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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Greek building inscription invoking *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), asked to help the founders and donors of her shrine (hagios oikos). Found at Dāna/Al-Dana, between Antioch-on-the-Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria) in Jabal Halaqa. Probably 5th-7th c.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

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

+ ἁγία Μαρία πρόσδεξε τὴν δέησιν πονησάντ[ων καὶ καρπο]-
φορησάντων καὶ κτισάντων ἅγιον οἶκόν σου [- - - - - - -]
[- - - - - - - -]ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) Σεπτ[εμβρίου - - -].

'+ Holy Mary, accept the pleading of those who built, and made offerings, and founded your holy house (
hagios oikos) [- - -] indiction, [on - - -] (of the month) of September.'

IGLS 2, no. 494.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Construction of cult buildings


A stone lintel. H. 0.60 m; W. 1.70 m. When recorded, it was reused in a stable at Dāna. The last eight letters of line 1 were covered by a perpendicular wall.

First published by Fyodor Uspensky in 1902, from a copy by Froment, a French officer stationed in Syria and mapping the Syrian interior. Republished by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939.


The inscription was probably originally displayed above a doorway of a sanctuary dedicated to Mary, here named 'the holy house'/ἅγιος οἶκος. The supplicants are described by three different participles, but probably they all refer to the founders and donors, and not the workmen hired for the construction of the church. As the names of the founders are not mentioned, we cannot say whether they belonged to one family or a local community, e.g. village.

Dating: Unfortunately the dating formula in line 3 is almost completely lost. However, as the dedicatee is Mary, the inscription is unlikely to predate the mid-5th c., as her cult became popular only after the council of Ephesos 431.


Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 494.

Uspensky, F., “”, Izvestiya russkago arkheologicheskago instituta v Konstantinopole 7 (1902), 198.

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, E01804 -