Saint NameArchangels (unspecified) : S00191
Saint Name in Sourceἀρχάγελος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements
Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after800
Activity not before400
Activity not after800
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Aegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSyme
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Syme
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits
SourceThe inscription is on a cylindrical white marble column, supporting the altar in the monastic church of Michael the Archangel also named τοῦ Κοκκιμήδη. The text is carved within a rectangular frame, below a carving of a Latin cross.
Circumference of the column: 1.167 m at the bottom; H. of the column: 0.64 m. Dimensions of the text field: H. 0,125 m; W. 0.215 m. Letter height 0.01-0.021 m. The original siting and size of the column is unknown.
Seen and copied by Demosthenes Chaviaras before 1912. The inscription was very poorly preserved and Chaviaras admitted that the letters were hardly recognisable. He offered two drawings with different readings and a transcription.
DiscussionThough the reading of the initial lines of the inscription is problematic, there is no doubt that it commemorated the offering of columns (the one, on which it is inscribed, and probably others) to the church of Michael the Archangel, certainly the predecessor of the monastic sanctuary in which it was found.
As we have access only to Chaviaras' drawings, we cannot offer a reliable new transcription. Some conjectural completions can, however, be suggested. Chaviaras interpreted the text in lines 2-3 as ἔσ<ω>σε <δᾳδού|χ>ους / 'he saved the torch-bearers', whom he interpreted as monks. This is implausible; perhaps one should read here simply the word μον[α]|χούς/'monks', preceded by the verb ἔσ<ω>σε/'saved' or μνήσθητι/'remember'. It is probable that the dedication began with the invocation of God as the Lord: Κύριε. Though the last word of the inscription is clearly rendered on the drawing as κιόνια/'columns', Chaviaras corrected it to ριονίᾳ a form of ῥίον/'peak', which, he said, referred to the hill on which the church was sited. This, however, makes little sense, and Georges Kiourtzian rightly points out the word denotes the object of the offering, i.e. the aforementioned columns.
Chaviaras, D., Συλλογὴ χριστιανικῶν ἐπιγραφῶν καὶ περιγραφὴ χριστιανικῶν ἀρχαιοτήτων, part 2: Νήσου Σύμης, Византийский Временник Российской Академии Наук 19 (1912), 152-153.
Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 378.