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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 with a prayer addressed to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found probably at er-Rouḥaiye, to the east of Apamea on the Orontes and Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably later 5th-7th c.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

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

[ἔτ(ους) -ʹ, -ʹ Δ]ύστρου, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) εʹ. ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς κ(αὶ) σωτ[ηρίας]
[- - -]ρου τῶν Γαδδ- ανα κ(αὶ) Μάρθα ΝΤ[- - -]
[- - -]ας αὐτοῦ· Θεοτώ- κε, πρόσδεξε Χ[- - -].

'[In the year -, - of the month] of Dystros, 5th indiction. As a vow and for the salvation of [- - -]ros, sons of the Gaddanas, and of Marthas (?) [- - -] his. O God-Bearer (
Theotokos), accept [- - -].'

IGLS 4, no. 1881bis.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Construction of cult buildings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Stone lintel. Decorated with a carving of a cross consisting of four letters Γ, framed by a square. There is no published description and image.

First published in 1955 by René Mouterde from a copy by Jean Lauffray. Reportedly found at 'Er-Rhāyel', a placed identified by Mouterde as er-Rouḥaiye near Apamea and Ḥamāh/Amathe.


The inscription commemorates the fulfillment of a vow. Its object was apparently the construction of the building on which the inscription was displayed, probably a church dedicated to Mary, as an offering to her is mentioned in the partially preserved line 3.

The identity of the donors is not clear. Mouterde supposed that οἱ Γαδδανα, occurring in line 2, were probably members of a local tribe. Their names were probably mentioned in the lacuna preceding this expression. The presumed reference to a tribal group is followed probably by the Syriac male name Marthas (and not the female Martha; cf.
SEG 26,1545; IGLS 1, no. 111, 174; IGLS 2, no. 480). Ignacio Peña suggested that the dedicants might have been children of a certain Gaddanas and Martha, but the first name is otherwise unattested and the second name is not the correct genitive form of the name Martha.

Dating: unfortunately, the dating formula at the beginning of line 1 is partially lost. However, as Mary is named here Θεοτόκος/'the God-Bearer', the inscription is likely to postdate the council of Ephesos 431 which contributed to the spreading of her cult under this name. A date in the 6th or 7th is probable.


Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, Cl., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 4: Laodicée, Apamène (BAH 61, Paris: Librairie orientalise Paul Geuthner, 1955), no. 1881bis.

Further reading:
Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 14.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΘεοτώκοςCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01893 -