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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


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 [- - -].'

IGLS 5, no. 2611.

Liturgical Activities

Ceremony of dedication


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


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.


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.


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.


Drawing. From: IGLS 5, 263.

Drawing. From: Lammens 1900, plate 36.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


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 -