგინებულთა და დევნა უყვეს მას რაჲთა განიხილონ რაჲ იგი აქუს კაცსა მას. ხოლო მეკეცემან მან განგებითა ღმრთისაჲთა და წმიდისა მის მოწამისა შეწევნითა ესევითარი ღონისძიებაჲ მოიპოვა. რამთუ მიაყრდნა გუამი იგი წმიდაჲ კედელსა ერთსა და დაჰბურა მას ზეწარი თჳსი და დაადგა იგი წინაშე მისსა. რაჲთა ეგონოს ბილწთა მათ ვითარმედ დედაკაცსა ჰზრახავს. და ვითარცა იხილეს ყურესა მდგომარჱ წინაშე წმიდასა მას გუამსა ეგონა მათ ჭეშმარიტად ვითარცა იგი თქუა მეკეცემან მან გულსა თჳსსა შეგინებულსა და საქმესა ბილწებისასა. რამეთუ ჰგონებდეს იგინი მსგავსად საქმეთა მათთა სიძვისა და ბილწებისათა და განეშორნეს მისგან.

'For I am Julian, the martyr of Christ, who came to your cave and nobody else took me there. Get up early, take me up and take me to the holy church, where the Christian community is (for in those days, the Christian community has been diminished due to the ungodly idolators and there they clandestinely served Christ God). Then the baker believed in the vision of the holy man and in his order and he go up the same night and went to the cave and fell on the ground in front of the body of the saint and prayed to God to help and strengthen him, so that he may take the body of the servant of Christ. Then he was strengthened through faith in God and he took the holy body on his shoulders and went to the city centre where the children of the devil saw him. They were serving the idols that night, and upon seeing him, they ran after him to check what he was carrying. But the baker, through divine order and the aid of the holy martyr, applied to the following trick. He leaned the holy body upon a wall and covered it with linen and placed it in front of him, so that the filthy ones may think that he was talking to a woman. And when they saw him standing in a corner in front of the holy body, they thought, just as the baker had planned, that some nasty and filthy business was happening. For they thought, according to their own character, that [he was engaged] in something adulterous and filthy, so they left.'

§ 7. და შემდგომად არამრავალთა ჟამთა ქრისტემან ღმერთმან ჩუენმან განმანათლებელმან ყოვლისამან და მჴსნელმან და მაცხოვარმან ყოველთამან ნათლითა ღმრთეებისა თჳსისაითა განანათლნა და განწმინდნა გონებანი კაცთანი საცთურისაგან კერპთმსახურებისა: და მოიზიდნა იგინი მეცნიერებასა ჭეშმარიტებისასა მოწყალებითა და წყალობითა თჳსითა. და ქალაქსა ამას შინა ემეწასა ინება დაუნჯებად საფასჱ ესე მიუწდომელი ??? და რამეთუ შემდგომად ჟამისა მის კუალად სხჳსა მეკეცისა მიერ ჯერ-იჩინა მოცემად მათა ქალაქით ჰეროდჱსით თავი წინამორბედისაჲ და ნათლისმცემლისაჲ წინაწარმეტყუელისაჲ და მოციქულისაჲ. მოწამისა და განმათავისუფლებელისა ცოდვათაგან და ღელვა-გუემელთა ნავთსაყუდელისაჲ და მოგზაურთა თანამავლისაჲ და ზღუდისა მის შეურყევლისა შემცველისა ქალაქთა და სოფელთაჲსაჲ. ხოლო მიწევნითა თავისა მის წინამორბედისაჲთა ქალაქად ემეწელთა განთავისუფლდეს მკჳდრნი მისნი მონებისაგან ეშმაკთაჲსა და იჴსნეს მსახურებისაგან კერპთაჲსა და განმრავლდეს მას შინა მორწმუნენი ქრისტჱსნი და აღივსო ქალაქი იგი ღვთის-მეცნიერებითა.

და შემდგომად ამისსა გამოიღეს წმიდაჲ იგი გუამი წმიდისა მოწამესი ივლიანჱსი მიერ ეკლესიით სადა იგი დადებულ იყო და მიიღეს ქუაბად რომელსა შინა შეჰვედრა სული თჳსი უფალსა და დაჰკრძალეს მას შინა: და ყოველნი რომელნი მოვიდოდეს უძლურთაგანნი სარწმუნოებით აღმოუცენებდა მათ უხუად კურნებასა ყოველთა სნეულთა და გუნდსა ეშმაკთასა განასხმიდა. და შეწევნითა ღვთისაჲთა აღაშჱნა ქუაბსა მას ზედა ეკლესიაჲ ფრიად შუენიერი ნეტარმან პავლე ეპისკოპოსმან ქალაქისა ემეწისამან და შეამკო იგი ყოვლითა შემკულებითა. და იყო მიცვალებაჲ წმიდისა და უძლეველისა მოწამისა ქრისტჱსა ივლიანჱსი პავლჱს მიერ ეპისკოპოსისა ემეწელისა თთუესა აპრილსა ათხუთმეტსა სადიდებლად მამისა და ძისა და წმიდისა სულისა.

