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E01079: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a church dedicated to *John the Apostle and Evangelist (S00042) as fulfilment of a vow made by a member of the local elite and his son. Found near Flaviopolis (Cilicia, south-east Asia Minor). Dated 596.

online resource
posted on 2016-01-15, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν <πρ>ὸ-
ς τὼν θεών. πάντα διὰ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο.
ἔτους πέντου καὶ δεκάτου <χ΄> ἐν-
δεκτιõν(ος) ιδ΄ + θεοῦ θέλοντος
καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰοάννου συνευ-
δοκοῦντος, ἐγέ<νε>το{ν} τὸ ἔργο-
ν τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰοάννου + ἐπὶ τῶν
γαλινοτάτων καὶ θεοφυλάκτ-
ων ἡμõν βασιλέων Μαυρικίου
καὶ Θεοδοσίου τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ
καὶ τοῦ ὁσιοτάτ<ου> ἐπισκόπου Πέτρ<ου>
Γεόργιος ὁ μεγαλοπρεπέστατος σὺν
Ἰοαννα<κ>ίοͅ τῷ υἱõͅ αὐτοῦ ἐπλήροσεν τὴν εὐχ{ι}ήν

1. <πρ>ὸ|ς τὼν θεών = πρὸ|ς τὸν θεόν Dagron & Feissel, θεὸ|ς τῶν θεῶν Davis Neroutsos || 3. <Χ> Dagron & Feissel, Φ Davis Neroutsos || 3-4. <ἰ>ν|δ<ι>κτί(ωνος) Neroutsos || 11. ὁσιοτάτω ἐπισκόπου Πέτρω Davis' copy || 13. Ἰοαννα<κ>ίοͅ Dagron & Feissel, Ἰωανναλίῳ = Ἰο<υβεν>αλί<ῳ> Neroutsos Davis

'+ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. All things came into being through Him. In the year 615, in the 14th indiction, + God willing it and Saint John approving it, the church of Saint John + was accomplished in the time of our most serene and God-protected Emperors Maurice and Theodosius, his son, and of Petros, the most holy bishop. Georgios of megaloprepestatos rank with his son Ioannakios fulfilled a vow.'

Text: I. Cilicia, no. 118. Translation: E.J. Davis, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Evangelist : S00042

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)

Flaviopolis Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Saint aiding or preventing the construction of a cult building

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats Children Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family


A limestone block, inserted upside down in a wall of a gallery of a lodging house in Acemli near ancient Flaviopolis. Said to have been brought there from a village to the west of Acemli. First seen in May 1875 by Edwin John Davis, who made a copy and a squeeze, and then in 1891 or 1892 by Rudolf Heberdey and Adolf Wilhem, who made another copy (now in Vienna). The original inscription is lost. Davis forwarded his copy to Tassos Demetrios Neroutsos for publication. Neroutsos, erroneously, attributed the inscription to Sis (Kozan).


The inscription commemorates the dedication of a church to John, the Evangelist (as the beginning of his Gospel is quoted in lines 1-2), as the fulfilment of a vow made by a certain Georgios of megaloprepestatos rank and his son, probably named Ioannakios. The dedication took place under bishop Petros, probably a bishop of Anazarba or Falviopolis. All these people are otherwise unknown, but we may assume that the fact that the church was dedicated to John (Greek: Ioannes) and Georgios' son was called Ioannakios may not be a coincidence. Perhaps the family was devoted to this Apostle and the boy was named after him. The dedicatory formula begins with a quotation of the first sentences of the Gospel of John (John 1:1-3) and then we find a statement that the building was completed in accordance with God's will and the approval (συνευδοκία) of John himself. According to Davis' copy, in lines 1-2 the quotation from the Gospel contains the phrase καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν θεὸς τῶν θεῶν ('and the Word was the God of Gods'), which sounds strange in a later Christian context, but was accepted by Neroutsos and Davis as an alternative for the standard text of the Scriptures. However, Gilbert Dagron and Denis Feissel plausibly note that θεός should be corrected to <πρ>ός and των θεων is a misspelt accusative singular rather than genitive plural, which allows for an easy restoration of the normal text. The date, given in line 3, was originally considered by Neroutsos and Davis as the 15th year of the reign of the emperor Maurice. The passage reads ἔτους πέντου καὶ δεκάτου Φ, and they argued that Φ was here just an ornamental sign and not a letter, corresponding to a number. Dagron and Feissel preferred to correct the sign to Χ (number: 600) and considered it an element of the date ('year 615'), which fits the other elements of dating if it refers to the era of Anazarba (see below). They hypothesise, plausibly, that the era of Anazarba was used in the 6th c. by nearby Flaviopolis. For the formula θεοῦ θέλοντος/'God willing it', see: E01300. Dating: 596, based on the reference to the reign of the emperors Maurice and Theodosius (590-602), and the 14th indiction, which, within these years fell in AD 595/596; in addition, line 3 contains a date (year 615) computed according to a local era, is probably the era of Anazarba, which began in 19 BC, allowing us to hypothetically narrow down the dating to AD 596, assuming that the caput anni of this local era fell before 1 September, the beginning of the 15th indiction year.


Edition: Felle, A.E., Biblia epigraphica. La sacra scrittura nella documentazione epigrafica dell'«Orbis christianus antiquus» (III-VIII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2006), no. 119. I. Cilicia - Dagron, G., Feissel, D. (eds.), Inscriptions de Cilicie (Paris: De Boccard, 1987), no. 118. Davis, E.J., Life in Asiatic Turkey. A Journal of Travel in Cilicia (Pedias and Trachoea), Isauria, and Parts of Lycaonia and Cappadocia (London: Edward Stanford, 1879), 117-119 (offers only an amended text and translation). Neroutsos, T.D., "Inscripton de Sis en Cilicie", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 1 (1877), 327-330 (after a majuscule copy of Davis). Further reading: Mietke, G., "Monumentalisierung christilcher Heiliger in Kilikien in frühbyzantinischer Zeit", Olba 17 (2009), 120. Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 534. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 37, 1261.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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