Olympiades
Community ID
 
4998
 
Town
 
Constantinople
 
Medieval Location
 
Adjacent to Hagia Sophia. The Life of Olympias describes the monastery as south of the church, with a special path which lead from the monastery to the narthex (ch. 6).
 
Date Terminated
 
The fate of the convent after the 7th century is unknown.
 
Foundation Information
 

NULL founded Olympiades sometime before 404, when John Chrysostom was exiled. The Life of Olympias reports that Olympias owned all the houses and shops lying south of Hagia Sophia. In this area she built her monastery (ch. 6).

 
First Members
 

The Life of Olympias reports that upon the founding of the monastery, sometime around the turn of the fifth century, Olympiades enclosed 50 of her chambermaids in the monastery to live a life of virginity. Next, Olympias' relatives Elisanthia, Martyria, and Palladia joined the monastery as well as Olympias' niece Olympia (ch. 6).

 
Notable Heads
 

Between 398-404, John Chrysostom ordained Elisanthia, Martyria, and Palladia as deaconesses (The Life of Olympias, ch. 7).

When Olympias was exiled, she entrusted the monastery to the care of her relative Marina. Elisanthia succeeded Marina (The Life of Olympias, ch. 10, 12).

In the early seventh century, Sergia acted as "mother" of the monastery. She authored Sergia's Narration; see "Literary Works" below.

 
Population Counts
 

The Life of Olympias states that 250 women lived in the monastery upon its foundation at the turn of the fifth century (ch. 6).

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

According to The Life of Olympias, only a wall separated the monastery from the episcopal residence. Because they were so close, and because of Olympias' devotion to John Chrysostom, she sent him provisions every day (ch. 8).

Sergia's Narration describes the women who lived in the Olympiades as fleeing the monastery during the Nika revolt. In the Nika revolt, the monastery burnt to the ground, and the women stayed in the monastery of St. Menas (ch. 14).

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Olympias founded the monastery. See "Foundation Information" above.

The monastery was destroyed in the Nika Revolt in 532, and the Emperor Justinian I subsequently rebuilt it and inaugurated it 537.

 
Literary Works
 

Two vitae for Olympias exist. The first is anonymous, The Life of Olympias, but does claim to have an eyewitness source who was a male relative of Olympias (15). It is common for hagiographies to claim to have an eyewitness source, and so such a statement does not guarantee that this vita was written in the early fifth century. In this text, the author praises Olympias and narrates the events of her life, including Olympias' founding of the monastery. It also includes details about the early years of the monastery after Olympias' death.

The second, Sergia's Narration, picks up the history of the monastery, describing the destruction of the monastery in the Nika revolt, Justinian's rebuilding of it, and the transfer of Olympias' remains to the monastery during the Persian attacks of the early 7th century. The author of the text, who calls herself Sergia, describes events in first person narration and claims to be "mother" of the monastery.

 
Relics
 

Sergia, in Sergia's Narration, narrates how in the seventh century during Persian attacks, she gathered Olympias' remains from the monastery of St. Thomas of Brochthoi and transferred them to the Olympiades monastery (ch. 5-6). Sergia received permission form the patriarch Sergius (p. 610-638) to transfer the remains. When the presbyter John came to bless them in the baptismal font, the relics gushed forth blood and were responsible for many miraculous healings (ch. 7-8).