Cyricus and Julitta

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Saints Cyricus and Julitta
Died~304 AD
Tarsus, Asia Minor
Venerated inAssyrian Church of the East, Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrineRelics at Nevers, and in the monastery of Saint-Amand, Tournai.
  • June 16
  • July 15 (Eastern Orthodox Church)
AttributesFrom the story involving Charlemagne, Cyricus is depicted as a naked child riding on a wild boar.
PatronagePrayed to for family happiness, and the restoring to health of sick children.

Cyricus (Aramaic: ܡܪܝ ܩܘܪܝܩܘܣ ܣܗܕܐMar Quriaqos Sahada; also Cyriacus, Quiriac, Quiricus, Cyr), and his mother, Julitta (Greek: Ἰουλίττα, Aramaic: ܝܘܠܝܛܐ‎, Yolitha; also Julietta) are venerated as early Christian martyrs. According to tradition, they were put to death at Tarsus in AD 304.


Some evidence exists for an otherwise unknown child-martyr named Cyricus at Antioch.[1] It is believed that the legends about Saints Cyricus and Julitta refer to him. There are places named after Cyricus in Europe and the Middle East, but without the name Julitta attached. Cyricus is the Saint-Cyr found in many French toponyms. The cult of these saints was strong in France after Saint Amator, Bishop of Auxerre, brought relics back from Antioch in the 4th century. It is said that Constantine I discovered their relics originally and built a monastery near Constantinople, and a church not far off from Jerusalem. In the 6th century the Acts of Cyricus and Julitta were rejected in a list of apocryphal documents by the Decretum Gelasianum, called as such since the list was erroneously attributed to Pope Saint Gelasius I.


Sculpture of St. Cyricus as a bald toddler standing in a small tub and holding a palm branch
Francesco Laurana, "St. Cyricus," Getty Center, Los Angeles

According to pseudo-Gelasius, Julitta and her three-year-old son Cyricus had fled to Tarsus and were identified as Christians.[2] Julitta was tortured and Cyricus, being held by the governor of Tarsus, scratched the governor's face and was killed by being thrown down by some stairs. Julitta did not weep but celebrated the fact that her son had earned the crown of martyrdom. In anger, the governor then decreed that Julitta’s sides should be ripped apart with hooks, and then she was beheaded. Her body, along with that of Cyricus, was flung outside the city, on the heap of bodies belonging to criminals, but the two maids rescued the corpses of the mother and child and buried them in a nearby field.

An alternative version of the story is that Julitta told the governor that his religion could not be accepted by a three-year-old child, whereupon Cyricus testified to his faith, and mother and child were tortured before being decapitated.

Cyricus and Charlemagne[edit]

A story from Nevers states that one night Charlemagne dreamed he was saved from being killed by a wild boar during a hunt. He was saved by the appearance of a child, who had promised to save the emperor from death if he would give him clothes to cover his nakedness.

The bishop of Nevers interpreted this dream to mean that he wanted the emperor to repair the roof of the Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers.



In Croatia, in the Town of Visnjan, there is a 17th-century loggia and the church of Saint Cyricis (Kvirik) and Julitta (Julita).


Cyricus (Kvirike) and Julitta (Ivlita) are venerated as patron saints of the Kala community in the highland province of Svaneti. While the saints were relatively unknown in the rest of Georgia, the Svan mountaineers held them in high esteem. The 11th-century Lagurka church, located at 2200 metres above sea and known for its wall paintings, is the scene of an all-Svan festival and pilgrimage, kvirikoba ("the day of Cyricus"), held annually on July 28.[3] In the words of the historian Ekvtime Taqaishvili, for the Svans Lagurka is what for the ancient Greeks was Delphi—the symbol of their unity.[4]


The Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta, San Quirico d’Orcia

In Italy, where they are known as Quirico (or Quilico, or Chirico) and Giulitta (or Giuletta or Giulietta ),[5] the place most commonly linked with the saints is the village of San Quirico d’Orcia in the Val d’Orcia of the Province of Siena, region of Tuscany. There a twelfth- or thirteenth-century church (pictured right), based on an eighth-century baptistery, is dedicated to them.[6] The cult, however, is common in many parts of country and more than 200 churches, monasteries, localities, etc. with signs of devotion to one or both of the saints have been identified.[7] Other communes named after them are Corvino San Quirico (Province of Pavia), San Chirico Nuovo (Province of Potenza), San Chirico Raparo (Province of Potenza), Serra San Quirico (Province of Ancona), and Santa Giuletta (Province of Pavia). Communes of whom they are patron saints include Borgo San Martino (Province of Alessandria), Cavaria in the municipality of Cavaria con Premezzo (Province of Varese), Cisternino (Province of Brindisi), Collesalvetti (Province of Livorno), and Trofarello (Province of Turin. San Quirico Province of Pistoia

In parts of Piedmont, including Centallo, Asti and Murisengo, an unconnected Saint Quirico is venerated, regarded as a member of the Theban Legion.[5]

British Isles[edit]

There are a few churches in England dedicated to Saints Cyricus and Julitta, including Newton St. Cyres in Devon, Tickenham[8] in Somerset, and Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire. In Cornwall, they can be found in the villages of Luxulyan and St Veep, and there was also once a chapel at Calstock dedicated to these two saints. In Wales there is a least one church dedicated to the saints, in Llanilid, but named as St. Ilid and St. Curig.

The cult of "St. Giric" was formerly much more widespread in Celtic Britain, however. His feast day was one of the principal Welsh holidays, as codified by the laws of Hywel Dda.[9]

Print of St Cyricus in Lacock, Wiltshire.

St Cyriac's Church, Lacock, Wiltshire, has a framed print of a similar story depicting St Cyricus boxing a governor's ears because the governor had blasphemed. The embittered governor stabs the child dead and the mother is crucified, there is no source cited for the print, the story suggests it is the same Saints Cyricus and Julitta.

Middle East[edit]

Cyricus in particular is mentioned numerous times in the daily office of the Church of the East as attested in the large collection of prayers and services known as the Hudra. The mention of a saint from Tarsus in such East Syrian traditions suggests that there was considerable early sharing of martyrological traditions despite doctrinal differences between churches.


There is a small piece of St. Cyricus / Kuriakose’s finger at St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in Puthencruz (Ernamkulam) They celebrate his Perunnal / feast on July 27, 28 and the anniversary of the relocation of his bone on Nov 13, 14 of every year. Also, a piece of his other finger can be found in St. George Dayro in Malecruze (puthencruz) in Ernamkulam. Other Claimed relics of Cyricus are preserved at St. Kuriakose Indian Orthodox Syrian Chapel, Ayyampilly, India[citation needed]. Even today, the derivative name Kuriakose is very popular among the Saint Thomas Christians in India[citation needed].


  1. ^ "Saint Martyrs Julitta (Giulietta, Julietta) and Cyricus (Kirik, Cyr, Cyriacus, Quiriac, Quiricus) mother and son of Tarsus". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  2. ^ Farmer, David Hugh (2011). "Cyricus (Cyriacus, Quiriac, Quiricus, Cyr) and Julitta". The Oxford dictionary of saints (5th ed. rev. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199596607.001.0001. ISBN 9780199596607.
  3. ^ Voell, Stéphane (2013). "Oath of Memory: The Taking of Oaths on Icons in Svan Villages of Southern Georgia". Iran & the Caucasus. 17 (2): 158, 163. JSTOR 23597593.
  4. ^ Taqaishvili, Ekvtime (1937). არქეოლოგიური ექსპედიცია ლეჩხუმ-სვანეთში [Archaeological expedition to Lechkhumi and Svaneti] (PDF) (in Georgian). Paris. pp. 179–184.
  5. ^ a b Santi Quirico e Giullita : I lori nomi Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine (in Italian)
  6. ^ For a description and history of the church see Collegiata dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta (in English)
  7. ^ See the list at Santi Quirico e Giullita: Il culto in Italia Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 343. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan. 2013.

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