Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Greek building inscription commemorating a construction (ktisma) 'in the name of the God-Bearer (Theotokos)', i.e. *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Salamiye (ancient Salamias), to the northeast of Ḥimṣ/Emesa (northwest Phoenicia). Dated 604.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

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

ἐπληρόθι τὸ κτίσμα τοῦτο [ἐ]ν ὀνό[μα]τι τῆς Θεο[τόκου], ἐμ μηνὶ Ἰουνίου, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ζʹ, τοῦ ειϡʹ ἔτους

'This building (
ktisma) was completed in the name of the God-Bearer (Theotokos), in the month of June, indiction 7, of the 915th year.'

IGLS 5, no. 2512. Translation: William Prentice, lightly adapted.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Places Named after Saint

Towns, villages, districts and fortresses

Non Liturgical Activity

Construction of cult buildings


Basalt lintel from a vaulted building, situated in the middle of the village, to the west of the mosque. H. 0.76 m; W. 3.02 m. The doorway was closed by stones and mud. The inscription is in low-relief. Letter height 0.09 m. Below the inscription there is a band with a carving of a grape-vine and the jambs are decorated with geometric patterns.

Seen by Martin Hartmann on 21st May 1887 and first published by him in 1901. Revisited by the American Expedition to Syria and republished with a photograph by William Prentice in 1908. Revisited by René Mouterde and republished in 1959. In 2002 Jean-Claude Decourt survyed the site but the stone, together with many other epigraphic monuments of Salamias, was lost.


Mouterde suggested that the building was a church. Decourt interpreted the expression 'was completed in the name of the God-Bearer' as a statement that the church was dedicated to Mary, but Denis Feissel in the Bulletin épigraphique notes that the building need not be a church at all. Feissel points out that a very similar formula is used another inscription form Salamias (E01680), regarding a ktisma built 'in the name of the Holy Trinity', encompasing an oratory of *Sergios, which he believes, was a fortress.

Dating: the date is computed according to the Seleucid era. The month of June of its 915th year corresponds to June AD 604, which fits the 7th indiction.


Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2512.

Prentice, W.K. (ed.),
Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 237, no. 287 (with a photograph).

Hartmann, M., "Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Syrischen Steppe (Schluss)", Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 23 (1901), 108, no. 4.

Further reading:
Decourt, J.-Cl., "Inscriptions grecques de Salamya/Salamias", in: P.-L. Gatier, B. Geyer, M.-O. Rousset (eds.), Entre nomades et sédentaires. Prospections en Syrie du Nord et en Jordanie du Sud (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée 55; Conquête de la steppe 3, Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2010), 110-111.

Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 113 (mentioned).

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (2011), 600.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graceum 60, 1687.


Photograph. From: Prentice 1908, 237.

Majuscule edition. From: Hartmann 1901, 108.

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, E01944 -