Saint NameTrophimos, martyr in Synnada (Phrygia, central Asia Minor), ob. c. 276-282 : S00606
Saint Name in SourceΤρόφιμος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after600
Activity not before400
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSebaste / Selçikler
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Sebaste / Selçikler
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - tomb/grave
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics – unspecified
SourceA 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.
DiscussionThe 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.
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: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ica/icamainapp/inscription/show/1363
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.
Bulletin épigraphique (1956), 284; (1954), 233.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 15, 809.