Sirmian Martyrs in Exile Pannonian Case-Studies Anda Re-Evaluation of The St. Demetrius Problem

Byzantinische Zeitschrift 103 (1):145-170 (2010)

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Abstract
The question of the origins of the cult of the fourth century martyr, Demetrius of Thessalonica has been the focal point of hagiographical research since the first publication of his passions by the Bollandists in 1780. Since then there were the most divergent hypotheses put forward to explain the obscure beginnings of his Thessalonican basilica and his alleged connection to Sirmium and its martyred deacon, Demetrius. Different ideas and assumptions were proposed based on various arthistorical, archaeological and literary observations, or sometimes relying only on national ideologies or even pure fantasy. However, there were no attempts made to put the whole problem into the wider context of the Illyrian hagiographic tradition and to make a detailed comparison between St Demetrius' cult and the afterlife of other Pannonian and Illyrian martyrs. In the present paper, then, after a critical analysis of the problem and its proposed solutions, a number of comparative case-studies will be carried out aiming to map the basic tendences of the afterlife of the martyrs of Late Antique Illyricum which presumably will help us to have a better view of the whole problem of the migration of the Illyrian martyrs and to provide a fresh solution for the origin and development of St Demetrius' cult
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DOI 10.1515/BYZS.2010.011
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