File(s) not publicly available

E04395: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) built a church dedicated to *Eirene (martyr of Magedon, S02162), at Sykai (suburb of Constantinople). During the building works, relics of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103) are discovered, which cure him of a serious knee ailment, while miraculous oil flows from the relics. The emperor's purple tunic, drenched with this oil, is kept in the imperial palace in order to heal the incurably ill. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

online resource
posted on 21.11.2017, 00:00 by Bryan, dlambert
Procopius, On Buildings, 1.7.1-16

1 Ἐπέκεινα δὲ κατ’ αὐτὸ μάλιστα τοῦ κόλπου τὸ στόμα Εἰρήνης μάρτυρος νεὼς ἵδρυται. ὃς δὴ οὕτω μεγαλοπρεπῶς τῷ βασιλεῖ ὅλος ἐξείργασται ὡς οὐκ ἂν ἔγωγε φράσαι ἱκανῶς ἔχοιμι. 2 ἀντιφιλοτιμούμενος γὰρ τῇ θαλάσσῃ ἀμφὶ τοῦ κόλπου τῇ εὐπρεπείᾳ, ὥσπερ ὅρμῳ περιφέρει ἐγκαλλώπισμα τὰ ἱερὰ ταῦτα ἐντέθεικεν. ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ τούτου δὴ τοῦ τῆς Εἰρήνης νεὼ ἐπεμνήσθην, καὶ τὸ ἐκείνῃ ξυνενεχθὲν οὔ μοι ἀπὸ τρόπου τῇδε γεγράψεται. 3 ἐνταῦθα ἔκειτο λείψανα ἐκ παλαιοῦ ἀνδρῶν ἁγίων οὐχ ἧσσον ἢ τεσσαράκοντα· οἳ στρατιῶται μὲν Ῥωμαῖοι ἐτύγχανον ὄντες, ἐν λεγεῶνι δὲ δυοδεκάτῃ ἐτάττοντο, ἣ ἐν πόλει Μελιτηνῇ τῆς Ἀρμενίας τὸ παλαιὸν ἵδρυτο. 4 ἡνίκα τοίνυν οἱ λιθοδόμοι διώρυσσον οὗπερ ἐπεμνήσθην ἀρτίως, κιβώτιον εὗρον γράμμασι σημαῖνον ὡς λείψανα ἔχοι τούτων δὴ τῶν ἀνδρῶν. 5 ὅπερ ἐξήνεγκε λεληθὸς τέως ἐξεπίτηδες ὁ θεός, ἅμα μὲν πιστούμενος ἅπαντας ὡς τὰ βασιλέως ἀσμενέστατα ἐνδέδεκται δῶρα, ἅμα δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τὴν ἀγαθοεργίαν ἀμείψασθαι διατεινόμενος χάριτι μείζονι. 6 ἐτύγχανε γὰρ Ἰουστινιανὸς βασιλεὺς χαλεπῶς ἄγαν τοῦ σώματος ἔχων, ἐπεὶ ῥεύματος δεινόν τι χρῆμα κατὰ τὸ γόνυ ἐπιπεσὸν συντριβῆναι ταῖς ὀδύναις τὸν ἄνδρα ἐποίει· οὗπέρ οἱ αὐτὸς αἰτιώτατος ἦν. 7 ἐν γὰρ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἁπάσαις αἵπερ τὴν Πασχαλίαν ἑορτὴν προτερεύουσαι νηστεῖαι καλοῦνται, σκληράν τινα βιοτὴν ἔσχε μὴ ὅτι βασιλεῖ ἀλλόκοτον οὖσαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀνθρώπῳ ἀμηγέπη τῶν πολιτικῶν ἁπτομένῳ. 8 δυοῖν γὰρ ἡμέραιν διεγεγόνει ἐς ἀεὶ ἀπόσιτος ὤν, καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ὄρθρου βαθέος διηνεκὲς ἐκ τῶν στρωμάτων ἐξανιστάμενος καὶ προεγρηγορὼς τῆς πολιτείας, ἀεί τε αὐτῆς ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ διαχειρίζων τὰ πράγματα, ὄρθριός τε καὶ μεσημβρινός, καὶ οὐδέν τι ἧσσον ἐπινυκτίδιος. 9 πόρρω γὰρ τῶν νυκτῶν ἐς κοίτην ἰὼν ἐξανίστατο αὐτίκα δὴ μάλα, ὥσπερ χαλεπῶς τοῖς στρώμασιν ἔχων. 10 καὶ ἡνίκα δέ που τροφὴν αἴροιτο, οἴνου μὲν καὶ ἄρτου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἐδωδίμων ἐκτὸς ἔμενε, βοτάνας δὲ ἤσθιε μόνον, καὶ ταύτας ἀγρίας ἐπὶ χρόνου μῆκος τεταριχευμένας ἁλσί τε καὶ ὄξει, ὅ τε πότος αὐτῷ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐγίνετο μόνον. 11 οὐ μέντοι οὐδὲ τούτοις κατακορὴς γέγονε πώποτε, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡνίκα δαῖτα αἴροιτο, ἀπογευσάμενος τούτων δὴ τῶν αὐτῷ ἐδωδίμων, εἶτα μεθίει, οὔπω ἐδηδοκὼς τὰ αὐτάρκη. 12 ἐντεῦθεν τοίνυν τὸ πάθος ἀκμάσαν τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν ἰατρῶν ἐπικουρίαν ἐνενικήκει, καὶ χρόνος τῷ βασιλεῖ πολὺς ἐν ταύταις δὴ ταῖς ὀδύναις ἐτρίβη. 13 μεταξὺ δὲ τὰ περὶ τῶν δεδηλωμένων λειψάνων ἀκούσας, τῆς ἀνθρωπείας ἀφέμενος τέχνης, ἐπὶ ταῦτα τὸ πρᾶγμα ἦγε, τὴν ὑγείαν ἐπισπώμενος τῇ ἐς αὐτὰ πίστει, καὶ δόξης τῆς ἀληθοῦς ἐν τοῖς ἀναγκαιοτάτοις ἀπώνατο. 14 οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἱερεῖς τὸν δίσκον ἐπὶ τὸ τοῦ βασιλέως ἐτίθεντο γόνυ, ἀφανίζεται δὲ τὸ πάθος εὐθύς, σώμασι δεδουλωμένοις θεῷ βιασθέν. ὅπερ ἀμφίλεκτον ὁ θεὸς οὐ ξυγχωρῶν εἶναι, σημεῖον τῶν πραττομένων ἐνδέδεικται μέγα. 15 ἔλαιον γὰρ ἐξαπιναίως ἐπιρρεῦσαν μὲν ἐκ τούτων δὴ τῶν ἁγίων λειψάνων, ὑπερβλύσαν δὲ τὸ κιβώτιον, τώ τε πόδε καὶ τὴν ἐσθῆτα τοῦ βασιλέως κατέκλυσεν ὅλην ἁλουργὸν οὖσαν. 16 διὸ δὴ ὁ χιτὼν οὕτω καταβεβρεγμένος διασώζεται ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις, μαρτύριον μὲν τῶν τηνικάδε γεγενημένων, σωτήριον δὲ τοῖς ἐς τὸ ἔπειτα πάθεσι περιπεσουμένοις τισὶν ἀνηκέστοις.

