Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. William D. Acres


This thesis explores the legacy of the Emperor Julian “the Apostate” (reigned 361-363), represented through the lens of Orthodox hagiography and iconography. Relying upon conventional hagiographic themes, the Eastern Church articulated and preserved through accounts of Julian’s saints an image of the Emperor divergent from the one he would project.

Rather than a champion of religious freedom, he is represented as an Emperor whose apostasy led to paganism, idolatry and sacrifice, and correspondingly, to moral heroism, martyrdom and suffering Christian witness in response. Through Julian’s martyrs as represented in the 1998 Synaxarion, the experience of suffering and the significance of this witness axe examined.

The argument shows how Julian’s policy was turned to the Church’s advantage in a subversion executed in fine theological detail. Julian’s central legacy is found in a Christian calendar commemorating saints who opposed him, and who ensure his perpetual remembrance as a persecutor of the Church.



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