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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 reused sarcophagus with an invocation of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Kalliopi (island of Lemnos; Aegean Islands). Possibly late antique.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

μί(τη)ρ θ(εο)ῦ

ἡ δού- λη τοῦ
θ(εο)ῦ Καλή

'Mother of God. (Here lies) the servant of God Kale.'

IG 12,8, no. 42.

Non Liturgical Activity


Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



A tuff sarcophagus. The inscription was carved on one of the long faces, apparently in the Christian period. Letter height 0.015-0.035 m. The sarcophagus also bears poorly preserved pagan epitaphs for previous owners.

Found near the modern church of St. Anna, at the village of Kalliopi. Seen and copied (drawing, squeeze) by Carl Friedrich before 1909.


The inscription is an invocation of Mary, probably on behalf of the person buried in the sarcophagus, a certain woman named Kale.

Dating: Such short invocations are usually undatable, but the presence of the 'servant-of-God' formula points to a fairly late period: possibly the late 5th/7th c., or even middle Byzantine times.


Friedrich, C. (ed.), Inscriptiones Graecae, vol. 12, part 8: Inscriptiones insularum maris Thracici: Lemnos, Imbros, Samothrace, Thasos, Skiathos (etc.) and Skyros (Berlin: Apud G. Reimerum, 1909), no. 42.

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.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01728 -