'1 Beyond this, just about at the opening of the bay, was built a Church (neōs) of the Martyr Eirenê. This entire church was constructed by the Emperor on such a magnificent scale that I, at least, could not possibly do it justice. 2 For seeking to rival the sea in lending beauty to the land about the gulf, he set all these shrines, as in an encircling necklace, round about it. But since I have mentioned this Church (neōs) of Eirenê, it will not be amiss for me at this point to recount also the incident which happened there. 3 Here from ancient times were buried the remains of no fewer than forty holy men; these had chanced to be Roman soldiers who served in the Twelfth Legion, which in ancient times had been posted in the city of Melitenê in Armenia. 4 So when the masons were excavating in the place which I have just mentioned, they found a chest showing by an inscription that it contained the remains of these very men. 5 And God brought to light this chest, which thus far had been forgotten, with an express purpose, partly to assure all men that He had accepted the Emperor's gifts most gladly, and partly because He was eager to repay this great man's beneficence with a greater favour. 6 It chanced that the Emperor Justinian was suffering from a grievous affliction, since a dangerous discharge had set in at the knee and caused him to be tortured with pain; and for this he himself was chiefly responsible. 7 For during all the days which precede the Feast of Easter, and which are called days of fasting, he observed a severe routine which was unfit not only for an Emperor, but for any man who was concerned in any way with state affairs. 8 Indeed he had gone two whole days quite without food, and that too while rising regularly from his bed at early dawn and keeping watch over the State, and constantly managing its affairs by word and deed from early dawn to midday and equally into the night. 9 And although he went to his couch late in the night, he immediately rose again, as if he could not endure his bed. 10 And when he did take nourishment, he abstained from wine and bread and other foods and ate only herbs, and those, too, wild ones thoroughly pickled with salt and vinegar, and his only drink was water. 11 Yet he never took a sufficiency even of these, but whenever he did take a meal, he merely tasted these foods he liked and then left them before he had eaten enough. 12 Hence, then, his malady gathered strength and got beyond the help of the physicians, and for a long time the Emperor was racked by these pains. 13 But during this time he heard about the relics which had been brought to light, and abandoning human skill, he gave the case over to them, seeking to recover his health through faith in them, and in a moment of direst necessity he won the reward of the true belief. 14 For as soon as the priests laid the reliquary on the Emperor's knee, the ailment disappeared entirely, driven out by the bodies of men who had been dedicated to the service of God. And God did not permit this to be a matter of dispute, for he showed a great sign of what was being done. 15 For oil suddenly flowed out from these holy relics, and flooding the chest poured out over the Emperor's feet and his whole garment, which was purple. 16 So this tunic, thus saturated, is preserved in the Palace, partly as testimony to what occurred at that time, and also as a source of healing for those who in future are assailed by any incurable disease.'

