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E01688: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of the so-called 'Basilica of Ioulianos' at Barad/Brad in the Limestone Massif (north Syria, between Antioch on the Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo) through the intercession of unnamed saints. Dated 402.

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posted on 2016-07-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
...ΚΙ.ΛΟC... [ὑπ]ὲρ σωτηρίας Ι...
Ν ἔτους νυ΄ μη(νὸς) Πανέμου. Κ(ύριε), βοήθησον.
δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Ὑιῷ (καὶ) Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι. ἀμ<η>ν.
Κ[ύριε] δὸς ὑγίαν Ἰουλιανῷ τῷ ἀρχι(τέκτονι), τῷ
ἀρξαμένῳ καὶ τελέσαντι εὐχαῖς ἁγίων.

'[- - -] as a vow for the salvation [- - -] the year 450, the month of Panemos. O Lord, help! Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. O Lord, give health to Ioulianos, the architect, who started and completed (the construction of this church) through the intercessions of saints.'

Text: Lassus 1947, 257.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060 Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518

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

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Barad/Brâd

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Barad/Brâd Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Saint aiding or preventing the construction of a cult building

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans


A stone slab from an architrave with mouldings. H. 1.117 m; W. 1.52 m; letter height 0.05-0.07 m. Found in the nave of the cathedral basilica of Barad/Brad, close to the west gate. Seen and copied by Jean Lassus. First published by Lassus in 1947. At the moment of its discovery, the cathedral was one of the biggest recorded ancient churches in Syria. The church is a three-aisled basilica with a portico with a colonnade at its west end, and a court with another colonnade, adjacent to the south aisle of the building. The apse was flanked by two small chambers. The north aisle, led to yet another, squarish extension, with a small apse in its eastern wall, identified as a martyr shrine (c. 8.30 m x 8.30 m). For its description, see: E01687. The foundations of the church contain the reused stones from an earlier pagan temple. The construction of the core of the church was begun in 395 and was completed in 402. The church was first surveyed by Howard Butler, during the Princeton University Archaeological Expedition in 1909. In 1939 research on the church was resumed by Jean Lassus and Georges Tchalenko.


The inscription commemorates the construction of the church by a certain architect, named Ioulianos. This man might have been responsible for other buildings in Barad in c. 400-404, together with his brother Marinos, see: SEG 43,1025-1026; Milburn 1989, 125; Strube 1993, 43-44. In the last lines of the inscription the artisan invokes God and asks him for health for himself, in exchange for his work on the sanctuary. The closing formula, εὐχαῖς ἁγίων/'through the intercessions of saints', refers to the completion of the building rather than to the grant of good health to Ioulianos. The identity of these saints is not specified. They could be the 'Holy Martyrs' venerated in the martyrion of the basilica (E01687, E01689), though it is supposed that at the moment of the construction the church owned relics of a smaller number of martyrs than in later times. Jean Lassus identified the chronological system used in the inscription as the era of Antioch (= the Caesarian era) and computed the date as AD 402.


Edition: Lassus, J., Sanctuaires chrétiens de Syrie: essai sur la genèse, la forme et l'usage liturgique des édifices du culte chrétien, en Syrie, du IIIe siècle à la conquête musulmane (Bibliothèque archéologique et historique 42, Paris: P. Geuthner, 1947), 257. Further reading: Butler, H.C. (ed.), Syria, Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, division II: Ancient Architecture in Syria, part B: North Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1920), 305. Comte, M.-Ch., Les reliquaires du Proche-Orient et de Chypre à la période protobyzantine, IVe-VIIIe siècles: formes, emplacements, fonctions et cultes (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 20, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2012), 300-303. Donceel-Voûte, P., Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban. Décor, archéologie et liturgie (Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’Université catholique de Louvain 69, Louvain-La-Neuve: Département d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 1988), 38-44. Loosley, E., The architecture and liturgy of the bema in fourth- to-sixth-century Syrian churches (Boston: Brill, 2012), 28-29; 129-131; 141-144. Milburn, R.L.P., Early Christian Art and Architecture (Aldershot: Wildwood House, 1989), 125. Moralee, J., 'For salvation's sake': provincial loyalty, personal religion, and epigraphic production in the Roman and late antique Near East (New York; London: Routledge, 2004), chapter 4 note 3 (and other inscriptions). Scheck, F.R., Odenthal, J., Syrien - Hochkulturen zwischen Mittelmeer und Arabischer Wüste (Köln: DuMont Reiseverlag, 1998), 290-291. Strube, Ch., Baudekoration im Nordsyrischen Kalksteinmassiv, vol. 1 (Damaszener Forschungen, Mainz: Zabern, 1993), 43-44. For photographs of the church, see: Emma Loosley, “Brad Church of Julianos,” Architecture and Asceticism, accessed August 12, 2016,

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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