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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Fragmentary Greek painted inscription on a column, with an invocation of God as the Lord and an acclamation of Tyre as the city of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), here named the God-Bearer. Found at Tyre (west Phoenicia). Probably 6th or 7th c.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

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

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Κ(ύρι)ε σῶσον,
Κ(ύρι)ε ἐλέησον
Τύρος ἡ πόλις τῆς Θεοτόκου

1-2. less probably κὲ σῶσον, κὲ ἐλέησον Rey-Coquais

'O Lord, save (us?), O Lord have mercy! Tyre, the city (
polis) of the God-Bearer.'

I. Tyr 2, no. 94.

Places Named after Saint

Towns, villages, districts and fortresses

Non Liturgical Activity

Saint as patron - of a community


Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies


Red painted inscription on a collapsed white marble column, broken on top. L. 0.40 m; letter height 0.05 m. Very fine lettering. The preserved part of the inscription is written just below the break in the column.

Found at the northeast end of the lower road (aligned southeast – northwest). First published by Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais in 2006.


The inscription is an invocation of God as the Lord, followed by an acclamation of Tyre as the city of the God-Bearer (Theotokos). The layout of accents suggests that we may have here a piece of rhythmical prose.

The editor, Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais, notes that faint traces of the lower parts of letters were visible above the first preserved line, but he was unable to identify them. He supposes, however, that the lost fragment was short and could have contained a very common formula: Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει/'Lord help!' This is, of course, possible but unsupported by any reliable evidence.

In his comments Rey-Coquais notes that we are dealing with an official inscription with a request for help for the city itself, echoing the peculiar devotion of its citizens to Mary. Such an idea is justified by the high quality of the lettering of the inscription, and by the fact that at least two churches in Tyre were dedicated to Mary (see: E01697).

For similar expressions, see: E00742 (a request for help for Ephesos, addressed to Mary, where the cathedral church was dedicated to her) and E01046 (Diokaisareia in Isauria named the city of Saint *Loukios).

Dating: the editor says nothing about the possible date of the inscription, but the shape of letters points to the 6th or 7th c.


I. Tyr 2 – Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais (ed.), Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de Tyr, vol. 2 (BAAL: Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises, supplement III, Beyrouth: Ministère de la Culture, Direction Générale des Antiquités, 2006), 72, no. 94.

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (2007), 513.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 56, 1877.


From: I. Tyr 2, 72.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΘεοτόκοςCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01765 -