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E04395

Saint Name

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste : S00103 Eirene, martyr of Magedon : S02162

Saint Name in Source

ἅνδρες ἅγιοι τεσσαράκοντα Εἰρήνη

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

550

Evidence not after

561

Activity not before

518

Activity not after

561

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Procopius

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified Contact relic - oil Myrrh and other miraculous effluents of relics Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Making contact relics Collections of multiple relics

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Inscription

Source

Procopius of Caesarea, (c. 500 – c. 560/561 AD) was a soldier and historian from the Roman province of Palaestina Prima. He accompanied the Roman general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian (527-565). He wrote the Wars (or Histories), On Buildings and the Secret History. On Buildings is a panegyric in six books. It lists, and sometimes describes, the buildings erected or renovated by the emperor Justinian throughout the empire (only on Italy is there no information). The bulk of these are churches and shrines dedicated to various saints; the Buildings is therefore a very important text for the evidence it provides of the spread of saintly cults by the mid 6th c. On Buildings dates from the early 550s to c. 560/561; a terminus post quem is 550/551 as the text mentions the capture of Topirus in Thrace by the Slavs in 550 and describes the city walls of Chalkis in Syria built in 550/551; a probable terminus ante quem is 558 when the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople collapsed, which is not mentioned in the book; or before 560 when the bridge on the river Sangarius was completed, as Procopius reports on the start of works. On Buildings thus belongs to the later years of Justinian’s reign. The work is not finished and is probably Procopius’ last work. It glorifies Justinian, depicting him as a great builder and an emperor restlessly transforming the state, expanding and reforming it, destroying paganism, extirpating heresy, and re-establishing the firm foundations of the Christian faith (Elsner 2007: 35). More on the text: Downey 1947; Elsner 2007; Greatrex 1994 and 2013. Overview of the text: Book 1. Constantinople and its suburbs Book 2. Frontier provinces of Mesopotamia and Syria. Book 3. Armenia, Tzanica, and the shores of the Black Sea. Book 4. Illyricum and Thrace (the Balkans). Book 5. Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine. Book 6. North Africa, from Alexandria to central Algeria.

Discussion

The church of Eirene described by Procopius was at Sykai/Sycae, the later Galata (today's Karaköy), on the northern shore of the Golden Horn. Its dedication in 551 is described by Malalas (E05743). Being one of several churches renovated by Justinian on the coasts of the Golden Horn, it seems that the dedication of Saint Eirene had a special position in Justinian's building activities at Sykai. The emperor declared the quarter a self-standing city known as Iustinianae or Iustinianopolis (Nov. Just. 59.5; Malalas, Chron. 18.12; Chron. Paschale 618.14-17). It is probable that Justinian's church of Saint Eirene was the successor of the anonymous parish church (ecclesia) of the Thirteenth Region of Constantinople, recorded by the Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae (13). In its turn, Saint Eirene seems to have been replaced by the Dominican church of Saints Paul and Dominic of Genoese Galata, today's Arap Camii in Karaköy. The great size of this basilica is suggestive of early origins – perhaps from the fourth-century ecclesia of the Thirteenth Region. Further reading: Janin 1953, 113-114.

Bibliography

Edition: Haury, J., Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia, vol. 4: Περι κτισματων libri VI sive de aedificiis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1962-64). Translations and Commentaries: Compagnoni, G.R., Procopio di Cesarea, Degli Edifici. Traduzione dal greco di G. Compagnoni (Milan: Tipi di Francesco Sonzogno, 1828). Dewing, H.B., Procopius, On Buildings. Translated into English by H.B. Dewing, vol. 7 (London: William Heinemann, New York: Macmillan, 1940). Grotowski, P.Ł., Prokopiusz z Cezarei, O Budowlach. Przełożył, wstępem, objaśnieniami i komentarzem opatrzył P.Ł. Grotowski (Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka, 2006). Roques, D., Procope de Césarée. Constructions de Justinien Ier. Introduction, traduction, commentaire, cartes et index par D. Roques (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2011). Veh, O., and Pülhorn, W. (eds.), Procopii opera. De Aedificiis. With a Commentary by W. Pülhorn (Munich: Heimeran, 1977). Further Reading: Downey, G.A., “The Composition of Procopius’ ‘De Aedificiis’," Transactions of the American Philological Association 78 (1947), 171-183. Elsner, J., “The Rhetoric of Buildings in De Aedificiis of Procopius”, in: L. James (ed.), Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 33-57. Greatrex, G., “The Dates of Procopius’ Works,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994), 101-14. Greatrex, G., “The Date of Procopius Buildings in the Light of Recent Scholarship,” Estudios bizantinos 1 (2013), 13-29. Janin, R., Constantinople byzantine: développement urbain et répertoire topographique (Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines, 1950). Janin, R. La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969). Mango, C., Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997 [repr. of 1993]). Van Millingen, A., Byzantine Churches in Constantinople: Their History and Architecture (London: Macmillan, 1912).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports