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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

Greek inscription on a boundary stone of a church dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found near Eresos (Lesbos, the Aegean Islands). Probably late antique.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

ὅροι τῆς ἁγίας Μαρίας

'Boundaries (of the church) of the holy Mary.'

Text: Conze 1865, 34, note 1.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Awarding privileges to cult centres
Seeking asylum at church/shrine


A white marble block, found near Eresos (Lesbos) in the summer of 1858 by Alexander Conze in a ruined church named Panagia Στὰ χλιαρά ('the All-holy one by the hot springs'). There is no detailed description of the stone.


The inscription marked the boundaries of the asylum site or an estate belonging to a church dedicated to the 'holy Mary'. The fact that Mary is here identified by her name and the epithet ἁγία (holy), is remarkable, as she is usually venerated as the God-Bearer/Θεοτόκος in Greek inscriptions from the Aegean Islands and Anatolia.

For a boundary stone with a similar formula, see: E00910.

Though this inscription does not say so explicitly, boundary stones were usually bestowed upon sanctuaries by emperors.

Dating: Probably late antique (based on the context of other dated boundary stones), but any reliable attempt to date the inscription would require an examination of the script; and there is no drawing or photograph of the stone.


Conze, A., Reise auf der Insel Lesbos (Hannover: C. Rümpler, 1865), 34, note 1.

Further reading:
Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 376.

Robert, L.,
Hellenica, Recueil d'épigraphie, de numismatique et d'antiquités grecques, vol. 10: Dédicaces et reliefs votifs, villes, cultes, monnaies et inscriptions de Lycie et de Carie. Inscriptions et topographie. Inscriptions de Phocée et des Dardanelles, Péripolarques, monnaie de Thibron (Paris: Librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient, Ed. Maisonneuve, 1955), 230, note 1.

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (1956), 200.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΜαρίαCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01219 -