Carpus and Papylus

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Saints Carpus and Papylus
Died 165 AD or 251 AD
Pergamum, Asia Minor
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast April 13 Roman Catholicism; October 13

Saint Carpus and Papylus (Karpos and Papylos) are venerated as Christian martyrs together with Saints Agathodorus and Agathonica (Agathonice, Agathonike).[1] According to tradition, Carpus was a bishop of Thyateira (present-day Akhisar, Turkey), Papylus was a deacon, and Agathodorus was Carpus’s servant.[1] Agathonica was Papylus’s sister. They were killed in 251 AD at Pergamum during the persecutions of Decius.[1] Another tradition, which is mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea, holds that they died about the time Polycarp and Justin Martyr were executed during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, between AD 155-165.[2]

The version of their legend that states that they died during the reign of Decius in the third century states that Carpus and Papylus were arrested by the Roman authorities.[3] When they refused to worship the Roman gods, they were led through Pergamum in chains, and then tied to horses and dragged to Sardis. Agathodorus and Agathonica followed Carpus and Papylus to Sardis, and there Agathonica was strangled to death with ox sinews.[3] The men were all decapitated.[3]


The martyrion of Saints Carpus and Papylus.

A shorter form of the account of the saints’ martyrdom was published in 1881 in the Revue Archavalogique (Dec., p. 348 sq.), after it had been discovered in a Greek manuscript in the Paris Library.[3] The longer form of the account is the one that assigns the death date to the reign of Decius.[3] The shorter account, considered more trustworthy, simply describes Carpus and Papylus as Christians rather than as a bishop and deacon, respectively.[3] Papylus also describes himself as a citizen of Thyateira.[3] Contrary to the tradition that they died during the reign of Decius, the scholar Adolf von Harnack “has proved beyond all doubt that these martyrs were put to death during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, and that the shorter document which we have contains a genuine account related by an eye-witness.”[3]

A church dedicated to Carpus and Papylus was built in Constantinople in the late 4th or early 5th century,[4] the substructure of which survives near the 19th century Church of Saint Menas of Samatya.


  1. ^ a b c "The Holy Martyrs Carpus and Papylus.". Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK. 1985. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 4.15
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Saints Carpus, Papylus (and Agathonice/Agathonike, and Agathodorus), 13 April (and 13 October in some Jurisdictions)". THE SOCIETY OF CLERKS SECULAR OF SAINT BASIL. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Saint Karpos and Papylos". Byzantium 1200. 2004. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 

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