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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


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


Greek dedicatory inscription invoking the God of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Khirbet Futeis (ancient Photis) in the Negev desert, to the west of Beersheva, near Gaza and Menois (Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably 6th c.

Evidence ID

E04159

Type of Evidence

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

[ἐπὶ τοῦ] ὁσιωτά(του) [- - -]
[...]ἐπισκ(όπου) (καὶ) Βασ[- - -]
[ἐν μηνὶ Λ]ῴου θ', [ἰνδ. .., ἔτους ...]
Κ(ύρι)ε ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τῆς Θ[εοτόκου (?)],
πρόσδεξαι τὴν πρ[οσφορὰν τοῦ]
προσενέκαντ[ο]ς κ(αὶ) β[οήθει αὐ]-
τοὺς ἀπὸ πα
̣θ[ημά]̣τ̣ω[ν πάντων]

1-2. [καὶ μακαριωτάτου or ἁγιωτάτου or θεοφιλεστάτου] Figueras: rejected by the editors of the
SEG who expect the name of the bishop in the lacuna || 5-6. τοῦ]| προσενέκαντ[ο]ς Feissel, SEG, τῶν] | προσενεκάντ(ων) σ(οὶ) (?) Figueras

'[Under the] most pious [- - -] bishop and Bas[- - -]. On the 9th (day) [of the month] of Loos, [indiction - - -, the year - - -]. O Lord, God of the [God-Bearer (
Theotokos) (?)], accept the [offering of the] donor, and give them [succour] against [all] the sufferings!'

Text:
SEG 36, 1352, including altered restoration of line 6 by Denis Feissel in BE (1987), 528.

Non Liturgical Activity

Prayer/supplication/invocation
Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops
Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Fragment of a yellow sandstone slab. The inscribed face is damaged. H. 0.42 m; W. 0.42 m; Th. 0.10 m. Letter height c. 0.02 m. Found by David Allon at Khirbet Futeis near Ofakim (c. 24 km to the west of Beersheva, probably the site of ancient Photis) in 1950. Now probably in the Negev Museum in Beersheva.

First published by Pau Figueras in 1985 in the catalogue of an exhibition of Byzantine inscriptions, organised by the Negev Museum. Figueras offered a drawing with no Greek transcription, but included fragmentary English and Hebrew translations. The first proper edition was offered by Figueras in 1986. Denis Feissel in the
Bulletin épigraphique, and the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, suggested minor corrections to his interpretation of lines 1-2 and 5-6.

Discussion

The inscription commemorates an offering to the God of Mary, theTheotokos (the only plausible reconstruction of the lacunose inscription). As this act is described as a religious offering (prosphora), the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum speculate that this could have been a building inscription. However, it is not clear if the text really refers to the construction of a church (or other saintly structure, e.g. a chapel), or if it commemorates a different donation. Certainly, the inscription is not carved on a lintel, as was normal for building inscriptions, but on a plaque, and as the whereabouts of its precise find-spot are unknown, we can say little about the original context of this dedication.

Bibliography

Edition:
Figueras, P., "Three Dedicatory Inscriptions from the Beersheva Region", Liber Annuus 36 (1986), 266-269, no. 1 (with a photograph).

Figueras, P.,
Ketovot bizanṭiyot mi-Beʼer-Sheva' ṿeha-Negev [Byzantine Inscriptions from Beersheva and the Negev] (Negev Museum Publications 2, Beersheva: Muzeʼon ha-Negev, 1985), 12, no. 4 (drawing).

Further reading:
Bulletin épigraphique (1987), 528; (1989), 1008.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, 36, 1352.

Images



From: Figueras 1986, Plate 7.


From: Figueras 1985, 12.






















Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified

15/12/2017

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, E04159 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E04159