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E00847: Greek painted inscriptions from churches on Gemiler Island near Ölüdeniz (Lycia, south-west Asia Minor) labelling pictures of several saints: probably *Nicholas (abbot of Holy Sion, ob. 564, S00559) or *Nicholas (bishop of Myra under Constantine, S00520), possibly *Sabas the Goth (martyr, ob. 372, S00489), and one more figure whose name is lost. Probably 6th c. or later.

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posted on 2015-11-09, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Painted inscriptions at the entrance to Church II. The first inscription labels a painting of a standing figure, the second labels the bust of Christ, and the last one another standing figure:

A: ὅσιος Νικόλαο(ς)

B: Ἐμ(μανουήλ)

C: + Εὐτυχ[- -]
[- - - -]
τοῦ ὁσίου

C. for a wholly hypothetical reconstruction: + Εὐτυχ[ιανὸς ἐλάχιστος ἐπίσκοπος ἐποίησεν τὸν ναὸν] τοῦ ὁσίου Νικολάου Masuda

A: 'Holy Nicholas'.

B: 'Emmanuel'

C: '+ Eutych[- - -] of the holy Nicholas'.

Text: Masuda 1995, 114-115 with comments in SEG 48, 1723.

Painted inscriptions on the northern wall of a small chapel added to Church III, labelling depictions of two saints. The upper section of the painting shows a narrative scene but is seriously damaged. The middle section shows medallions with busts of martyrs. Inscription A labels the fifth martyr from the left. The lower section shows standing saints. Inscription B labels the fourth saint from the left. The labels of other figures are not preserved.

D: (ἅγιος) Φαλ[- - -]

E: (ἅγιος) Σα(ββ)άς

D: 'Saint Phal[- - -].'

E: 'Saint Sabbas.'

Text: Masuda 1995, 116.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Nicholas, bishop of Myra, southern Asia Minor, ob. 343 : S00520 Nicholas, abbot of Holy Sion, Lycia, southern Asia Minor, ob. 564 : S00559 Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744 Sabas the Goth, martyr, ob. 372 : S00489

Saint Name in Source

Νικόλαος Νικόλαος Σα(ββ)άς

Type of Evidence

Images and objects - Wall paintings and mosaics Inscriptions


  • 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

Ölüdeniz (Lycia, south Asia Minor)

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

Ölüdeniz (Lycia south Asia Minor) Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Public display of an image

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Greek painted inscriptions from churches on Gemiler Island near Ölüdeniz (Lycia, south Asia Minor) labelling pictures of several saints. The first series is on a wall at the entrance to Church II. The second on the northern wall of a small chapel added to Church III (the chapel may postdate AD 800).


These painted labels identify three saints, whose identity is, nevertheless, uncertain. The first label (A) is certainly to a Holy Nicholas: therefore presumably *Nicholas, abbot of the monastery of Holy Sion (Lycia, south Asia Minor), ob. 564 or *Nicholas, bishop of Myra (Lycia, south Asia Minor), ob. 343. Inscription C may record that the church was founded by a certain bishop Eutychianos (if the reconstruction suggested by Tomoyuki Masuda is correct). Another Eutychianos, bishop of Lycia, is know as the donor of silver vessels to the monastery of Sion in Lycia (see PCBE 3, Eutychianos 1 and Ševčenko 1993). Perhaps we are dealing with the same person. Painted inscriptions from Church III say that the pictures show two saints: *Phal[- - -] and possibly *Sabas (the Goth, martyr, ob. 372). The dating of these inscriptions is very uncertain.


Edition: Masuda, T., "Greek inscriptions in the Ölüdeniz-Gemiler Ada Bay area", in: S. Tsuji, The Survey of Early Byzantine Sites in Ölüdeniz Area (Lycia, Turkey). The First Preliminary Report (Memoirs of the Faculty of Letters, Osaka University 35, Osaka: Osaka University, 1995), 114-116 with comments in SEG 48, 1723, 1726. Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 336, 346. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 48, 1723, 1726. For the identity of the bishop Eutychianos see: Destephen, S., Prosopographie du Diocese d'Asie (325-641) (Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire 3, Paris: Association des amis du centre d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2008), Eutychianos 1. Ševčenko, I., "The Sion Treasure: the evidence of the inscriptions", in: S.A. Boyd & M. Mundell Mango (eds.), Ecclesiastical Silver Plate in Sixth-Century Byzantium. Papers of the Symposium Held May 16-18, 1986, at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., organized by Susan A. Boyd, Maria Mundell Mango, and Gary Vikan, (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1993), 39-56.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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