Byzantium
Martyrs From Thrace
Mark Merlino - Home page
The following is the lives of the "Martyrs of Thrace." The Greek original text can be found in PG 117:276D-277A.
As well, an on-line version of this text is made available in the
Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database. This 'Life'
recalls the events of 815 AD, during the Bulgarian occupation of Thrace, which resulted from Krum's invasion in 813
AD. The text itself is anonymous and was probably written some time between the year 815 AD and 1000 AD. This
is a good example of Middle Byzantine Hagiography and it does demonstrate the potential historical value for such
texts.The translation was completed by Mark Merlino, August 20, 2005.

The Feast Day for the Martyrs of Thrace is January 22.   
On that day was the struggle of the holy martyrs Manuel, George, Leo, Marinos and the three hundred
and seventy seven survivors. These saints, being from different provinces and places, settled in
Adrianople. Then the Bulgarians, who are thankless and forgetful, came subduing the Romans. Having
taken Thrace and Macedonia captive and attacking the Queen herself [Constantinople], they arrived at
Adrianople. Waiting for three days, they seized it. When these things happened, Leo the impious
Armenian was emperor and Krum was leader of the Bulgarian nation. When Krum, who was leader of
the Bulgarians, was in possession of the city [Adrianople], he expelled from everywhere 40,000 people.
In addition to these things, the trampled upon the most holy bishop, having thrown him to the ground
down a narrow passage. Then, Krum's life having expired, Dukum took power. And having died by his
feet, the terrible and hated Ditzevg was declared leader of the Bulgarians. He cut down the great
archbishop Manuel in public and cutting off his arms at the shoulders, he gave them as food to the dogs.
He, having been struck by a sword, was picked up by his family. Then Murtagan becoming leader. To
deny all Christians believing Christ, he six men give up the present life, throwing them down, putting
them in chains and stretching them and inflicting savage injuries on them. Later, the holy archbishop
George of Develtos and bishop Peter were savagely killed with clubs. He then cut off their heads with a
sword. He condemned Pardos the most holy priest to be stoned to a cruel death. In this way, also the
other three hundred and seventy seven people who also were thrown under all of the leaders for
punishment by the sword. Then, Leo who was bishop in most holy Nikaia [Nikaia in Thrace] with the
situation of a eunuch, they cut open his stomach with a sword. And the other Leo and John, the
commanders of the Christians, and Gabriel and Sionos, were stabbed with daggers. The most noble
George and many others were killed being punished with a variety of insults. It was not the most brutal
Mortagon alone but also those who by succession became Bulgarian leaders and raised all those having
spoken with one voice to Christ.