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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 for a church (oikos) dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), possibly by a miaphysite group. Found at Khirbet et-Tīn, to the west of Ḥimṣ/Emesa (northwest Phoenicia). Dated 592.

Evidence ID

E01949

Type of Evidence

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

ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιοτάτου Δοσιθ[έου ἐπισ]κόπ[ου ἡμῶν (?)]
+ ἐθεμελιώ- + μηνὶ Ἀρτεμε-
θη ὁ οἶκος τῆς σίου αλʹ τοῦ
ἁγίας Μαρίας γϡʹ {τοῦ} ἔτους, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ιʹ,
+ ἐπὶ Σεργίου πρ(εσβυτέρου)
[- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]


1. ἐπισ]κόπ[ου ἡμῶν (?) or Ἐμισηνῶν (?) Jalabert Lammens

'Under [our (?)] most holy bishop Dositheos. + The church (
oikos) of the Holy Mary was founded. + On the 31st (day) of the month of Artemisios, in the 903th year, 10th indiction. + Under the presbyter Sergios [- - -].'

Text:
IGLS 5, no. 2611.

Liturgical Activities

Ceremony of dedication

Festivals

Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Construction of cult buildings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops
Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Source

Probably a large basalt lintel. H. 0.62 m; W. 2.62 m. Decorated with low-relief carvings of crosses within circles in the middle and at both ends. Reused in a wall in a field.

First recorded by Henri Lammens and published with a drawing in 1900. Revisited and probably photographed by Sébastien Ronzevalle, a Jesuit and scholar of historical geography, archaeology, and Semitic epigraphy, based in Beirut. A new reading was offered in 1959 in the fifth volume of
Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie by Louis Jalabert, based on a photograph.

Discussion

The inscription commemorates the construction of a church (here named oikos) of 'the Holy Mary'. The editors note that the fact that she is not called Θεοτόκος/'the God-Bearer' may mean that the church was built by a miaphysite community. Cf. E01937 with an invocation of the help of 'the Holy Mary' for clerics from Emesa; also E01953.

Bishop Dositheos, occurring in line 1, apparently resided in Emesa (hence the alternative restoration by Lammens and Jalabert: ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιοτάτου Δοσιθ[έου ἐπισ]κόπ[ου Ἐμισηνῶν (?)]/'Under Dositheos, bishop [of the city of Emesa]'.)

Dating: the inscription is dated according to the Seleucid era. Its year 903 corresponds to AD 590/591; the mention of the month of Artemisios allows for narrowing the date to AD 591.


Bibliography

Edition:
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2611 (with a drawing).

Lammens, H., “Le pays des Nosairis. Itinéraire et notes archéologiques”,
Le musée belge: revue de philologie classique 4 (1900), 300, no. 36 (with a drawing).

Further reading:
Leclercq, H., "Nosairis", Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et liturgie, vol. 12/2 (Paris: Librarie Letouzey et Ané, 1936), col. 1622.

Images



Drawing. From: IGLS 5, 263.


Drawing. From: Lammens 1900, plate 36.






















Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified

26/10/2017

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of Christἁγία ΜαρίαCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01949 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E01949