Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΘεοτόκος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before431
Evidence not after1300
Activity not before431
Activity not after1300
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Aegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcLesbos
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Lesbos
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceA large white plaque, found in March 1895 by Petros Papageorgiu, director of the Gymnasium of Mitilini, at the site of a house at Mytilene, next to a fragment of the epitaph for a bishop.
DiscussionThe inscription is an invocation of Mary as the God-Bearer. The saint is asked to 'steer' (κυβερνάω) a city, apparently Mytilene itself. The verb κυβερνάω has obvious maritime connotations and was probably chosen because Mytilene was located on the island of Lesbos and the inhabitants were often engaged in maritime business.
The inscription certainly postdates 431, as the title God-Bearer (Θεοτόκος) became popular only after the council of Ephesos, held in that year, but it may actually be of a much later date.
Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 151.
Papageorgiou, P., Unedierte Inschriften von Mytilene (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1900), no. 40.
Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 376.