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E00765: Fragmentary Greek inscription with remnants of what could have been a governor's letter, possibly dealing with the status of the church of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) and the church of *John the Apostle and Evangelist (S00042) in Ephesos. Found in Ephesos (western Asia Minor), at the site of the church of Mary. Probably 6th c.

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posted on 2015-10-13, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Fragment A:

] . ̣ιτρα[
] ἔστω [
τῆ]ς μεγάλης [ἐκκλησί]-
[ας καὶ τοῦ σ]εβασμίο[υ οἴκου]
[τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰωάνν]ου τ[οῦ θεολόγου

Fragment B:

τ]οῦ ἀπο[στόλου
Κ]̣αισα̣ρ (?)[

'[- - -] may it happen [- - -] of the Great [Church and of the re]verend [house of Saint Joh]n th[e Theologian - - -] of the Apo[stle - - - C]aesar (?) [- - -].'

Text: I. Ephesos, no. 1373.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Evangelist : S00042 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

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

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family


Two fragments of a blue marble plaque found at the site of the church of Mary in Ephesos. Fragment A: H. 0.165 m; W. 0.27 m; Th. 0.035-0.04 m. Fragment B: H. 0.11 m; W. 0.13 m; Th. 0.025 m. Having revisited and examined the fragments, Denis Feissel suggests that, although published separately, they almost certainly form missing parts of another monumental inscription with a governor's letter, found in Ephesos (our E00778), see Feissel 1999, 127-128 and no. 27. In a letter dated 17.05.2018 Feissel informed us about his forthcoming new edition and restoration of this text.


The first editors hypothesised that the inscription may have preserved fragments of an imperial letter from Justinian or one of his sixth-century successors that dealt with the status of two major churches in Ephesos: the episcopal church of *Mary (the Great Church, μεγάλη ἐκκλησία of our text, if that is the correct reading) and the newly constructed church of *John the Evangelist, locally called the Theologian (reconstructed as the Reverend House, σεβάσμιος οἶκος, of the inscription). They pointed out that the wording resembles other imperial letters published in Ephesos as inscriptions (see E00745; E00766). Denis Feissel, however, very plausibly identifies the fragments as elements of a letter of a governor (proconsul) of the province of Asia that was preserved in another Ephesian inscription, and probably accompanied an imperial resolution concerning the church of Mary and the church of John the Evangelist. See E00778.


Edition: Die Inschriften von Ephesos, no. 1373. Further reading: 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.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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