SAINT FEBRONIA OF NISIBIS (+304)
"The story quoted from: "Holy
Women of the Syrian Orient"
Translated, with an
introduction, by: Sebastian P. Brock and Susan Ashbrook
Although St. Febronia is reputed to have been a martyr
Nisibis under Diocletian (284- 305), we placed this Life
here, for it manifestly belongs to the hagiographical genre
of the "epic passion," and it has been correctly described
by Halkin1 as "un roman edifiant" without
historical value; this, of course, is not deny that there
probably existed a historical martyr Febronia around whose
name the present Life (which may date from the late sixth or
early seventh century) has been woven.
Despite its largely legendary character, the piece is of
considerable interest, not least for the fact that the Life
purports to the work of a woman, Febronia's fellow nun
Thomais. While it is quite out of the question that this
particular claim is to be believed, it does seem quite
possible that the author was indeed a woman, and perhaps one
might not unreasonably speculate that she was actually a nun
of the convent of St. Febronia in Nisibin2 in
any case, the psychological insight into the friendship
between the widowed Hieria and the young nun Febronia would
seem point to a woman as author.
can be little doubt that the work was composed in Nisibis,
and, although there are other glaring anachronisms (in
particular the existence of a flourishing convent of nuns
in the time of Diocletian long before cenobitic monasticism
had reached North Mesopotamia3), the author has
carefully avoided leaving any hint that the ceding of
Nisibis to the Persians in 363 4 had taken place
by the time of writing; likewise the names of the Roman
officials are all plausible enough-though, needless to say,
one will search in vain for any confirmation that these
persons ever existed.
cult of St. Febronia appears to have become popular only in
the late sixth century and later. In the verse Life of the
East Syrian monk Rabban bar 'idta, we are told that in 563
his sister "built a nunnery in the name of the martyred
woman Febronia who had been martyred in the days of
Diocletian"; this convent was not in Nisibis itself but
across the Tigris in Marga.5 In the seventh
century the cult reached Constantinople, where it became
associated with that of St. Artemios,6 and it is
probably of significance that the emperor Heraclius (610-41)
had a daughter (by his second wife Martina) named Febronia.
St. Febronia also had an oratory in the sanctuary of the
famous church of
the Baptist in the Oxeia Quarter of Constantinople.7
It would seem plausible to suggest that the cult and the
Greek translation of her Life reached
Constantinople at much the
same time. Once in Greek, her Life served as a source for
several later passions. From the capital her cult spread to
Italy 8 (by way of Naples) and France.
Nisibis itself the existence of both the convent and the
(both mentioned in the Life) is attested by the Life of St.
Simeon of the Olives, Syrian Orthodox bishop of Harran (d.
734);9 the mention in this Life of "the old ruins
of St. Febronia who had been martyred in Nisibis" implies
that the church had been built a considerable time
previously. St. Simeon is also said to have revived the
convent of St. Febronia and provided it with new rules.
the Syriac churches St. Febronia is commemorated in both the
Syrian Orthodox and the Church of the East.10
lengthy descriptions of the tortures undergone by martyrs
such as Febronia (or Anahid) will appear to the modern
reader as distasteful and will usually be dismissed as the
product of a morbid imagination. It is important to
remember, however, that what motivates the authors of these
"epic" passions is not so much a perverse delight in these
macabre details, but a need to express that deep-seated
awareness, present throughout the entire religious history
of humanity, that suffering in some form or other is a
necessary preliminary concomitant to any rite of
initiation, and that the higher the level into which the
individual is being initiated-and the reward for these
martyrs is seen as nothing less than the very bridal
chamber of Christ-the greater the sufferings required for
the initiatory process.11
the days of the emperor Diocletian there was an eparch
Anthimos who, as he fell ill and was about to die, summoned
his brother Selenos13 and said, "My brother, I am
on the point of leaving human affairs; I entrust into your
hands my son Lysimachos. We have arranged his betrothal to
the daughter of the senator Prosphoros:14 let it
be your concern, once I am dead, to arrange the marriage
feast; act as their father."
days after he had given these instructions the eparch died.
Now the emperor summoned together the young Lysimachos,
Anthimos' son, and Selenos his uncle. He addressed the young
man as follows, "My young man, mindful of the friendship of
your father Anthimos, I had decided following his death to
appoint you to his office; nevertheless, because I have
heard that you take pleasure in the superstition of the
Christians, I have for the moment given up the idea of
raising you to the seat of office of eparch. Instead I first
want to send you to the Orient to silence the superstition
of the Christians; then, on your return here, I will raise
you to this exalted seat of office and you shall be eparch."
When Lysimachos heard this, he did not dare say a word in
reply to the emperor. He was, after all, only a young man of
some twenty years old. But his uncle Selenos fell down at
the emperor's feet and implored him, "I beg your majesty,
grant us just a few days respite so that we can arrange the
wedding feast for the young man; in this way I too will set
out with him and we will carry out whatever the wisdom of
your majesty bids." "First of all go the Orient," replied
the emperor, "and get rid of the superstition of the
Christians. Once you have returned here I will eagerly join
you in celebrating Lysimachos' marriage feast. "
they heard these words from the emperor, they did not dare
to say anything further. Straightaway they took the imperial
instructions and set off for the Orient with a large force
of soldiers. Lysimachos took with him Primus the comes,
his cousin, appointing him commander of the force of
reaching Mesopotamia 15 Selenos committed to fire
and sword all whom they found confessing that they were
Christians, giving orders that their bodies be thrown to
entire Orient was seized by fear and terror at the cruelty
of the merciless Selenos.
night Lysimachos called for Primus the comes16
and said to him, "My lord Primus, you know that although
my father died a pagan, my mother died a Christian, and she
was very eager that I too should become a Christian.
Nevertheless I was not able to carry this out for fear of my
father and the emperor. But I received from her the command
that I should not do harm to any Christian, but rather that
I should be a friend to Christ. And now here I am seeing
Christians falling into the hands of this cruel Selenos and
being put to death without mercy; my soul suffers greatly
for them. Accordingly I want any Christians who are found to
be sent off secretly before they fall into the hands of the
Primus heard this, he stopped giving orders for the arrest
of Christians; instead he sent messages to the monasteries
telling them to take refuge and escape from the clutch of
the cruel Selenos.
the course of their traveling around these regions they
wanted to enter Nisibis,17 a town on the border
with the Persian Empire, which was under Roman control. In
this town there was a convent of women containing fifty nuns
under the direction of the deaconess Bryene.18
Bryene was a disciple of Platonia,19 who had also
been a deaconess before her, and she kept the traditions and
rule handed down to her by Platonia right up to the end. It
had been Platonia's practice not to let the sisters do any
work at all on Fridays; instead they used to gather in the
place for prayer and celebrate the Office of Matins. Then,
from dawn to the third hour (9 A.M.)
