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E00953: Greek building inscription for a martyr shrine of *Christophoros (martyr of Pamphylia, S00616), commemorating the beginning of the construction, and the deposition of relics. Found close to Chalkedon/Chalcedon (Bithynia, north-west Asia Minor). 450/452.

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posted on 2015-12-09, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
σὺν θεῷ ἀπετέθη τὰ θε-
μέλια vacat τοῦ μαρ-
τυρίου τοῦ ἁγίου Χρισ-
τοφόρου ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ̣γ΄ μ(ηνὶ) Μαΐῳ με-
τὰ τὴν ὑπατείαν Πρωτογέ-
νους καὶ Ἀστουρίου τῶν λαμ-
πρ(οτάτων) ἐπὶ Θεοδοσίου βασιλέως κα[ὶ]
Εὐλαλίου ἐπισκό(που) Χαλκηδό-
νος· κτίζετε δὲ παρὰ τῆς
σεμνοπρ(επεστάτης) κουβικουλαρί<ας>
Εὐφημίας{υ} καὶ ἐγένετο ἡ
κατάθεσις ἐν εἰνδ(ικτιῶνι) ε΄
πληρουμ(ένῃ), μ(ηνὶ) Σεπτεμβρ[ίῳ,]
κβ΄ ὑπ(ατείᾳ) [Σφορακίου]
τοῦ λαμ(προτάτου)

4. ̣Γ΄ Duchesne, λ΄ (sic!) Leclercq, Τ drawing || 10-11. σεμνοπρ(επεστάτης) κουβικουλαρί[ας] | Εὐφημίας{υ} Grégoire, σεμνοπρ(επείας) κουβικουλαρί[ου] | Εὐφημί{δ}ου Duchesne Leclercq, ΚΤΙΖΕΤΕΔΕΠΑΡΑΤΗC | CΕΜΝΟΠΡΚΟΥΒΙΚΟΥΛΑΡΙ . . | ΕΥΦΗΜΙΔΟΥ drawing || 14-15. ὑπ(ατείᾳ) [Σφορακίου] | τοῦ λαμ(προτάτου) Feissel, ὑπ[ατείᾳ Σπορακίου καὶ Ἑρ]|̣κουλαν[οῦ τῶν λαμπροτάτων] Duchesne Leclercq Grégoire Merkelbach, ΥΠΝ[- - -] | ΤΟΥΛΑΝ[ drawing

'The foundations of the martyrion of Saint Christophoros were laid with God in the third indiction, in the month of May, after the consulate of Protogenes and Asturius of clarissimus rank, under the emperor Theodosius and Eulalios, bishop of Chalkedon. It is built by the most dignified cubicularia, Euphemia. And the deposition (of the relics) took place in the 5th indiction just completed, on the 22nd day of the month of September, during the consulate of [Sporacius] of clarissimus rank.'

Text: I. Kalchedon, no. 22, with altered restorations by D. Feissel in CEByz, 397, 399.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Christophoros, martyr in Samos (Lykia) or Antioch (Syria) under Decius (249-251) : S00616

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)


  • 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)

Chalcedon Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of relic invention/translation

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family Aristocrats Officials Soldiers

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified Contact relic - unspecified Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Construction of cult building to contain relics


A slab found at Bostancı köprü to the southeast of Chalkedon/Chalcedon (Bithynia, northern Asia Minor), next to a road leading to Nikomedia / Nicomedia. Formerly believed to have come from Haydarpaşa. The stone lay in the ruins of a church, apparently dedicated to St. Christopher. H. ca. 2.00 m; W. ca. 1.00 m. Found and first published by Matthaios Paranikas in the journal Ἀνατολή in Constantinople, in 1877. One year later reedited from Paranakis' drawing, and commented on by Louis Duchesne.


The inscription commemorates laying the foundations of a martyr shrine of *Christophoros and the deposition of relics of the saint. A date, given in the consular year in lines 5-7, makes it the earliest attestation of the cult of *Christophoros, and the earliest securely dated inscription attesting the mature forms of the cult of saints in Asia Minor with building of a church and deposition of relics (but literary texts attest these practices much earlier in time). The inscription says that the construction begun 'in the third indiction, in the month of May, after the consulate of Protogenes and Asturius of clarissimus rank', which corresponds to AD 450, as these consuls were in office in AD 449. It was completed and the relics were deposited 'in the 5th indiction just completed, on the 22nd (day) of the month of September, during the consulate of [Sporacius] of clarissimus rank' (22nd September 452). The second consular date was reconstructed on the basis of the indiction year. Duchesne, Leclercq, Grégoire, and Merkelbach supposed that both consuls of that year were mentioned in line 14: ὑπ[ατείᾳ Σπορακίου καὶ Ἑρ]|̣κουλαν[οῦ τῶν λαμπροτάτων, but Denis Feissel argues that Sporacius was usually mentioned in the East without his colleague and prefers to reconstruct the passage: ὑπ(ατείᾳ) [Σφορακίου] | τοῦ λαμ(προτάτου). Anyway, regardless of the actual form of the dating formula, we can safely conclude that the shrine was built within the period of two years and that the deposition of the relics (κατάθεσις), most probably connected with the consecration of the sanctuary and its dedication to the martyr, was scheduled for the last day of the indiction year. The period 450-452 roughly corresponds to the time of the Council of Chalcedon, and its is not unlikely that the construction of the martyr shrine of *Christopher, located in the vicinity of the city, was somehow connected with this event. Consul Sporacius is mentioned as comes domesticorum in the preamble of the Acts of the Council and Protogenes is also referred to. The inscription names the founder of the martyr shrine in lines 9-11. In the drawing one can read his or her names as ΕΥΦΗΜΙΔΟΥ. Duchesne stated that the name Εὐφημίδης / Euphemides was unlikely to occur in the 5th c. and suggested a correction: σεμνοπρ(επείας) κουβικουλαρί[ου] | Εὐφημί{δ}ου / 'by the dignity of the cubicularius Euphemios'. He identified this Euphemios with a magister officiorum mentioned by Priscus, the fifth-century diplomat and historian. But, having examined the drawing, Henri Grégoire proposed another reading. He argued that in the name ΕΥΦΗΜΙΔΟΥ the letters ΔΟ were mistaken for ΑC and that the final Υ was an erased cross or a kind of a punctuation mark rather than a letter. Therefore, he identified the founder as a woman: σεμνοπρ(επεστάτης) κουβικουλαρί<ας> | Εὐφημίας{υ}. A cubicularia Euphemia is mentioned in the Life of Saint Hypatios, a holy abbot of a monastery at Chalcedon, who lived in the first half of the fifth century, and who was remembered for his opposition to the teachings of Nestorius and the Olympic games, as well as for numerous miracles. He was said to have exorcised a demon that had possessed this Euphemia. The bishop of Chalkedon, Eulalios, mentioned in line 8 is also a figure in the Life of Hypatios. He died in 451, shortly before the council and the completion of the martyr shrine. He was succeeded by Eleutherios. Likewise, the emperor Theodosius II did not live to the completion of the sanctuary. He died on 28 July 450, two months after the laying of the foundations. As both of them are mentioned in the first part of the inscription as still living, but do not appear in the second dating formula, this proves that the plaque was engraved in two phases and probably displayed at the construction site before the work was finished. Sylvain Destephen supposes that our martyr shrine could have had some links with a monastery dedicated to Christopher in the domain of Taryllios near Chalkedon (attested in the acts of the council of Constantinople, 536) or with a monastery in Persea near Nikomedia/Nicomedia, named after Christopher, which is mentioned in the 7th c. Life of S. Theodore of Sykeon (for references, see: Destephen 2015, 72, note 40).


Edition: Die Inschriften von Kalchedon, no. 22. Grégoire, H., "Inscriptions historiques byzantines", Byzantion 4 (1927-1928), 461-462. Kaufmann, C.M., Handbuch der altchristlichen Epigraphik (Freiburg: , 1917), 391. Duchesne, L., "Inscription chrétienne de Bithynie", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 2 (1878), 289-299. Further reading: Delehaye, H., Les origines du culte des martyrs (Bruxelles : Société des Bollandistes, 1912), 184. 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), 72, 94. Feissel, D., "Sur une inscription de Chalcédoine: le consulat de 452 et le commencement de l'indiction au 23 septembre", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 108/1 (1984). Feissel, D., "De Chalcédoine à Nicomédie, quelques inscriptions négligées", Travaux et Mémoires 10 (1987), 408. Halkin, F., “Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure”, Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 98. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 2, s.v. Euphemia 1, Euphemides. Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 397, 399. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 34, 1262.

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