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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription with a reference to a ship named after *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) as the founder (sic!) of the mosaic. Found at Mastichari (Kos, the Aegean Islands). Probably 500-554.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

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

Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

(ivy leaf) Εὐστοχιανὴ
ἡ κοσμιοτάτη
ναυκλήρισσα κὲ Μαρία ἡ νεὸ[ς]
αὐτῆς ἐψήφωσαν
τὴν στοάν

ivy leaf) Eustochiane, the most orderly ship-owner, and Maria, her ship, paved this stoa with a mosaic.'

Text: Orlandos 1966, 96-97, no. 7.

Places Named after Saint


Non Liturgical Activity

Saint as patron - of an individual
Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans


A mosaic inscription from the basilica in Mastichari on Kos. The church is sited near the seashore. H. 1,16 m; W. 1,05 m. The mosaic is embedded in the floor, next to the entrance to the northern aisle from the narthex. Below the inscription there is a depiction of a chalice flanked by two doves.


The inscription commemorates the paving of the northern aisle of the church by a certain Eustochiane, a ship-owner. Interestingly, the ship, owned by the woman, named after Mary, Mother of Christ, is introduced as the second founder, to stress that the revenues it had provided were used for this undertaking. For further commentary on naming ships by Christian owners, see: Bulletin épigraphique (1956), 3; (1967), 683, and E01232.

The identity of Eustochiane is unclear, but she might be a daughter (or mother) of Eustochianos of
aidesimotatos rank, keeper of precious objects owned by the church (ὁ αἰδεσιμώτατος ἐνθηκάριος = σκευοφύλαξ?), who paved a room in the south-eastern part of the same church together with his wife, Passkasia, as an ex-voto offering on behalf of themselves and their unnamed children (see: Orlandos 1966, 94-95, no. 4; Orlandos 1955, 287). Another mosaic from this church mentions Eustochiane, wife of the deacon Timotheos (see: Orlandos 1966, 95-96, no. 5), possibly also identical with the founder of our mosaic.

Dating: the mosaic probably predates the 7th c., when travelling across the Aegean Sea became dangerous because of the Arab raids. Orlandos, based on the archaeological context, argued that the mosaics in the northern part of the church were made in the first half of the 6th c., probably soon before the earthquake of 554, which seriously damaged the buildings on the island and was mentioned by Agathias (II 16, see: Orlandos 1966, 88).


Pelekanides, T., Atzaka, P., Σύνταγμα των παλαιοχριστιανικών ψηφιδωτών δαπέδων της Ελλάδος - Ι. Νησιωτική Ελλάς (Thessaloniki: 1974), 73, no. 4.

Guarducci, M. (ed.),
Epigrafia greca, vol. 4: Epigrafi sacre pagane e cristiane (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato - Libreria dello Stato, 1978), 373-374.

Orlandos, A.K., Δύο παλαιοχριστιανικαί βασιλικαί της Κώ, ΑΡΧΑΙΟΛΟΓΙΚΗ ΕΦΗΜΕΡΙΣ (1966), 96-97, no. 7.

Orlandos, A.K.,
"Έκθεσις περί του έργου της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικἠς Εταιρείας κατά το έτος 1955", Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας , 110 (1955), 27-28.

Further reading:
Diamanti, Ch., Εντόπια Παραγωγή και Εισαγωγή Αμφορέων στην Αλάσαρνα της Κω (5υς-7υς αι.). Συμβολή στην Έρευνα της Παραγωγής και Διακίνησης των Υστερορωμαϊκών / Πρωτοβυζαντινών Αμφορέων της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου [Local Production and Import of Amphoras at Halasarna of Kos Island (5th-7th c.). Contribution to the Research of the Production and Distribution of the Late Roman / Proto-Byzantine Amphoras of the Eastern Mediterranean] (Athens: Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών Σαριπόλειο Ίδρυμα, 2010), 26.

Orlandos, A.K, Ανασκαφή εις Μαστιχάρη της Κώ, Πρακτικά της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 110 (1955), 284-287.

Pallas, D.,
Les monuments paléochretiens de Grèce découverts de 1959 à 1973 (Sussidi allô studio délie antichità cristiane 5, Vatican 1977), 230-233.

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (1961), 457; (1968), 391.


Plan of the church; from: Pallas 1977, plate after p. 230.

Mosaic of Eustochiane; from: Pelekanides & Atzaka 1974, plate 44.

Mosaic of Eustochios; from: Pelekanides & Atzaka 1974, plate 44.

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, E01238 -