University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01045: Greek inscription marking a sarcophagus as belonging to a monastery, probably dedicated to *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092). Found at Diokaisareia (Isauria, southern Asia Minor), probably late 5th or 6th c.

online resource
posted on 2016-01-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ σωματοθήκη διαφέρουσα
τοῦ μοναστηρί(ου) καὶ τῆς [ἁ]̣γε[ί]ας +

'+ Sarcophagus belonging to the monastery and to the holy + Thekla.'

Text: MAMA III, no. 102.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thekla, follower of Apostle Paul : S00092

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

Diokaisareia in Isauria

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

Diokaisareia in Isauria Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery


The lid of a sarcophagus in an arcosolium grave. Found on the eastern slope of the so-called Tomb Valley (Nord D100.2; Felssarkophag 3) near Uzuncaburç (ancient Diokaisareia). Letter height 0.035-0.05 m. Recorded in 1925; revisited by an international expedition led by Detlev Wannagat and Kai Trampedach between 2004 and 2006.


The inscription labels a sarcophagus as belonging to a monastery, probably dedicated to Thekla, the follower of the Apostle Paul. The syntax of the inscription is problematic as the words 'monastery' and 'the holy Thekla' are separated by the conjunction 'and', which implies that they are separate institutions. Johannes Linnemann supposes that the tomb was shared by two monasteries: an unspecified one, and one dedicated to Thekla (see also: TIB 5, 239). It is likely that we are dealing with a monastery (or monasteries) located at Diokaisareia, rather than at the nearby famous sanctuary of Thekla at Seleukeia. One can wonder if the expression 'the holy Thekla' refers, not to the famous saint, but to an ordinary mortal bearing her name, as the deceased Christians were sometimes called ἅγιοι / 'holy' in epitaphs in south-eastern Asia Minor (see Laminger-Pascher 1973). If so, we could translate the inscription as: '+ Sarcophagus belonging to the monastery and to + the blessed Thekla'. A less probable explanation is that the word Θέκλας was erroneously inserted in line 3, instead of ἐκκλησίας, as another very similar inscription from the same cemetery contains this version of the formula: [+] θήκη τοῦ μοναστηρίου τῆς [ἁγ]ίας ἔ[κ]λησίας + / '[+] Tomb of the monastery of the Holy Church +' (MAMA III 101). Dating: probably late 5th or 6th c. (based on the style of the letters).


Edition: Linnemann, J.C., Die Nekropolen von Diokaisareia (Diokaisareia in Kilikien 3, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), 133. Hagel, St., Tomaschitz, K., (eds.), Repertorium der westkilikischen Inschriften (Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse 265, Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 22, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1998), no. OlD 78. Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua III, no. 102. Further reading: 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), 108. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 88. Laminger-Pascher, G.,"Die Bedeutung von ἅγιος in einigen korykischen Inschriften", Anzeiger der philosophisch-historischen Klasse der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 110 (1973), 344-346. Mietke, G., "Monumentalisierung christilcher Heiliger in Kilikien in frühbyzantinischer Zeit", Olba 17 (2009), 121. Tabula Imperii Byzantini, vol. 5, 239.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager