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E01267: Inscribed terracotta disc, almost certainly a bread stamp for making eulogia, with a Greek inscription referring to a saint *John (probably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042). Found near Porinos Oikos on Delos (Aegean Islands), probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2016-04-10, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
εὐλογία ἁ(γίῳ) [Ἰ]ωάν<ν>η

ἁ(γίῳ) Jardé Dürrbach Grégoire Orlandos, perhaps ἁ(γίου)

'The blessing of Saint John.'

Text: Jardé & Dürrbach 1905, 256.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Evangelist : S00042 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

[Ἰ]ωάν<ν>η [Ἰ]ωάν<ν>η

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.) Images and objects - Lamps, ampullae and tokens


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Delos Porinos Oikos

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

Delos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Porinos Oikos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Production and selling of eulogiai, tokens

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Private ownership of an image

Cult Activities - Relics

Ampullae, eulogiai, tokens Contact relic - other Making contact relics

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ampullae, flasks, etc.


An inscribed disc, made of terracotta. Found near the monastic establishment of Porinos Oikos on Delos, in the autumn of 1903, during the excavations of the École française d'Athènes, financed by Joseph Florimond Loubat, a French and American bibliophile and antiquarian. The inscription runs around the object in mirror-writing, and in four sectors delimited by a cross in the centre of the disc.


Auguste Jardé and Félix Dürrbach, the first editors of the object, reasonably identified it as a bread-stamp, used to prepare eulogia, small blessed items (e.g. bread rolls) given to pilgrims in sanctuaries, based on the use of mirror-writing and the inscribed formula. They concluded that one of the churches on Delos had been dedicated to St. John (though which John is unspecified), mentioned in the inscription. Anastasios Orlandos suggested that the church, named on the stamp, was the basilica in Porinos Oikos, constructed by the conversion of a building that probably served as the 'Thesmophorion' in pagan times. The building was 13 m wide and 14,80 m long and was oriented, which allowed for the easy extension with an apse (see: Orlandos 1936, 86-88). Whether it was really the sanctuary, that produced our stamp, is disputable. The disc was probably made before the 8th c., when Delos was abandoned. The exodus could have started already in the mid-6th c. as no sculptures and coins later than this date have been found on the island (see: Orlandos 1936, 70). In later times the island became a refuge for pirates, so the stamp is unlikely to date from this period. Delos was resettled by Hospitaler Knights of St. John, but only in the 14th c.


Edition: IGC - Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 213. Jardé, A., Dürrbach, F., "Fouilles de Délos exécutées aux frais de M. Le Duc de Loubat (1903). Inscriptions (suite)", Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 29 (1905), 256. Further reading: Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 367. Orlandos, A.K., "Délos chrétienne", Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 60 (1936), 86-88.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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