Great martyr Artemius of Antioch (died in 362) was a general of the Roman army under the reigns of Emperor Constantine I and his son Constantius II. Died of torture under the Emperor Julian the “Apostate”.

Information about Artemius is contained in Acts by Ammianus Marcellinus and Church History by Philostorgius that survived to our days in the narration of the Patriarch Photius of Constantinople. The hagiography of the saint was complied by monk John of Rodos.

According to this work, Artemius descended from a noble Roman family. He was a military leader who fought in the battles that the future emperor Constantinus conducted against his co-rulers for establishing autocratic power in the empire. Artemius witnessed a miraculous apparition to Constantine at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, it was “a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words ‘En tout? níka (‘in this sign you will conquer’). This vision terrified Constantine and his army, which, not knowing where to go, followed him watching the miracle.” Shocked by the vision, Artemius believed in Christ.

After the Emperor Constantine’s death, Artemius became an advisor of Constantius II, the son of Constantine the Great. Constantius II sent Artemius to the city of Patras to bring the relics of the apostles Andrew and Luke. The relics of the apostles were solemnly removed to Constantinople and placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, whose construction had begun during the reign of the Emperor Constantine who wanted to remove there the relics of all twelve apostles. Sometime later, Artemius was appointed governor of Alexandria.

The Emperor Julian the “Apostate” who succeeded Constantius on the throne resumed the repression of the Christians. Artemius denounced Julian for him impiety and brutality towards the Christians. As a result, Artemius was charged of murdering the Emperor’s brother and imprisoned. After being tortured and held in prison without food, Artemius was beheaded. His body was transferred to Constantinople and placed in the Church of John the Baptist on Mount Oxia. His relics performed numerous miracles.

In Byzantine and Russian art, Great martyr Artemius is portrayed as a middle-aged man with long hair and a short split beard, dressed in an armor suit and a himation, with a cross or military accessories (aspear and a shield) in hands, such as a 17th century icon of St. Artemius from the Yaroslavl Art Museum.

The feast day of Great Martyr Artemius is November 2nd (October 20th O.S.)

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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