'Not too many years later, our Christ God the enlightener of all and the Saviour and the Messiah of all through the light of His divinity, enlightened and purified the minds of the people from the temptations of idolatry. And He brought them back to the knowledge of truth through his compassion and grace. And he wished that a great treasure be established in that city of Emesa. Some time later, through yet another potter, He wished to donate to them from the city of Herod the head of the Precursor and the Baptist, the prophet and the apostle, the martyr and the deliverer from the sins, the peaceful bay of the tormented, and the companion of travellers, and the substitute to the shattered wall of the cities and villages. And upon the arrival of the head of the Precursor in Emesa, the citizens were set free from the servitude of the demons, and were saved from idolatry, and faithful Christians were multiplied among them and the city was filled with the knowledge of God.

After this, they took out the body of the holy martyr Julian from the church where he was rested, and took it to the cave where he handed over his soul to God and buried him there. And whoever was afflicted, and came with faith, he gave them healing and dispersed the devils. With God's help, blessed bishop Paul of the city of Emesa built a beautiful church on top of the cave, and adorned it with many ornaments. And the translation (???) holy and mighty martyr of Christ, Julian by Paul, Bishop of Emesa, took place on 15 April.'

Text: Peeters 1929. Translation and summary: N. Aleksidze.

History

Evidence ID

E02593

Saint Name

Julian, martyr in Emesa, ob. 283 : S01259 Silouan, Luke and Mokimos, martyrs in Emesa, ob. 283. : S01272 Silvanos, martyred bishop of Emesa, ob. 304/311 : S00245 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

ივლიანე სილოვანე, ლუკა, მოქიმოს წინამორბედი

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom

Language

Georgian

Evidence not before

453

Evidence not after

800

Activity not before

280

Activity not after

453

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Emesa

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

Emesa Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Holy cave

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Healing diseases and disabilities Exorcism Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Source

The Georgian version of the Martyrdom of Julian of Emesa is the only early hagiographic witness to the life and martyrdom of this figure whose cult is still strongly present in the modern city of Homs in Syria. The editor of the Martyrdom believes, and rightly so, that the Martyrdom of Julian must have been produced together with the Martyrdom of Agathangelos, perhaps by one and the same person. This is further substantiated by the fact that Julian's commemoration immediately precedes that of Agathangelos (E02574). P. Peeters believed that the cult of Julian has always remained local, and never left the premises of Homs. It must have emerged sufficiently late, and due to the town's occupation by the Arabs, was confined to the Christian community of Homs (Peeters 1927). The Georgian translation has very obvious signs of abridgement, as the translator must have been uninterested in historical and chronological details provided by the original author who most likely lived in Emesa, and wished to promote the city as a cult site. Also, although it is evident that the Martyrdom was written by someone who lived in Emesa, the Georgian version distances itself from the narrative and uses prepositions that indicate movement from the author to Emesa. Perhaps, the cult of Julian among the Greek-speaking communities has never gained appropriate prominence and was soon after its creation forgotten. The Georgian monks of the Holy Land and Syria came across the text and translated it immediately into Georgian. This, however, does not mean that Julian's cult enjoyed any particular prominence among the Georgians, but rather by the fact that the isolated Georgian community wished to come up with a seizable hagiographic corpus and translated everything that they could get hold of. Apart from the Georgian text, there exists an Arabic translation in a 17th century manuscript. The Arabic text is unedited and differs substantially from the Georgian version which mans that the narrative of Julian of Homs found a different development among later Christian Arab communities. The current cult of Julian is mostly based on the Christian Arabic tradition.

Discussion

The Martyrdom of Julian leaves an impression of a severely contaminated text, and deservedly raises suspicions that it is entirely a product of the author's imagination. Unlike another Julian, the martyr of Antioch, who is universally known in Late Antiquity, and whose relics were widely dispersed, a cult of Julian of Emesa is entirely unknown to late antique authors: see, for example the account of the Piacenza Pilgrim (E00093), who describes the relic of John the Baptist, and does mention Julian of Antioch, however entirely fails to mention Julian of Emesa. Nevertheless, the text is substantially noteworthy as regards the ways various distinct cults are contaminated for the purpose of advancing Emesa as a major cult site. The Martyrdom expands on three different cults that originally had nothing in common, however all three are in one way or another connected with Emesa. These are Julian, the three martyrs of Emesa, fed to the wild beasts, and the head of John the Baptist. Nevertheless, all three are by tradition closely associated with the city of Emesa. Curiously, it is the cult of Julian himself that remains the most dubious of all three and that requires the author's endorsement. In all appearance, the author wished to present three disjointed narratives, that of Julian, of the three martyrs of Emesa, and of the head of John the Baptist in a single context. The importance of Emesa, as a major cult site is supported by the story of the translation of the head of John the Baptist, the city's most treasured relic, to Emesa. This is by all means the culmination of the narrative, which gives reason for existence to everything else. However, the version of the appearance of John the Baptist's head in Emesa, as advanced by the hagiographer, differs substantially from the well-established tradition (for the standard account, see E07072). The cult of three other martyrs is more historic than that of Julian. The three martyrs of Emesa are known only to Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius mentions three martyrs who were thrown as food to the wild beasts in Emesa in Phoenicia (E00318). Eusebius, however, does not know the names of the two other martyrs, who died along with Silvanus/Siloaun. Indubitably, these are the same martyrs whose story is given as the preface to Julian's martyrdom, however, contrary to the Martyrdom, Eusebius dates the persecutions to the reign of Maximinus Daia (ob. 313). The Martyrdom, on the other hand, specifically names the Emperor Numerian (r. 282-284) as the main perpetrator. It is a matter of speculation whether the author of the Martyrdom invented the two other names of the group or whether there existed a tradition that he was aware of. The holy cave, where Julian died, and around which a basilica was erected, is the narrative's most important cult site. Indeed, the entire text is dedicated to the legitimisation of this place as a holy site. P. Peeters was convinced, and perhaps rightly so, that such an accentuation of the cave, where Julian died and where his relics were later returned, must mean that the motif of the cave derives from the Spelaeon, the cave where the head of John the Baptist was allegedly discovered. This theory is confirmed by Dionysius Exiguus' version (E06984) of the Greek Narrative of the Discovery of the Head of John the Baptist (E07072) where it is claimed that the cave was next to the basilica of Julian: Dumque id mecum ipse pertracto, levans oculos meos vidi Marcellum presbyterum, qui erat secundus post Maxentium archimandritam, a meridiana parte fluminis venientem, et multarum turmarum voces ab orientali plaga basilicae sancti Iuliani martyris audiebamus. 'And while I thought matters over, lifting my eyes I saw Marcellus the presbyter, who was second after Maxentius the archimandrite, coming from the middle of the river, and we heard the voices of many crowds from the eastern area of the basilica of Saint Julian the martyr.' According to this account, the basilica of Julian had already existed close to the cave where and when John the Baptist's head was discovered. This contradicts the Martyrdom's claim that Julian's church was built in the city, and then ceded to John the Baptist's head. Besides, according to Dionysius, the basilica of Julian existed close to the Spelaeon, and this before the translation of the head of John the Baptist. The Martyrdom, on the contrary, claims that Julian's relics were taken back to the cave specifically to give space to the head of John the Baptist. The role of the potters is also worth mentioning. On the one hand, it was a potter who discovered the body of Julian in his cave, around which the basilica of St Julian was subsequently erected. On the other hand, the tradition ascribed the discovery of the head of John the Baptist to yet another potter who found it in his house and carried it to Emesa. Eventually, the head ends up in a cave close to the basilica of Julian, as recounted by Dionysios. The coincidences are far too numerous, to ignore the fact that the author is trying to conjure the cult of Julian of Emesa based on these narratives. P. Peeters believed that Julian of Emesa never existed and that his cult is a certain mutation of the well-established cult of Julian of Antioch, a great saint of the larger region. Peeters explains the appearance of the cult of Julian in the following way: The basilica of St Julian that has been known since the mid 5th century must have been erected to Julian of Antioch, when the bits of the relics of this Julian were taken. The person behind the name was obscured during the next two centuries, when the site was dominated by the cult of the head of John the Baptist and of the famous Spelaeon. It was probably two centuries later that the monks of the monastery wished to reanimate the memory of their own saint, and therefore invented Julian of Emesa as we know him according to the Martyrdom. This theory indeed sounds plausible, as the author of the Martyrdom is all appearance tries hard to create a cult of Julian by supporting it with the story of three martyrs of Emesa known from written sources, and perhaps oral tradition, and by the tremendously strong cult of the head of John the Baptist. Peeters, although carefully, advanced another hypothesis regarding the dependance of the present text on Eusebius. In Ecclesiastical History 8.13 (E00318), along with listing Silvanus and other martyrs of Phoenicia, Eusebius mentions a martyr called Zenobius, who was a "most skilled physician", who died of a very similar torture as Julian. Peeters offers a theory that this particular passage may have given an idea to the present author to make Julian a physician, and to elaborate on the specific details of his martyrdom.

Bibliography

Text: Peeters, P., "La Passion de S. Julien d'Émèse," Analecta Bollandiana 47 (1929), 44-76.

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports