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E00907: Greek Montanist epitaph with a reference to a holy *Trophimos (probably the martyr of Synnada in Asia Minor, S00606) or possibly another martyr of the same name. Found in Payamalanı (Phrygia, wset central Asia Minor). Probably 5th-6th c.

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posted on 2015-11-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[(christogram)] ἐνταῦθα κῖται
[ὁ] ἅγιος Παυλῖνος
[μο]̣ίστης κ(αὶ) κοινωνὸς
4 [ἔχω]ν τὴν χάριν
[θ(εο)ῦ] ἔτη πε΄.
[ὁ ἅγ]ιος Τρόφιμος

3. [μο]̣ίστης Calder in Grégoire & Calder 1952 (based on Gough's copy), [κτ]ίστης Calder 1955 || 4. [εὑρὼ]ν or [λαβὼ]ν Grégoire || 5. [- - -] ἔτη πε΄ Grégoire

'[(christogram)] Here lies [the] holy Paulinos: [my]stes a(nd) koinonos [possess]ing the grace of [G(o)d] eighty-five years. [The ho]ly Trophimos, [m]artyr.'

Text: Tabbernee 1997, no. 80, lightly modified. Translation: W. Tabbernee.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Trophimos, martyr in Synnada (Phrygia, central Asia Minor), ob. c. 276-282 : S00606

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary 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

Sebaste / Selçikler

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

Sebaste / Selçikler Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics – unspecified Heretics


A slab, found in the 1940s by Süleyman Gökçe Bay, director of the Afyon Museum, in the ruins of a building, probably a church. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.5 m; W. 0.47 m; Th. 0.4 m. Letter height 0.015-0.065 m. The left-hand edge is broken. Lines 6-7 may be written by a different hand. Currently kept in Afyon Museum.


The inscription offers us the epitaph of a certain Paulinos, called: saint (ἅγιος), probably one initiated (μύστης), and companion (κοινωνός). The last term allows us to identify him as a Montanist. The actual meaning of the term κοινωνός has been disputed, but it most probably denotes high-ranking Montanist clerics, more important than their bishops and second in rank to their patriarchs. Other interpretations offer κοινωνοί as companions of Christ, i.e. martyrs, financial officers or broadly understood social-religious leaders (see: Tabbernee 1997, 493; Calder & Grégoire 1952). Though Paulinos is called saint (ἅγιος), he should not be considered as a person with an established cult. Montanists often thus call their κοινωνοί. Perhaps they used this form instead of the superlative ἁγιώτατος – a common epithet of the bishops of the mainstream Church (see: Grégoire 1925b, 330 ff.: ὁ ἅγιος Πραύλλιος ὁ κοινωνὸς ὁ κατὰ τόπον and TAM V 1, no. 45: + Παύλου ἁγ(ί)ου Φιλαδέ|λφου κοινωνοῦ κα|τὰ τόπον +). It is also possible that Montantists (like other Christians) sometimes used the term ἅγιος to honour every deceased follower of Christ. The other epithet of Paulinos, present at the beginning of line 3, was originally reconstructed by William Calder as [κτ]ίστης (founder). Calder thought that Paulinos had founded a church dedicated to *Trophimos – a figure mentioned in the second part of the epitaph – and that this Trophimos was identical with the protagonist of the Acts of Saint Trophimos of Synnada (BHG 1853-1854), killed under the emperor Probus (276-282). This, however, was questioned by Henri Grégoire and recently again by Sylvain Destephen in the PCBE. In their opinion our martyr Trophimos may be a victim of much later persecutions of Montanists, conducted by Christian emperors in the 5th and 6th centuries. François Halkin suggested yet another explanation. In his opinion the last sentence was simply an acclamation in honour of a martyr venerated in that region. As it seems to have been written by a different hand, it could be added later to the inscription.


Edition: Tabbernee, W. (ed.), Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources for Illustrating the History of Montanism (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1997), no. 80. Calder, W.M., "Early Christian epitaphs from Phrygia", Anatolian Studies 5 (1955) 37-38. Calder, W.M., Grégoire, H., "Paulinos κοινωνός de Sébastè de Phrygie", Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres de l'Académie Royale de Belgique 37 (1952), 163-167 (from a copy made by Michael Gough). Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 1363: Further reading: 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), Paulinos 3. Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 92. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 329. Mitchell, St., "An apostle to Ankara from the New Jerusalem: Montanists and Jews in Late Roman Asia Minor", Scripta Classica Israelica 24 (2005), 214. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1956), 284; (1954), 233. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 15, 809.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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