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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 from a boundary stone marking the asylum of a church, or churches, dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) and *Kosmas and Damianos (brothers, physician martyrs of Syria, S00385). Found at Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably 6th c.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

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

+ ὅροι ἄ-
συλοι τ-
ῆς δεσ-
ἡμῶν τ(ῆς)
(καὶ) τῶν ἁ-
γίων Κ-
οσμᾶ (καὶ)
νοῦ δω-
[ντες -]
[- - -]

'+ Boundaries of the asylum of Our Lady the God-Bearer (
Theotokos) and of Saints Kosmas and Damianos, bestowed [by - - -].'

IGLS 5, no. 2002.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Seeking asylum at church/shrine
Awarding privileges to cult centres


Stone stele, broken and lost at top and bottom, reused in a wall in the east section of the city. H. 1.38 m; W. 0.315 m; Th. 0.12 m. Letter height 0.07-0.08 m.


The inscription marked the boundaries of the asylum of a church, or churches, of Mary and of the physician martyrs Kosmas and Damianos. The editors suggest that only one church is meant here and that it was dedicated to all three saints, but two churches is more likely.

Dated boundary stones are usually authorised by 6th c. emperors. Our inscription is likely to be of the same date.


Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2002.

Prentice, W.K. (ed.),
Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 276, no. 350.

Uspensky, F., “”, Izvestiya russkago arkheologicheskago institutα v Konstantinopole 7 (1902), 148.

Further reading:
Cosentino, S., "Boundary marks and space organization in early Byzantine epigraphy", in: Ch. Stavrakos (ed.), Inscriptions in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine history and history of art : proceedings of the international symposium "Inscriptions: Their Contribution to the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine History and History of Art" (Ioannina, June 26-27, 2015) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag in Kommission, 2016), 100, note 16.

Devreesse, R., Le Patriarcat d'Antioche depuis la paix de l'Église jusqu'a la conquête arabe (Paris: J. Gabalda et cie, 1945), 182, note 9.

Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, II, Les deux Phénicies et et les deux Syries",
Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949), 102, note 2.

Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C.,
Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), 317 (addendum).

Leclercq, H., "Droit d'asile", DACL, vol. coll. 1556-1557.

Wenger, L., “Ὅροι ἀσυλίας”,
Philologus 86 (1931), 431.


Majuscule edition. From: Prentice 1908, 276.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΘεοτόκοςCertain
S00385Kosmas and Damianos, brothers, physician martyrs of SyriaΚοσμᾶς καὶ ΔαμιανόςCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01926 -