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E01390: Floor-mosaic with a Greek building inscription for a basilica (termed temenos) dedicated to *Michael (the Archangel, S00181). Found at Prines Mylopotamou (near Eleutherna, central-west Crete). Probably mid-5th or 6th c.

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posted on 2016-05-20, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Εὐφρατᾶς, ὁ ἁγιώτατος ἐπίσκοπος, [κ]τίζι τόδε τό
θῖον τέμενος, οἶκον εὐπρεπῆ εἰς ὕψος ἐγίρας
Μιχαὴλ τοῦ Ἀρχανγέλου, οὗπερ πρεσβίαις χάρις θήσετε ἡμῖ(ν)

1 [κ]τίζι Tziphopoulos, [ἐκ]τίζι Themelis || 3. χάρις θήσετε or χάρισθήσετε Tziphopoulos, χάρις θύσεαε Themelis

'Euphratas, the most holy bishop, builds this divine shrine (temenos), having raised high the splendid house of Michael the Archangel, through whose intercessions grace is bestowed upon us.'

Text: Themelis 1993-1994, 273 with remarks in SEG 45, 1267.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Images and objects - Wall paintings and mosaics


  • 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

Crete Eleutherna

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

Crete Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Eleutherna Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Inscription from the mosaic floor in the narthex of the basilica at Prines Mylopotamou. First published by Petros Themelis in 1994/1995. An improved reading, suggested by Yannis Tziphopoulos, was published in the 45th volume of Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum.


The inscription commemorates the construction of the church where the mosaic was found, dedicated to Michael the Archangel as an efficient intercessor. The founder is bishop Euphratas. Themelis notes that a certain Euphratas was the first recorded bishop of Eleutherna. He participated in the council of Chalkedon/Chalcedon in 451. According to Themelis it is probable that he was the founder of the basilica, and the person mentioned in our inscription. The identity of the two bishops was, however, questioned by Michalis Andrianakis. Having analysed other finds from the church, he concluded that the entire building was probably constructed in the 6th c., and that it was probably a cemetery church. Intercession (presebeia) by an archangel is rarely mentioned in inscriptions, though Michael is frequently the addressee of requests for help (boethei), especially in pilgrim graffiti, dating to the 6th and later centuries. The word temenos, here used to name the church, is rare in Christian texts and has strong pagan connotations, meaning 'sacred enclosure'. It appears, however, in the vocabulary of several Christian authors, for example: Procopius uses this word for a church dedicated to saints *Sergios and *Bakchos in Constantinople (De aedif., I 4: οὗ δὴ καὶ τέμενος ἄλλο ἁγίοις ἐπιφανέσι Σεργίῳ τε καὶ Βάκχῳ ἐδείματο/'where he also built another temenos to the glorious martyrs Sergios and Bakchos', see: EXXXXX), and for a sanctuary of an unnamed *Archangel near Strobilos in Bithynia (De aedif., V 13,16-20: τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου τὸ τέμενος/'the temenos of the Archangel', see: EXXXXX). In addition, a probably 11th c. inscription from Amaseia in Helenopontus describes a temenos of Saint Basileus, bishop of Amaseia martyred under Licinius (see: Steinepigramme aus dem griechischen Osten, vol. 2, no. 11/07/07).


Edition: Tzifopoulos, Y.Z., "", in: P. Themelis (ed.) Πρωτοβυζαντινὴ Ἐλεύθερνα, Τομέας Ι. Δεύτερος τόμος (Rethymno: Panepistēmio Krētēs, 2000) 241-243, no. 1. Themelis, P., “”, Kretike Hestia 5 (1994-1996), 273. Further reading: Andrianakis, M., "Χριστιανικά Μνημεία Επαρχίας Μυλοποτάμου", in: I. Gavrilaki, Y.Z. Tzifopoulos (eds.), Πρακτικὰ Διεθνοῦς Συνεδρίου “Ὁ Μυλοπόταμος ἀπὸ τὴν ἀρχαιότητα ὡς σήμερα”, vol. 4 (Rethymnon: , 2006), 51-52. Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 375. Themelis, P., "", in: N.C. Stampolidis (ed.), Ἐλεύθερνα. Πόλη - Ἀκρόπολη - Νεκρόπολη (Athens: Mouseio Kykladikēs Technēs, 2004), 76 (with a photograph). Tzifopoulos, Y.Z., "The inscriptions", in: P.G. Themelis (ed.), Ancient Eleutherna. Sector I, vol. 1 (Athens: EΚ∆ΟΣΕΙΣ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟΥ ΚΡΗΤΗΣ, 2009), 139. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 45, 1267 (with an improved reading, provided by Yannis Tzifopoulos); 54, 838; 59, 1030.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity