University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01300: Two inscriptions from a rock-cut chamber at Gorgoli (near ancient Sinasos, Cappadocia, eastern Asia Minor) with a record of the deposition of relics of *Kyrikos (child martyr of Tarsus, S00007), and an invocation of the saint, asked to protect crops and heal the sick. Probably 6th c.

online resource
posted on 2016-04-22, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Inscription 1:

+ τοῦ θεοῦ θέλοντος
ἐγένετο ἡ κατ{α}ά-
θεσις τοῦ ἁγίου Κυρίκου
(4)παρὰ τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου
ἐπισκόπου Ἰ{ε}οάνου
μενὴ Ἰουλίου ἐνάτῃ
ἔτους ἰκοστοῦ (?)
[- - - - - - - - - -]

7-8. ἔτους ἰκοστοῦ (?) | [- - -] Feissel, ἔτους ἰν[δ](ικτιῶνος) ἕ<κ>του + Jolivet-Lévy & Kiourtzian

'+ God willing it, the deposition of Saint Kyrikos was accomplished by the most holy bishop Ioannes, in the month of July, on the ninth (day), in the sixth year of the indiction. '

Text: Jolivet-Lévy & Kiourtzian 2013, 471.

Inscription 2:

+ + [+ (?)] Κύ(ριε) ὁ θ[(εὸ)ς ἡμῶν (?)]
κὲ ἅγιε Κύρ̣ι̣κ̣ε,
φύλαξον τοὺς καρ-
(4)ποὺς, ὡ ̣θε(ός), ἐλέ-
ησον τõν {ν} ἐ-
ν ἀροστίᾳ καμ̣ν-
̣ότον κὲ τõν καρποφο-
(8) ρούτ[ων]

'+ + [+ (?)] Lord, [our God (?)], and Saint Kyrikos, protect the crops, o God, have mercy upon those in toil and sickness, and the contributors!'

Text: Jolivet-Lévy & Kiourtzian 2013, 473.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrikos, 3rd c. child martyr in Tarsus, son of *Julitta : S00007

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 Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Gorgoli Sinasos

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

Gorgoli Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia Sinasos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of relic invention/translation

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous protection - of people and their property Specialised miracle-working

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people Peasants

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


Two inscriptions cut next to each other on the southern wall in one of the chambers in the south-eastern section of the rock-cut complex in Gorgolou (ancient Gorgoli near Sinasos/Mustafapaşaköy). The chamber with inscriptions is roofed, and sited to the west of the other room. Dimensions of the chamber: L. c. 12 m; W. c. 6 m. This and other walls also bear carved and painted crosses, and other, fragmentary, texts (probably epitaphs). It seems that the chamber was penetrated by thieves, searching for tombs with rich equipment. Both inscriptions are carved on a lined surface, in rectangular frames with a geometrical pattern. Letter grooves are painted red. On top of Inscription 2 a semicircle is carved. The lettering and form resemble Inscription B from E00710 (Goslu, Lycaonia). There is no published description of dimensions and letter height of these inscriptions. A single rock cut-church in Gorgolou was first recorded by Guillaume de Jerphanion before 1925. The site was later studied by Nicole Lemaigre Demesnil and Neslihan Asutay-Fleissig. A wider survey was undertaken before 2013 by Cathrine Jolivet-Lévy and Georges Kiourtzian, who described a rock-cut complex consisting of four groups of mostly one-aisled churches and other chambers with paintings and inscriptions, dating to c. 6th-11th c. The churches probably served as burial places for local families. Both inscriptions were for the first time edited in 2013 by Jolivet-Lévy and Kiourtzian in the report of their survey, but Inscription 1 had been probably mentioned in a memoire, written by a Greek refugee between 1952 and 1966: εἰς μίαν ἐκκλησίαν τῆς Γοργορῆς· "ἐνταῦθα μετεφέρθησαν τὰ ὀστὰ τοῦ Ἁγ. Κηρύκου ἐν ἔτει ... μηνὶ Ἰουλίῳ" / 'On a certain church of Gorgoli: "The bones of St. Kyrikos were transferred there in the year …, in the month of July" '. For the memoir, see: Rizos 2007, 132.


Inscription 1 is a record of the deposition of relics of Saint Kyrikos, naming the bishop, who performed the rite, and specifying the date by the year of the indiction. For a close parallel, but this time a label of a reliquary, see: E00989. Bishop Ioannes, mentioned in line 5, is an otherwise unattested person. Jolivet-Lévy and Kiourtzian note that Cappadocian bishops bearing the name John are attested only in Nyssa in 553, 681, 787 and in Faustinopolis in 681, but the identity of the see of our bishop is uncertain, as the name Ioannes was very popular among late antique Christians. Kyrikos, whose relics are referred to in line 3, is almost certainly the 3rd c. child martyr of Tarsos (Cilicia). Based on the contents of the inscription Jolivet-Lévy and Kiourtzian identify the chamber, where the inscriptions were found, as a martyr shrine of Kyrikos, supposed to have served for burials ad sanctos (i.e. close to the martyr's relics), but as the chamber was not excavated, they say that this hypotheisis still awaits verification. As for the dating formula of Inscription 1, originally read by the editors as μενὴ Ἰουλίου ἐνάτῃ ἔτους ἰν[δ](ικτιῶνος) ἕ<κ>του / 'in the month of July, on the ninth (day), the sixth year of the indiction', Denis Feissel notes in Bulletin épigraphique that indiction year cycles are never introduced by the term ἔτους/'in the year'. Having examined the photograph, he suggests the following reading: ἔτους ἰκοστοῦ | [- - -] /'in the year [- - -] twenty', which implies that hundreds were mentioned in the now lost line 8. Inscription 2 is an invocation of God as the Lord/Κύριος and of Saint Kyrikos, asked to protect the crops, aid the sick, and help all the contributors of an unspecified undertaking, perhaps the construction of this presumed martyr shrine. In the comments on lines 3-4 Jolivet-Lévy and Kiourtzian note that the regular supplication formula is φύλαξον τοὺς καρποφόρουντας / 'protect the contributors' (literally: 'those, who bring crops') and not φύλαξον τοὺς καρπούς / 'protect the crops', which might be a mistake of the author of the invocation. Lines 5-7 contain a request for help on behalf of 'those in toil and sickness' / ἐν ἀρρωστίᾳ καμνόντων. Ἀρρωστία is a rare word, and so the editors suppose that here it might mean the human weakness and susceptibility to sin rather than a physical affliction. Dating: Probably 6th c. Jolivet-Lévy and Kiourtzian point out that the letter forms and phrasing resemble other 6th c. Cappadocian inscriptions. Furthermore, the introductory formula τοῦ θεοῦ θέλοντος / 'God willing it', appears also in an inscription from Acemli near Flaviopolis, dated AD 596 (E01079). The style of crosses in the room is also datable to the late antique period.


Edition: Jolivet-Lévy, C. & G. Kiourtzian, "Le site de Gorgoli et le martyrium de saint Kèrykos en Cappadoce: étude préliminaire", [in:] C. Blondeau, B. Boissavit-Camus, V. Boucherat, P. Volti, "Ars auro gemmisque prior". Mélanges en hommage à Jean-Pierre Caillet (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 463-478. Jolivet-Lévy, C., "Archéologie religieuse du monde byzantin et arts chrétiens d’Orient: Conférences de l’année 2011-2012", École pratique des hautes études, Section des sciences religieuses, Annuaire, Résumés des conférences et travaux 120 (2011-2012 [2013]), 143-148. Rizos, S., Ἡ Συνασός, vol. 2 (Athens: Kentro Mikrasiatikon Spoudon, 2007) - mentioned in a quoted memoire. Reference works: L'Année Épigraphique (2013) [2016], 1659-1660. Bulletin épigraphique (2014), 583. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 63, 1420-1421. For descriptions of the site, see: Asutay-Fleissig, N., Templonanlagen in den Höhlenkirchen Kappadokiens (Frankfurt am Main, New York: P. Lang, 1996), 21-22, no. 18. Jerphanion, G., Une nouvelle province de l'art byzantin: les eglises rupestres de Cappadoce, vol. 2, part 1 (Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1936), 121-123. Lemaigre Demesnil, N., "Architecture et liturgie", Dossiers de l’Archéologie 283 (2003), 23-25.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager