Saint NameMakedonios, Theodoulos, and Tatianos martyrs of Meros in Phrygia, ob. 361/3 : S01566
Saint Name in SourceΜακεδόνιος, Θεόδουλος, Τατιανός
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before439
Evidence not after446
Activity not before361
Activity not after363
Place of Evidence - RegionConstantinople and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcConstantinople
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantinople
Major author/Major anonymous workSocrates
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsComposing and translating saint-related texts
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesPagans
SourceSocrates ‘Scholasticus’ was born between 380 and 390 in Constantinople, where he probably spent his entire life. He was trained as a grammarian and rhetorician under the sophist Troilos of Side. From his work, Socrates emerges as a classically educated intellectual, and probably a member of the higher echelons of Constantinopolitan society.
His only known work, the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History, was published between 439 and 446, very probably in 439/440. It covers the period from the accession of Constantine to 439, focusing on the Roman East and recounting the 4th century Christological disputes, the reign of Julian the Apostate, the conflicts that led to the deposition of John Chrysostom, and the beginnings of the Nestorian dispute. Socrates’ synthesis is defined by his loyalties to Nicene Orthodoxy, the Theodosian dynasty, and the Origenist tradition. He is markedly sympathetic to the Novatian community, of which he may have been a member, and is interested in recording information about several other sectarian Christian groups of his time. Although an Origenist, like John Chrysostom and his supporters, Socrates distances himself from the Johannite party.
Socrates draws extensively on the Latin Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus of Aquileia for his account of the 4th century, which results in substantial overlaps between their works. In this database, we record only Socrates’ additions, and not the sections he reproduces from Rufinus. Alongside the recording of doctrinal disputes, successions of bishops, and victims of persecutions, Socrates was the first author to include a relatively systematic treatment of monasticism to the agenda of ecclesiastical historiography. It seems that he had access only to Greek and Latin sources, but not to the Syriac and other Aramaic hagiographies produced in this period in the East.
The work of Socrates is the first of the three Orthodox ecclesiastical Histories published in Greek between 439 and 449. Within less than ten years of its publication, Socrates’ work was systematically reworked and expanded by Sozomen, and may have been known also to Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Socrates’ narrative overlaps extensively with both of these ecclesiastical histories. This boom in Greek ecclesiastical historiography may have been instigated by the publication in Constantinople of an Arian Ecclesiastical History by Philostorgius in 425/433, which survives in fragments.
DiscussionThe prominence of the story of Makedonios, Theodoulos and Tatianos in Socrates is remarkable. Socrates mentions only three cases of martyrdom under Julian: the Arian bishop of Alexandria, George the Cappadocian (3.2-3), the confessor Theodoros in Antioch (19.1-10), and the three Phrygian martyrs discussed here. Socrates derives his information about the first two from his sources, namely Rufinus and possibly John Chrysostom, whilst the story of Makedonios, Theodoulos, and Tatianos is deduced from another source. Given Socrates’ limited access to hagiography, it is possible that these martyrs were known to him through their veneration at Constantinople. Their martyrdom on a grid recalls a homily of John Chrysostom about unnamed martyrs who died on a grid, which was probably given at Constantinople around AD 400 (E02634). Chrysostom’s talk reports that the martyrs’ feast was one week after Pentecost, i.e. in late spring or early summer. The feast of Makedonios, Theodoulos, and Tatianos, however, is recorded on 12 September by the 10th c. Synaxarium of the Church of Constantinople.
Socrates may be summarising a martyrdom account, but his source text has not survived. The story is also reproduced by Sozomen (5.11). The 11th c. author Theophylact of Ohrid, in his work on the Martyrs of Tiberiopolis recounts the same story, placing it in Macedonia (PG 126, 168-169). The most poignant aspect of the story, namely the martyrs’ words inviting their persecutor to turn them over, lest they stay half-roasted, is famous from the Latin Martyrdom account of *Laurence of Rome.
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Chesnut, G.F., The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986).
Leppin, H., Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 1996.
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On the persecutions of Julian:
Scorza Barcellona, F., “Martiri e confessori dell’etaÌ di Giuliano l’Apostata: dalla storia alla leggenda,” in: F.E. Consolino (ed.), Pagani e cristiani da Giuliano l'Apostata al sacco di Roma. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi (Rende, 12/13 novembre 1993) (Soveria Mannelli, 1995), 53-83 (esp. 59-60).
Teitler, H.C., The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).