Platonia used to take a book and read to them. After the
Office of the Third Hour she would give the book to Bryene
and tell her to read to the sisters until vespers. When
Bryene took over as head of the convent, she continued this
practice. She had two young women who had been brought up
by her and who were well instructed in the monastic life;
one was called Prokla, the other Febronia. Prokla was
twenty-five years old, and Febronia twenty.
Febronia was the daughter of Bryene's brother, and she was
of extremely handsome appearance: her face and features were
so beautiful that the eye could never be sated by gazing
upon her. Her great beauty meant that Bryene had a hard task
looking after the girl, and for this reason she ordered
Febronia to take food only once every other day, whereas all
the other sisters would eat each evening. Febronia, on
seeing herself restricted to such a regime, did not even
satisfy her appetite with bread and water.
had a stool on which she would rest when the time to sleep
came; it measured three and a half cubits by one. Sometimes
she would throw herself down on the ground, neglecting her
body in order to subdue it. When she happened to be tempted
by the devil by hallucinations at night, she would get up
straightaway and beseech God, amid abundant tears, to remove
the tempter Satan from her; then she would open the Bible
and lovingly meditate on its living and spiritual words.
She also had a great love of learning, so that many people,
including the abbess, were astonished at the extent of her
Fridays, when all the sisters were gathered in the place of
prayer, Bryene used to tell Febronia to read the divine
words to them. Because, however, young married women used to
come to the place of prayer on Sundays and Fridays to hear
the word of God, Bryene instructed Febronia to sit behind a
curtain and read from there.
never saw any worldly finery and did not know what a man's
face looked like. But she was the subject of much talk
throughout the entire town-people spoke of her learning,
beauty, humility, and gentleness. When Hieria, who had been
married to a senator, heard all this, she was fired by
divine love and became very eager to see Febronia. Now
Hieria had not yet come to baptism, but she was still a
pagan, and when she had only lived seven months with her
husband,20 he died, leaving her a widow; for this
reason she returned to her own town to her parents, who
were also still pagans.
Accordingly Hieria came to the convent and through the
doorkeeper notified Bryene of her presence. When Bryene
came out to her, Hieria fell down at her feet and did
obeisance to her, grasping her feet and saying, "I adjure
you by the God who made heaven and earth, do not repulse me,
seeing that I am still a foul pagan and a plaything of the
demons; do not deprive me of the chance to talk to and learn
from the lady Febronia. Through you nuns I will learn the
path of salvation and as I travel upon it I will discover
what is in store for the Christians. Save me from the
emptiness of this world and from the unclean worship of
idols. You see, my parents are forcing me to marry again:
the torment of the former error in which I have been living
is quite sufficient for me to have to cope with: please let
me acquire new life through the teaching and conversation of
my sister Febronia."
Hieria spoke she drenched Bryene's feet with her tears. Much
affected and moved by this, Bryene said, "My lady Hieria,
God knows that ever since I first received Febronia into my
hands at the age of two-and it is now eighteen years that
she has been in the convent-she has not seen the face of a
single man or any worldly finery and clothing. Not even her
governess saw her face from that moment onward, even though
she often besought me, sometimes even bursting into tears,
to allow her a glimpse. For I do not allow Febronia to have
any association with laywomen. Nevertheless, in view of the
love you have toward God and toward her, I will bring you
in to her. But you must wear nun's clothing."
Bryene introduced Hieria under this guise to Febronia, the
latter, on seeing the monastic habit, fell down before her
feet, supposing that she was a nun from somewhere else who
had come to her. After they had greeted one another and sat
down, Bryene told Febronia to take the Bible and read to
Hieria. As Febronia read, Hieria's soul was so filled with
sorrow and compunction as a result of the sight of Febronia
and of the teaching that she heard that the two of them
spent the whole night without any sleep: Febronia did not
cease or tire from reading, and Hieria never had enough as
she listened to her teaching, in tears while she groaned and
morning came, Bryene could scarcely persuade Hieria to come
down and return to her parents' home. When they had bidden
farewell to one another, Hieria departed, her eyes brimming
went home and urged her parents to abandon the empty
tradition of idolatry that they had received from their own
parents, and instead recognize God, the Creator of all.
Afterward Febronia asked Thomais,21 who was next
in authority to the abbess, "I beg of you, mother, tell me
who is this stranger sister who was so given to tears as
though she had never before heard God's Book?"
"Don't you know who this sister is?" replied Thomais.
could I recognize her, seeing that she is a stranger?" said
is Hieria, the wife of a senator," said Thomais, "who has
just come to live here."
did you deceive me, and not tell me," said Febronia. "I
addressed her as though she were a sister."
"These were the instructions of the abbess," replied Thomais.
it so happened that at that time Febronia fell gravely ill
and lay on her pallet at the point of death. When Hieria
heard the news, she came along and did not leave Febronia's
side until she had recovered from her illness.
was during this time that news reached the town that
Selenos and Lysimachos were about to arrive and they would
compel the Christians to sacrifice to idols. Accordingly
all the Christians in the town, clergy and monks, left
their homes and fled. Even the bishop of the town hid out of
fear. When the sisters in the convent learnt of this, they
assembled before the deaconess and asked, "What should we
do, mother? Those cruel men have come here as well, and
everyone has taken to flight at their threats." Bryene said,
"What do you want me to do for you?" To this they replied,
"Tell us to go into hiding for a short period, in order to
save our lives."
you already thinking of flight before you have seen the
battle?" asked Bryene. "You have not entered the contest;
are you already defeated? No, my daughters, no, I beg you,
let us rather stand up and resist; let us die for the sake
of Him who died for us in order that we may live with Him."
hearing these words the sisters fell silent. The following
day one of them, whose name was Etheria,22 said
to them, "I know that it is because of Febronia that the
lady abbess will not let us leave. Does she want us all to
perish just because of her? I have a suggestion: let us go
in to her and I will speak on your behalf, saying whatever
is appropriate. "
Hearing this, some of the sisters agreed to Etheria's
proposition, while others found fault with it. A big
argument ensued between them, and finally all of them went
together to the deaconess to see what advice she would give
them. Bryene, aware of Etheria's suggestion, looked straight
at her and asked, "What is it you want, my sister Etheria?"
"I want you to bid us to go into hiding to escape from this
wrath that has come upon us," she replied; "We are not any
better than the clergy or the bishop. You should keep in
mind the fact that there are some quite young girls among
us; you do not want them to be carried off by the Roman
soldiers to have their bodies violated, thus losing the
reward of their ascetic life. Or there is a danger that we
might deny Christ, unable to endure the pain of torture; in
that case we would become a laughing stock for the demons
and we would lose our own souls. If, however, you give us
the word to save our lives, we will take with us Febronia as
well, and we will take to flight. "
Febronia heard these words, she exclaimed, "As Christ
lives-the Christ to whom I have been betrothed and to whom I
have offered up myself-I will not resort to flight; but let
what ever God wills take place." Bryene said, "Etheria, you
know what you have earned; I forgive you for this." Then she
turned to the other sisters: "Each of you knows what is best
for herself; choose what you want."
they had prayed and said farewell to Bryene and Febronia,
they all left the convent out of fear, beating their breasts
in great sorrow and tears.
Prokla, who had been brought up with Febronia, fell on her
neck, sobbing as she said, "Farewell, Febronia, pray for
me." Febronia took her by her hands and would not let her
leave. "Fear God, Prokla," she said; "do you at least not
leave me; don't you see that I am still unwell. What happens
if I should die? Our lady abbess could not carry me to the
grave alone. Stay with us, so that if it so happens that I
die, you can help carry me to the grave."
have given your command, my sister: I will not abandon you,"
you have promised before God not to leave me." When it was
evening, Prokla left and disappeared.
seeing the convent thus stripped of sisters, Bryene went
into the place of prayer and threw herself down on the
ground, groaning in grief. Thomais, next to her in
authority, sat with her, trying to console her: "Stop
crying, mother; God is able to effect a way out of
affliction and temptation; he will enable us to bear up. Who
has had faith in God and then regretted it? Who has
persevered in serving him and then found himself abandoned?"
my lady Thomais," said Bryene, "I know that it is just as
you say. But what am I to do with Febronia? Where can I hide
her to keep her safe? How could I ever bring myself to look
upon her if she was taken captive by barbarians?"
Thomais replied, "Have you forgotten what I told you? He who
can even raise people from the dead can certainly strengthen
Febronia and save her. Just stop crying and let us go to
cheer Febronia up; she is still lying there unwell. "
moment she reached the raised platform on which Febronia
was reclining, Bryene wept out loud bitterly. Overcome with
sobbing, she bent down her face. Seeing her thus, Febronia
asked Thomais, "I pray you, mother, what is the reason for
the lady abbess' tears? A little while ago, too, when she
was in the place of prayer I heard the sound of her groans."
Thomais, herself in tears, replied, "My daughter Febronia,
it is for your sake that the lady abbess is groaning and
weeping, because of all the terrible things that are going
to come upon us at the hands of these tyrants. It is because
you are young and beautiful that she is tormented and full
Febronia said, "I beg of you both, just pray for your
maidservant, for God is able to look to my low estate and
strengthen me; he will grant me endurance, just as he does
to all his servants who love him."
Thomais said, "My daughter Febronia, the hour of battle is
at hand; if we are arrested by the soldiers, the tyrants
will quickly put us two to death as we are both old women;
but they will grab you, seeing that you are young and
beautiful, and they will upset you with their advances and
words of seducement. Don't listen to them. And if they try
to win you over by promising gold and silver, make sure you
don't pay any attention, my daughter; otherwise you will
lose the reward for all your past life; you will become a
laughingstock for the demons and an object of mockery to
the pagans. For nothing is more honorable and choice before
God than virginity: great is the reward that it will
receive. Virginity's Bridegroom is immortal and he grants
immortality to those who love him. Show yourself eager,
Febronia, to see him to whom you have betrothed your soul.
Don't let him down or play false with his pledge to you and
your covenant 23 with him. Full of awe is that
day when a person is rewarded in accordance with his works."
she listened to these words, Febronia plucked up courage and
valiantly prepared herself against the forces of the devil.
"You do well, my lady," she replied to Thomais, "by
encouraging your handmaid; my soul has greatly taken on
strength at your words. Had I wished to escape from this
battle, I too would have departed with the other sisters and
taken to hiding; but because I am in love with him to whom
I have offered my soul, I am eager to come to him, if he
holds me worthy to suffer and endure the fight that is for
Hearing this, Bryene too added some words of precaution,
saying to Febronia,24 "Remember how you followed
my instruction, remember that you too taught others;
remember that when you were two years old I received you
from your nurse into my hands: up to the present moment no
man has set eyes upon your face, and I have not allowed
laywomen to talk to you. Up to this very day have I
preserved you, my daughter, as you yourself are very much
aware. But now, my daughter, what can I do with you? Do not
disgrace Bryene's old age, do not do anything that will
render profitless the work of your spiritual mother.
Remember the wrestlers who went before you, who underwent a
glorious martyrdom, receiving a crown of victory from the
heavenly ringmaster of the fight. These people were not just
men, but they include women and children as well; remember
the glorious martyrdoms of Lewbe and Leonida:25
Lewbe was crowned at her death by the sword, Leonida by
burning. Remember the girl Eutropia, who, at the age of
twelve, was martyred along with her mother for the sake of
our Lord's name. Weren't you always amazed and filled with
wonder at Eutropia's submissiveness and endurance? When the
judge gave orders that arrows be shot in her direction in
order to make her run away frightened by the arrows, she
heard her mother call out, 'Don't run away, Eutropia my
daughter,' and clasping her hands behind her back she did
not run away; instead she was hit by an arrow and fell down
dead on the ground. She showed complete obedience to her
mother's command. Was it not her perseverance and obedience
that you always admired? She was just an unschooled girl,
whereas you have actually been teaching others."
the night passed as they spoke thus, and much more, to her.
next morning when the sun had risen there was an uproar
with shouting emanating from the inhabitants of the town:
Selenos and Lysimachos had taken control of the city and the
soldiers had seized a large number of Christians, throwing
them into prison. Some of the pagans came forward and
informed Selenos about the convent. He at once dispatched
some soldiers to it and they broke down the door with
hatchets. Entering the convent they seized Bryene, and some
of the soldiers drew their swords, wanting to kill her
straightaway; but Febronia, on seeing the danger, got up
from the pallet and threw herself at the soldiers' feet,
crying out at the top of her voice, "I adjure you by the God
of heaven, kill me first so that I do not behold my
the comes Primus arrived and saw what the soldiers
had done, he angrily ordered them out of the convent. He
then addressed Bryene, "Where are the women who live here?"
Bryene replied, "They have all left out of fear for you."
Primus said, "I only wish you too had escaped! There is
still a possibility even now; go off and save yourselves
wherever you like."
Therewith he removed the force of Roman soldiers and left
the convent, not even stationing a guard there.
arrival at the praetorian he went in to Lysimachos
who asked him, "Was it true what we learnt about that
we heard was true," replied Primus, who then took him aside
and added, "All the women living in the convent have fled,
and we only found left there two old women and one young
one. I am filled with wonder when I tell you what I saw in
that convent: I beheld a young woman the like of whom I have
never set eyes upon; no, I have never seen such beauty and
shapeliness in any other woman. The gods know that when I
saw her lying on a raised pallet, my mind was stunned. Had
she not been poor and wretched she would have made a
suitable wife for you, my lord."
Lysimachos replied, "If I am under orders not to shed
Christian blood, but instead to be a friend of Christ, how
can I harm any who belong to Christ? No, certainly not. But
I beg of you, Primus, remove the women from the convent and
act as their protector, lest they fall into the hands of my
merciless uncle Selenos."
one of these wicked soldiers ran off to Selenos and told
him, "We have found an extremely pretty young woman in the
convent, and the comes Primus is talking about her to
Lysimachos as a suitable wife for him."
hearing this, Selenos was filled with wrath and anger. He
sent some men to guard the convent in order to prevent the
women escaping, and then he sent out heralds to proclaim
throughout the town that "tomorrow there is to be a public
gathering," in other words, Febronia was to be judged
publicly in the theater.
the inhabitants of the town and those who lived around about
heard this, they all came thronging, both men and women, to
watch the spectacle of Febronia's "contest."
following day the soldiers turned up at the convent and
seized Febronia from the pallet on which she was lying. They
secured her firmly in irons, put a heavy iron collar round
her neck, and then dragged her out of the convent.
Bryene and Thomais clung to Febronia, and besought the
soldiers with tears and groans to allow them just a little
time so that they could speak to Febronia. They acceded to
their supplication and gave them some time. After this the
women asked the soldiers to take them off to the "contest"
as well, so that Febronia should not be left all by herself;
otherwise, if she were left all alone, she might get
frightened. But the soldiers replied, "We have not been
instructed to bring you as well before the judge's tribunal,
only Febronia on her own."
the two women began to encourage Febronia and to give her
precautions; Bryene said, "My daughter Febronia, you are
going off to the 'contest.' Remember that the heavenly
Bridegroom is watching this contest of yours, and the hosts
of angels are standing there before him carrying the crown
of victory, as they wait for your end. See that you are not
frightened by the tortures-that would give pleasure to the
devil. Do not pity your body when it is collapsing under
blows, for this body, whether it likes it or not, will
shortly disintegrate and become dust in the tomb. I will
stay in the convent in mourning, as I await the arrival of
news about you, whether for good or for bad: I beg you, my
daughter, let it be good news I hear of you. Let someone
tell me, 'Febronia has yielded up her soul in the tortures';
let someone announce to me that 'Febronia has met her end
and is reckoned amongst the martyrs of Christ.'"
Febronia said, "I have faith in God, mother; just as in the
past I have never transgressed your commandments, so now I
will not do so or be neglectful of your admonitions. Rather,
let the peoples see and be astounded, let them congratulate
the aged Bryene and say, 'Truly this is a plant belonging to
Bryene.' In a woman's body I will manifest a man's valiant
conviction. Let me go off now."
Thomais said, "As the Lord lives, my daughter Febronia, I
will put on a laywoman's dress and come to see your
the soldiers were in a hurry to get going, Febronia said to
them, "I beg you, mothers, send me on my way with blessings
and pray for me. Let me go now."
Bryene then stretched out her hands toward heaven and said
in a loud voice, "Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to your
servant Thekla in the guise of Paul, turn toward this poor
girl at the time of her contest."
these words she embraced Febronia and kissed her. She then
sent her on her way, and the soldiers took her off. Bryene
returned to the convent, threw herself down on the ground in
the place of prayer, and groaned deeply as she supplicated
God in her tears on behalf of Febronia.
Thomais put on laywoman's clothing and went out to watch the
spectacle of the contest, as did all those lay women who
used to come to the convent on Fridays to listen to the
Scriptures. As they ran toward the place where the spectacle
was to take place they were weeping and beating their
breasts, mourning at the loss of their teacher.
Hieria, the senator's wife, learnt that the nun Febronia was
to be tried before the judge's tribunal, she got up and gave
a loud wail. Her parents and everyone in the house asked her
in amazement what was the matter. "My sister Febronia has
gone to the court house," she replied. "My teacher is on
trial for being a Christian." Her parents tried hard to get
her to calm down, but she lamented and wept all the more.
"Leave me alone to weep bitterly for my sister and teacher
Febronia," she begged them.
words so affected her parents that they started mourning for
Febronia. Having asked them to allow her to go and see the
contest, she set off with a number of servants and
handmaids. As she came running in tears to the spectacle,
she met on the road throngs of women also running and
lamenting. She also came across Thomais, and having
recognized one another, they came together, lamenting and
weeping, to the site of the spectacle.
a huge crowd had gathered there, along came the judges. When
Selenos and Lysimachos had taken their seat on the tribunal,
they gave orders that Febronia be fetched. They brought her
in, with her hands tied and the heavy iron collar around her
neck. When the crowds saw her, they were all reduced to
tears and groans. As she stood there in the middle, Selenos
gave orders that the clamor cease. As a great hush fell,
Selenos said to Lysimachos, "Put the questions and take down
Lysimachos addressed her, "Tell me, young girl, what are
you, slave or freeborn?"
Febronia replied, "Slave."
"Whose slave are you, then?" asked Lysimachos.
"Christ's," said Febronia.
is your name?" asked Lysimachos.
poor Christian woman," replied Febronia.
is your name I want to know," said Lysimachos.
have already told you," replied Febronia, "the poor
Christian woman. But if you want to know my name, then I am
called Febronia by my mistress."
that point Selenos told Lysimachos to stop asking the
questions, and he himself began to interrogate Febronia:
"The gods know very well that I had not wanted to give you
the chance of being questioned; nevertheless your gentle and
meek disposition and your beautiful looks have overcome the
force of my anger against you. I am not going to question
you as though you were guilty, but instead I will urge you
as though you were my own beloved daughter. So listen to me,
my daughter. The gods are aware that I and my brother
Anthimos have arranged the betrothal of a wife for
Lysimachos, involving the transfer of a great deal of money
and property. Today, however, I will annul the betrothal
documents we made with the daughter of Prosphoros, and we
will make a firm agreement with you, and you shall be wife
to Lysimachos whom you can see sitting here now at my right.
He is very handsome, just as you are. So listen to my
advice as though I were your father; I will make you
glorious upon earth. Have no fears on the grounds that you
are poor: I have no wife alive or any children, and I will
make over to you all that I possess; I will make you
mistress of everything I have, and you shall have all this
written down in your dowry. You shall recognize the lord
Lysimachos as your husband and I shall take on the role of
your father. You shall be the object of praise throughout
the world, and all women will count you happy for having
attained to such honor. Our victorious emperor will also be
pleased and he will shower the pair of you with presents.
For he has given his promise to raise my lord Lysimachos to
the exalted throne of the glorious eparch, and he will take
on that office.
that you have heard all this, give a reply to me, your
father, which will please the gods and give joy to myself.
If, however, you resist my wishes and do not listen to my
words, the gods know very well that you will not stay alive
in my hands for another three hours. So reply as you wish."
Febronia began, "O judge, I have a marriage chamber in
heaven, not made with hands, and a wedding feast that will
never come to an end has been prepared for me. I have as my
dowry the entire kingdom of heaven, and my Bridegroom is
immortal, incorruptible, and unchangeable. I shall enjoy
him in eternal life. I will not even entertain the idea of
living with a mortal husband who is subject to corruption.
Do not waste your time, sir; you will not achieve anything
by coaxing me, nor will you frighten me by threats."
hearing these words, the judge became exceedingly angry. He
ordered the soldiers to tear off her clothes, tie her up
with rags, and let her stand there undressed, an object of
shame in front of everyone. "Let her see herself naked like
this and lament her own folly, now that she has fallen from
honor and respect to shame and ignominy."
The soldiers quickly tore off her clothes, tied her up with
rags, and made her stand undressed in front of everyone.
Selenos asked her, "What have you got to say, Febronia? Do
you see what a good opportunity you have lost, and to what
ignominy you have been reduced?"
"Listen, judge," Febronia replied, "even if you should have
me stripped completely naked, I would not think anything of
this nakedness, for there is but one Creator of males and of
fact I am not just expecting to be stripped naked from my
clothes, but I am prepared for the tortures of fire and
sword, should I be considered worthy to suffer for him who
suffered on my behalf."
impudent woman," exclaimed Selenos, "you deserve every kind
of disgrace. I know very well that you are proud of your
shapely features, and that is why you do not think it a
shame or a disgrace to stand there with your body naked; you
even imagine it adds to your splendor."
Febronia replied, "Listen, judge, my Lord God knows that I
have never seen a man's face up to this very moment, and
just because I have fallen into your hands I am called a
shameless and impudent woman! You stupid and imperceptive
man, what athlete entering the contest to fight at
Olympia engages in battle
wrapped up in all his clothes? Doesn't he enter the arena
naked, until he has conquered his adversary? I am waiting in
expectancy for tortures and burning by fire; how could I do
battle with these while I have my clothes on? Should I not
meet torture with a naked body, until I have vanquished your
father Satan, throwing scorn upon all your threats of
Selenos said, "Seeing that she is bringing tortures upon
herself, and makes light of the threat of fire, stretch her
out between four men and apply fire beneath her; let four
soldiers stand over her and lacerate her back with rods."
orders were carried out and they went on striking her for a
long time. Drops of blood ran down from both sides of her
back onto the ground like rain. A fire was lit and it burnt
her intestines. They added oil to the fire so that the
flames became hotter and started consuming Febronia's body.
they had been beating her mercilessly like this for a
considerable time, all the people begged the judge, saying,
"O merciful judge, spare the girl." He paid no attention
but instead told them to go on striking her. When he saw
that her flesh was all lacerated and was beginning to come
off in bloody strips, he told them to stop the beating.
Thinking that she was already dead, they threw her off the
Thomais saw the terrible things that were happening to
Febronia, she fainted, collapsing on the ground at Hieria's
feet. Hieria herself cried out with a loud voice, "Alas,
Febronia, my sister, alas my lady and my teacher. Today we
have been deprived of your instruction, and not just yours,
but also that of the lady Thomais, for here she is dead as
Febronia heard Hieria's voice as she lay on the ground, she
asked the soldiers to bring some water for her face. They
brought it at once and applied it to her face. This at once
revived her and she asked to see Hieria. The judge, however,
told her to stand up and answer his questions.
have you got to say, Febronia?" he asked. "How have you
fared in the first bout of the fight?"
have learnt from this first trial that I cannot be
vanquished and that I despise your tortures," replied
Selenos gave orders: "Stretch her out on a plank and comb
her flanks with iron nails; then apply fire until you burn
her very bones."
the soldiers had done as they were ordered, they began
combing her with nails until bloody strips of her flesh fell
down onto the ground. Then they applied the fire and burnt
her sides. Febronia kept her eyes toward heaven, saying,
"Come to my help, Lord. Do not desert me at this hour."
Having said this, she fell silent, severely burnt by the
of the onlookers left the scene of tortures, shocked by the
merciless cruelty of Selenos. Others cried out to the judge,
"Let the fire be removed from her." Having ordered the
removal of the fire, he wanted to interrogate her as she lay
strung on the plank, but when she was unable to answer, he
ordered that she be taken down from the plank and tied to
another bit of wood, seeing that she could not stand on her
also called for a doctor and told him, "Since this accursed
and foul woman will not reply to the judiciary, let her
tongue be cut out."
Febronia put out her tongue and motioned to a man holding a
sword to cut it off. The man approached to cut it off, but
the crowd cried out, urging the judge with oaths not to have
her tongue cut out.
instead the foul and accursed Selenos gave orders that her
teeth be pulled out. The doctor took an iron instrument and
started to pull them out, throwing them onto the ground.
he had extracted seven and a great deal of blood was coming
from her mouth, running down to the ground, the judge
ordered the doctor to stop the blood, because she was
fainting from loss of blood. The doctor applied some
medicament and stopped the flow.
wicked Selenos began questioning her again, "What have you
got to say, Febronia? Will you obey the judiciary now? Will
you acknowledge the gods?"
Febronia replied, "May you be under a curse, you ill-fated
and accursed man, for you are holding up my journey by not
letting me go straight to my betrothed. Hurry up and remove
me from the mire of this body, for my lover is watching and
waiting for me."
Selenos said, "I will destroy your body little by little in
the fire and with the sword. I am aware that so far the
courage of your youthfulness has helped on your impudence,
but you have got nothing to gain by this, for your pride has
ensured that much worse things will come upon you."
Febronia was unable to reply because of the severe pain.
This merely made the judge Selenos even angrier, and he gave
instructions to the doctor, "Let those members of the
impudent girl's body that provide milk be cut off and thrown
to the ground." The doctor straightaway took a surgeon's
knife and approached Febronia.
this the crowds gave a groan and they supplicated the judge
with the words, "My lord judge, we beseech you, let the girl
be spared this torture." As they cried out begging him, he
said angrily to the doctor, "Cut them off, you accursed
man, stranger to the life that derives from the gods." So
the doctor took up the surgeon's knife, and as he was
starting to cut off the girl's right breast, she raised her
voice heavenward and gasped in agony, saying, "Lord my God,
look at my dire affliction; may my soul come into your
hands." She spoke no more.
her two breasts had been cut off and thrown to the ground,
the judge ordered that fire be applied to the wounds. They
applied fire for quite a while and it burnt right into her.
Crowds of people could not endure these cruel and merciless
torments and so left the spectacle with the words, "Accursed
be Diocletian and his gods."
Thomais and Hieria sent a message to the convent to tell
Bryene all that had taken place. When the girl arrived at
the convent, she said to Bryene in a loud voice, "The lady
Hieria and the lady Thomais say, 'Do not let your hands that
are stretched out to heaven rest a second; do not let your
heart cease gasping out to God in prayer.'''
receiving this message, Bryene cried out to God, "Lord Jesus
Christ, come to the aid of your maidservant Febronia." She
threw herself down onto the ground in prayer for a long
time, weeping and saying, "My daughter, my daughter
Febronia, where are you?" 26
girl returned to the spectacle, whereas Bryene kept
groaning out. with her hands stretched heavenward, "Lord.
look upon the dire state of your servant Febronia; come to
her help. May my eyes see that Febronia has been crowned and
numbered with the blessed martyrs."
judge next ordered that Febronia be untied from the plank.
When she was untied, she collapsed on the ground, unable to
stand. Primus then said to Lysimachos, "Why should this
young woman perish?" Lysimachos replied, "Let it be,
Primus, her labors are for the forgiveness of many-maybe
for my own forgiveness. For I used to hear many such things
from my mother. In any case it is not in my power to have
her released and rescued. Let her gain her victory, for she
has entered this contest for the salvation of many."
Hieria got up and shouted at the judge, "You are an enemy to
the equilibrium of human nature: are you not satisfied with
the terrible things you have already brought upon this
wretched girl? Are you not reminded of your own mother, who
had the same body and wore the same sort of clothes as her?
Are you not mindful of the ill-fated day when you were born,
how you too received nourishment at those breasts flowing
with milk? I am amazed that your savage and merciless heart
has not been touched by such things. May the heavenly King
not spare you. just as you have not spared this poor girl. "
judge was enraged by Hieria's words and gave orders that she
too be brought down to be tried. On hearing this, Hieria
hurriedly came down, full of happiness, saying, "O God of
Febronia, receive me too, a poor pagan, along with my lady
she was making her way down, Selenos' friends advised him
not to bring her down in public, otherwise the entire city
would join her in martyrdom and the city would be lost.
Selenos accepted the advice, and so did not make Hieria
stand there in public; instead, flaring up in a rage, he
simply addressed her: "Listen, Hieria, as the gods live, you
have become the cause of many further sufferings for
Febronia." Whereupon he ordered both Febronia's hands and
her right foot to be cut off. The executioner immediately
brought along a block, placed it under her right hand and
struck it off with a single blow of the axe. He did the same
with her left hand. Then the executioner placed the block
under her right foot and brought down the axe, but failed to
sever the foot; he struck a second time but failed again.
The crowd in the meantime uttered gasps and groans. When he
struck her the third time with the axe, he only just managed
to sever Febronia's foot. The blessed woman's body was
quivering all over, and she was on the point of expiring;
nevertheless, she tried to put her other leg on the wooden
block, asking for it to be cut off as well. When the judge
saw what she was doing, he exclaimed, "Just look at the
perseverance of the impudent woman," and in a great fury he
said to the executioner, "Go on, cut it off."
her other foot had been cut off, Lysimachos got up and said
to Selenos, "What else have you got in store for this
wretched girl? Come on, it is time to go and eat."
wicked Selenos said, "As the gods live, I shall not leave
her still alive: I shall stay here until she is dead."
Febronia had spent a considerable time in agony, Selenos
asked the executioner, "Is the accursed woman still alive?"
"Yes," he replied, "we beg to inform you that she still has
some life in her."
Selenos gave orders for her head to be cut off. The
executioner took a sword, grabbed hold of her long
hair-like someone going to slaughter a lamb-and thus
dispatched her, cutting off her holy head.
judges straightaway got up and went off to eat. Lysimachos,
however, went off full of tears, while the crowd dashed
forward wanting to seize Febronia's body. Lysirnachos
accordingly ordered some soldiers to stay and guard her
body. He himself was full of grief and tears; he could not
eat or drink, but instead shut himself up in a room,
lamenting Febronia's death.
When his uncle Selenos learnt that Lysimachos was so
distressed, he too could not eat or drink but got up and
took a stroll in the courtyard of the praetorian. He
too was overcome by a painful depression, when all of a
sudden as he was walking he looked up to the sky, stood
there dazed for a while, and then, roaring like a bull, he
leapt up and struck his head against one of the columns,
whereupon he fell down dead.
the cry was raised, Lysimachos rushed up and stood over the
corpse, asking what had happened. On being informed he shook
his head over him, exclaiming, "Great is Febronia's God: he
has avenged her blood that was impiously shed." With these
words he gave orders that Selenos be taken out. Once this
had been done, Lysimachos called for Primus the comes
and said to him, "I adjure you by the God of the Christians,
do not disobey my instructions: quickly see to the
construction of a coffin for Febronia, to be made of the
best hardwood; and send heralds in every direction to
proclaim throughout the town that any Christians who so
desire should come without any fear to join Febronia's
funeral procession-all the more now that my cruel uncle is
dead. But do you, Primus, take those soldiers you want and
get them to carry Febronia's body and convey it to her
convent to Bryene. Do not let anyone from the crowd snatch
away anything from her body, or any of her limbs that have
been cut off; and do not let any dogs or any other unclean
animals get a chance to lick any of the holy woman's blood
that has been shed; but rather, collect up the earth where
Febronia's blood was shed and convey it to her convent."
receiving these orders from Lysimachos, the comes
Primus carried them out to the word. He had some soldiers
carry Febronia's body, while he himself took her head, feet,
and hands, all the parts of the blessed girl's body that had
been removed, and wrapped them up in his mantle; thus he
came to her convent. The crowds, however, rushed up, trying
to snatch away some part of her limbs that had been cut off,
so that the comes Primus was in considerable danger
from the violence of the crowds, and in the end the soldiers
had to hold the people off by drawing their swords.
they reached the convent, hard pressed by the crowds, they
managed to take in the saint's body without allowing anyone
else to enter, apart from Thomais and Hieria. The soldiers
held back the mass of the crowds outside, preventing them
from entering the convent.
seeing Febronia's body thus mutilated, Bryene fell down in a
faint and lay on the ground for some time. Primus, having
appointed guards to protect the convent, returned to
Lysimachos to the praetorian.
Eventually, after a considerable time, Bryene got up and
embraced Febronia's corpse, groaning as she said, "O my
daughter Febronia, today you are taken away from the sight
of your mother Bryene. Who will read the Scriptures to the
sisters? What fingers will handle your books?"
Bryene was speaking, all the sisters of the convent,
together with Etheria, turned up. They too fell upon the
holy body in tears, along with Etheria27 too,
groaning and saying, "I do homage to these holy feet that
have trampled upon the head of the dragon.28 Let
me kiss the wounds and gashes on this holy body, for by
means of them have the scars of my own soul been healed. Let
me crown with the flowers of praise this head that has
crowned our race with the beauty of these glorious
were Hieria's words as she sobbed, along with the rest of
time arrived for the service of the Ninth Hour (3
P.M.), and the abbess cried out, "My daughter Febronia, the
time for prayer has come." Then she started calling to
Febronia in Syriac, saying, "Where are you, Febronia my
daughter, my little daughter, rise up, little child, rise
up, come."29 To which Thomais said, "My sister
Febronia, you have never disobeyed the word of our lady
abbess, why do you not listen now?"
they were saying all this, there was a great commotion among
the sisters as they sobbed.
evening came, they washed the holy body of the blessed woman
and placed it on a bier. They put each of her limbs exactly
in place, and then Bryene gave instructions for the doors to
be opened for the crowds. When they had entered, they gave
glory to God. All the laywomen as well were weeping,
mourning the loss of their teacher.
of the holy fathers and many monks turned up, spending the
whole night in a vigil service. Lysimachos called for the
comes Primus and said to him, "Primus, I am renouncing
all my ancestral customs, all my inheritance and belongings.
I shall go over to Christ." To which Primus replied, "I too,
my lord, anathematize Diocletian and his rule; I renounce
everything to do with my parents, and I too will go over to
Christ." They left the praetorian and joined all the
people in the convent.
morning arrived, the coffin was brought along all ready.
They went in procession with the holy body of Febronia,
accompanied by prayers and tears; then they laid it in the
coffin, arranging each of her limbs in its proper place-that
is to say, her head, feet, and hands and the other parts,
whereas her teeth were placed on her chest. The crowds
filled the coffin with so much myrrh, must, and fine
unguents that her body could not be seen for all the
was a great noise and clamor from the crowds who would not
allow the coffin to be closed. The bishop of the town and
the rest of the monks and clergy tried hard to get them to
put the lid on but without success. Then Bryene went up to a
raised position of vantage and begged the crowds, "I beseech
you, sisters and brothers, allow her to go to her due
place." Thus the entire people yielded to Bryene's words,
and amidst prayers and tears and songs of praise, they
processed with the body of the saint, placing it in a holy
spot in the convent, all of them praising God the while.
crowds of pagans came to believe in our Lord and were
baptized. Lysimachos and Primus themselves were baptized,
and renouncing the world, they went off with the abbot
Markellinos30 to live a life pleasing to Christ,
completing their days in peace. Many of the soldiers
believed in our Lord and were baptized, as were Hieria and
her parents. Hieria left her parents, renounced the world,
and went off to the convent, which she endowed with all
that she possessed. She requested Bryene, asking her, "I beg
you, mother, let your handmaid take the place of the lady
Febronia: I will toil as she did." So Hieria threw off all
her jewelry, and she had the blessed girl's coffin covered
with gold and pearls all over.
the anniversary of the blessed girl's victory and repose,
when they celebrate her memorial, the women's convent and
many other people as well gather together. The particular
reason for this is the portent that takes place at midnight:
as they say the prayers of the night office, the blessed
Febronia is seen standing in her old place until the prayers
of the Third Hour: a great fear grips everyone for that
period, and no one dares to approach or question her. This
is because the first year that she appeared, whereas all the
other sisters were very much afraid, Bryene had cried, "It
is my daughter Febronia," and she rushed to embrace
her-whereupon Febronia vanished. Thus no one again dared
approach her; nevertheless many tears were shed at their joy
in just seeing her.
bishop of the town built a splendid and beautiful shrine to
the blessed woman, completing it in six years. When it was
finished, he invited the bishops from the surrounding towns
and gave a huge reception, holding a vigil on 24 June.31
So many people gathered that the shrine and the convent
could not contain them all; and so the service was
celebrated in several places at once. When morning came and
they had completed the hymns for the light, the bishops came
to the convent to take up the saint and lay her in the newly
built shrine. A large crowd followed them, with candles,
torches, and censers. When they had gone in to the convent
and prayed there, they sat down and called for Bryene,
addressing her as follows, "The fruits of your monastic way
of life and of your glorious labors are recognized all over
the world, and no one is able to give fitting praise. It is
appropriate for all those who are appointed abbesses to
offer up to God similar fruits. Since, however, we are
unable to express fitting praise for this holy martyr; we
will be silent, because no tongue is capable of singing her
praises. Since we can neither do nor say anything that is
worthy of her, we have come to you, as though to our own
sister, asking you to join us in honoring the glorious
martyr. Give her to us, so that she can dwell in the shrine
that has been built in her name."
hearing this, the sisters fell down at the feet of the
bishops, imploring them, "By your holy footsteps, we
beseech you have pity on us poor women: do not deprive us of
our pearl." After much time had passed while they wept and
besought the bishops, the bishop of Nisibis spoke to Bryene,
"Listen, my sister, you know what zeal I had in building
this shrine in honor and glory of this saint who is clothed
in victory; it is now six years that we have been toiling
away at its construction. Do not let it be your desire that
all our labor should prove useless and bear no fruit."
she had heard this, Bryene said, "I beg you, my lords, if it
seems good in your eyes and if it seems good to the blessed
girl herself, who am I to prevent it? Come in, then, and
take her off."
bishops got up and entered to say the Office, whereupon
Hieria started weeping and exclaiming, "Alas for us, you are
depriving our convent of a great blessing today! Alas for
us, today bereavement and affliction are come to our
convent! Alas for us, we are handing over our pearl!" She
came sobbing to Bryene, saying, "What are you doing, mother?
Why are you depriving me of my sister for whose sake I left
everything to take refuge here with you?" Bryene, seeing
Hieria in such a state, asked her, "Why are you crying, my
daughter Hieria? If she wants to go, she will go."
the bishops had finished praying and everyone had said"
Amen" after them, they approached to take up the blessed
girl's coffin. At that moment there was a clap of thunder in
the sky, and all the people fell down in fright. Then after
a while they put out their hands to take the coffin, but
this time there was a great earthquake, so that they
imagined the entire town would be ruined.
bishops and all the people thus realized that the holy
martyr did not want to leave her convent. Sorrowfully, the
bishops said to Bryene, "If the blessed woman does not want
to leave the convent, let her give us just one of her limbs
that were cut off as a blessing: we will take it and be
Bryene took a key and opened up the coffin: Febronia's body
was like a ray of the sun, and it was as though fire and
lightning were flashing out from her. Full of trepidation
Bryene stretched out her hand and touched the hand of
Febronia, wanting to give it to the bishop; but her hand
was held fast as she tried to pick it up. "I beseech you,
lady Febronia, do not be angry with your mother," implored
Bryene in tears; "remember all the toils Bryene has been
through; do not put my old age to shame." Having said this,
she returned the hand to its former place. Then she
stretched out her own hand again, this time gasping out,
"Grant us some blessing, my lady; do not disappoint us." And
she took one of her teeth that had been placed on her chest.
This she gave to the bishop and straightaway she closed the
bishops received this pearl on a gold dish and went off
rejoicing, preceded by a large crowd singing psalms as they
carried candles and censers. When they reached the shrine,
the bishops went up to a raised area and exposed the relic
to the people: all the blind, lame, and possessed were
healed. When news of this became known, boys came running up
carrying the sick on their shoulders or on beds, while
others were brought on animals; everyone was healed of
whatever disease he had.32
crowds did not allow the pearl to be put in its proper place
until people had stopped bringing the sick. Once those with
various illnesses had been healed and had given praise to
God, then the pearl was put away. This was on 25 June.
Having enjoyed such wonderful gifts, the people returned
home in peace, rejoicing and praising our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory for ever, amen.
Bryene lived for a further two years after the dedication of
the blessed woman's shrine. Having arranged everything, she
then fell asleep in peace.
the repose of my lady Bryene, I, the poor Thomais took her
place. Because I had a knowledge of everything that
happened to the blessed Febronia from the very first, and
had learnt the rest from my lord Lysimachos, I have written
down this martyrdom to the praise and glory of the glorious
woman, and for the salvation and encouragement of those who
hear it, in the hopes that their minds may be awakened at
this contest for the faith, and that they too may be held
worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven in Christ Jesus our Lord, to
whom belongs the glory and the power, for ever and ever,
May her prayers and
intercession be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
AB 76 (1958): 299.
(see Appendix) supposed that the Life was put out by an East
Syriac author in order to combat the spread of the "monophysites"
(i.e., Syrian Orthodox) in this area in the late sixth and
especially early seventh centuries. This is unlikely in view
of the fact that the earliest manuscripts of the Life
(including, dated 688) are in fact of Syrian Orthodox
3. If the
historical Febronia had lived in some sort of religious
community, it would have consisted of a group of consecrated
virgins, or "members of the qyama".
was part of the peace treaty between the two empires
subsequent to the death of the emperor Julian. It was on
that occasion that St. Ephrem migrated from Nisibis to
5. E. A.
W. Budge, The Histories of Rabban Hormizd the Persian and
Rabban Bar ‘Idta (London, 1902) 2, I: 203. For the site,
see Fiey, AC I: 278-80.
6. BHG 173.
7. R. Janin, La geographie ecclesiastique de I'empire
I, pt. 3,
Les eglises et les monasteres (Paris, 1953), 492.
features both in the Constantinopolitan Synaxary (pp.
769-72) and the Martyrium Romanum (pp. 254-55).
is an English summary of the Life by S. P. Brock in "The
Fenqitho of the Monastery of Mar Gabriel in Tur'Abdin,"
Ostkirchliche Studien 28 (1979): 174-79, esp. 176.
West Syrian Calendars, see F. Nau, Une Martyrologie et
douze Menologes syriaques, in
(1912), index; and for East Syrian, J.-M. Fiey, "Le
sanctoral syrien oriental," L'Orient Syrien 8 (1963):
for example, the illuminating remarks (in a very different
context) of M. Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible (London,
1962), 149- 52. Cf. also G. Bonner, "Martyrdom: Its Place
in the Church," Sobornost/ECR 5, no. 2 (1982): 1-21.
section numbers are those of the edition of the Greek text
in Acta Sanctorum (see Appendix); marginal figures
are the page numbers in Bedjan's edition of the Syriac.
Slynws; Greek Selenos, Armenian Silvianos.
Prosphoros is also the form of the name in the Greek,
although there is a variant reading Porphyrinos, which is
also found in the Armenian.
Greek provides a plethora of names: the Orient, the region
of Palmyra (so too the Armenian), and Mesopotamia. In 297
the old province of Mesopotamia was divided up into two
separate provinces, Osrhoene (centered on Edessa) to the
west, and Mesopotamia (centered on Nisibis) to the east.
title is anachronistic.
Corrupted to Sibapolis in the Greek, and Saba in Armenian
(for Soba, another Syriac name for Nisibis).
too the Greek; Armenian "Brion."
Greek has Platonis, and the Armenian Platon (!).
on Luke 2: 36, where the Old Syriac has "seven days" instead
of "seven years."
Syriac text has a variant reading Thaumasia.
Aitheria (so the Greek).
n. 12 in Chapter 3.
Bryene's words are much abbreviated in the Armenian.
Lybe and Leonis (the Armenian omits this section). The Greek
acts of Libye, Leonis, and Eutropia were edited by Halkin
(see Appendix); cf. also J.-M. Fiey, Nisibe, metropole
syrienne orientale (CSCO 388, Sub. 54; 1977),20.
the Greek and Armenian give a (corrupt) form of Syriac in
the Syriac manuscripts used by Bedjan, but Bedjan has
emended his text to "Hieria." the reading of the Greek; the
phrase is absent from the Armenian.
Greek and Armenian again give a corrupt form of Syriac in
Markellos in the Greek and Armenian.
3 I. So
Bedjan's text; the Greek, Latin, Armenian as well as the
manuscript(s) he cites in his apparatus, all have "25th."
Armenian ends here.