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E00745: Fragmentary Greek inscription with a partially preserved imperial letter bestowing privileges upon the church of *John the Apostle and Evangelist (S00042) in Ephesos (western Asia Minor), apparently from the emperor Justinian or one his successors (527-610).

online resource
posted on 2015-09-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ δε]σπ(ότου) ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. βασιλεὺ(ς)
[Φλ(άουιος) Ἰουστινιανοὺ]ς Ἀλ<α>μανικοὺς Γοτθικοὺς Γερ-
[μανικοὺς Ἀλανικοὺς] Εὐανδαλικοὺς Ἀφρικοὺς ἔνδοξος
[νικητὴς καὶ τρ]οπεοῦχος ἀεισέβαστος Αὔγουστ(ος)·
5 [πάσαις ταῖς ἐκκλη]σίαις τῆς ὀρθοδόξου πίστεως τὴν
[δέουσαν πρ]οσήκει τιμὴν προσάγεσθαι, καὶ κατὰ τοῦ-
[τῷ καὶ τῷ σ]εβασμίῳ οἴκῳ τοῦ ἀποστόλου
[Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐν Ἐ]φ̣έσῳ διακειμένῳ κατὰ τὴν δύνα-
[μιν ἡμ]ῶν προνοίᾳ τοῦτο μὲν τοῦ μακαριω-
10 [τάτου προ]̣έ̣δρου τοῦτο δὲ τοῦ περιβλέπτου
[ἀνθυπάτου τῆς Ἀσίας - - -]

1. βασιλεὺ[ς] Grégoire || 2. [Ἰουστινιανὸ]ς Grégoire, [Φλ. Ἰουστινιανοὺ]ς I. Ephesos || 2-3. Γερ|[μανικοὺς ---] Εὐανδαλικοὺς Grégoire, Γερ|[μανικοὺς Ἀλανικοὺς] Εὐανδαλικοὺς I. Ephesos, Ἀντικούς or Φραγγικούς Amelotti & Migilardi Zingale || 3. Ἀφρικοὺς omittit Grégoire || 4. [νικητὴς καὶ τρ]οπεοῦχος I. Ephesus, [νικητὴς τρ]οπεοῦχος Grégoire || ἀεισέβαστος Amelotti & Migilardi Zingale || 5. [πάσαις ταῖς ἐκκλη]σίαις I. Ephesos, [ἐπειδὴ ταῖς ἐκκλη]σίαις Grégoire || 6-7. κα[ὶ] | [τῷ ἁγίῳ σ]εβασμίῳ οἴκῳ Amelotti & Luzzatto Chryzos Grégoire, καὶ κατὰ τοῦ|[το καὶ τῷ σ]εβασμίῳ I. Ephesos Amelotti & Migilardi Zingale || 8. [Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐν Ἐ]φ̣έσῳ I. Ephesos || 8-9. κατὰ τὴν δύνα|[μιν ἡμ]ῶν Amelotti & Luzzatto Grégoire, κατὰ τὴν δύνα[μιν - - -]ῶν I. Ephesos, κατὰ τὴν δύνα|[μιν τῶν νόμ]ων Amelotti & Migilardi Zingale || 9. προνοία or προνοίᾳ I. Ephesus || 9-10. μακαριωτάτου | [πατριάρχου Ἐπι]φα[νί]ου Grégoire Amelotti & Luzzatto, μακαριωτάτου | [τῆς Ἐφεσίων προ]έδρου Chrysos, τοῦ μακαριω|[τάτου προ]έδρου I. Ephesos || 11. [ἀνθυπάτου τῆς Ἀσίας - - -] Feissel (BE), [κόμητος τῆς Ἕω ---] Grégoire, [κόμητος ---] I. Ephesos Amelotti & Migilardi Zingale

'[In the name of] our Lord Jesus Christ. [Fl(avius) Justinianus] Alamanicus, Gothicus, Ger[manicus, Alanicus,] Vandalicus, Africus, the glorious [conqueror] and triumphator, forever emperor, Augustus. It is fitting to bestow due honour upon [all the] churches of the orthodox faith, and, accordingly, also upon the reverend house of the Apostle [John, which] lies in Ephesos, according to [our] power, by the care/under the supervision partly of the most blessed president (of this see) [i.e. the bishop of Ephesos], and partly of the vir spectabilis, [proconsul of Asia - - -]'

Text: PHI Ephesos 2906 (with several alterations, see the apparatus). Translation: E. Rizos, P. Nowakowski)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Canonical and legal texts


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Ephesus Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Awarding privileges to cult centres

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Officials Ecclesiastics - bishops


A white marble tabula ansata found behind the colonnade of the Arcadiana Street, in the centre of Ephesos, in front of the agora gate. H. 0.64 m; W. 0.53 m; Th. 0.1 m; letter height 0.02 m.


The inscription gives the beginning of an imperial letter concerning privileges awarded to the church of *John the Evangelist in Ephesos. Henri Grégoire dated the inscription to the episcopacy of Epiphanios, patriarch of Constantinople (520-536) whose name he believed occurred in ll. 9-10: προνοίᾳ τοῦτο μὲν τοῦ μακαριωτάτου | [πατριάρχου Ἐπι]φα[νί]ου. However, Chrysos and then Merkelbach, Knibbe and Engelmann rejected this reading and substituted it with: προνοίᾳ τοῦτο μὲν τοῦ μακαριω|[τάτου προ]έδρου, which made Grégoire's dating no longer justified. The only clue to date this text is thus the imperial titulature with the reference to victory over Vandals and in Africa, which most probably refers to Justinian but could also be used by his successors (527-610).


Edition: The Packard Humanities Institute database, Ephesos 2906. Die Inschriften von Ephesos, no. 1353 (with an addendum in vol. 7/2, p. 24). Grégoire, H. (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 107. Further Reading: Amelotti, M., Luzzatto, G.I., (eds.), Le costitutioni giustinianee nei papiri e nelle epigrafi (Milan: Giuffrè, 1972), 93, no. 4. Amelotti, M., Migliardi Zingale, L., (eds.), Le costitutioni giustinianee nei papiri e nelle epigrafi (Milan: Giuffrè, 1985), 105-107, no. 4. Chrysos, E.K., "The Title Βασιλευσ in Early Byzantine International Relations", Dumbarton Oaks Papers 32 (1978), 74-75. Feissel, D., "Épigrahie administrative et topographie urbaine: l'emplacement des actes inscrits dans l'Éphèse protobyzantine (IVe – VIe s.)", in: R. Pillinger, O. Kersten, F. Krinzinger, O. Russo (eds.), Efeso paleocristiana e bizantina (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1999), 121-132. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 80. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1987), 398. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 36, 1032.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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