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E01257: A graffito in Greek, probably of the 7th/9th c., in the basilica of *Demetrios (martyr of Thessalonike, S00761) in Thessalonike (south Balkans/Greece), invokes *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), *Demetrios (martyr of Thessalonike, S00761), and *Theodore (martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480).

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posted on 2016-04-09, 00:00 authored by Bryan
(Christogram) Θεωτώκαι βοήθη τοῦ δούλου σου Ἀναστασίου καὶ Ἰωάννου
(Christogram) Ἁγ(ιε) Δημήτρι βοήθη τοῦ δούλου σου Ἀναστασίου καὶ Μαρκαιλίνας
(Christogram) Ἅγ(ιε) Θεώδορε βοήθη τους δούλυ σου Ἀναστασίου καὶ ̣Ρουπίου

[ἅγ]ιος <ὁ> Θεὸς
Κύ(ριε) βοήθησ(ον) M(οναχοῦ) Κυρ<ι>ακοῦ

̣Ἰ̣ο̣υ̣σ̣τ̣ί̣ν̣ου Ἰουστίνου
+ γρυψ

'Oh God-Bearer, help your servant Anastasios and Ioannes
Saint Demetrios, help your servant Anastasios and Markailina
Saint Theodore, help your servants Anastasios and Roupios

Holy God
Lord help the monk (?) Kyriakos

of Ioustinos, [son?] of Ioustinos'

Text: Soteriou 1952 (modified by E. Rizos)
Translation: E. Rizos


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Demetrios, martyr in Thessalonike, ob. 304-311 : S00761 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480

Saint Name in Source

Δημἠτριος Θεωτώκος

Image Caption 1

A probably 7th/9th-century graffito in the basilica of *Demetrios (Soteriou 1952)

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Balkans including Greece

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Thessalonike Drizypera Δριζύπερα Drizypera Büyük Karıştıran

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



This graffito is engraved on the mortar joints between the bricks of the second pillar of the southern colonnade of the nave. Initially covered by the marble incrustation, it was revealed after the latter collapsed during the fire of 1917, and was recorded by Soteriou. It is now covered behind the bishop’s throne. Soteriou suggests that the graffito was engraved by the craftsmen, prior to the construction of the marble incrustation.


This graffito is a testimony of major importance for understanding the cults housed at the great shrine of Thessalonike during Late Antiquity, as it invokes the three figures of Mary, Demetrios, and Theodore. This graffito and the 6th/7th- century mosaics of the church (see E###) suggest that the main patron saint, Demetrios, shared his shrine with Mary and Theodore, a fact otherwise unattested in the written sources. In the Middle Byzantine period, the presence of Theodore in the cult seems to have been forgotten, perhaps as a result of the tumultuous time of Iconoclasm. For this reason, we suggest that this graffito is no later than the 8th century.


Edition: G. Soteriou, M. Soteriou, Ἡ βασιλικὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Δημητρίου Θεσσαλονίκης, Βιβλιοθήκη τῆς ἐν Ἀθήναις Ἀρχαιολογικῆς Ἑταιρείας, 34, Athens, 1952, 233-234. Further reading: Bauer, F.A., Eine Stadt und ihr Patron: Thessaloniki und der Heilige Demetrios (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2013), 214-215.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity