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E01803: Greek inscription with an invocation of God and *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), asked to help a presbyter. Found at Deir Rehšān near Antioch-on-the-Orontes (north Syria). Probably late antique.

online resource
posted on 2016-08-10, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ Κύριε καὶ ἁγία Μαρία, βοήθισον Μαρᾳ πρε[σ]β(υτέρῳ)

'+ Lord and the holy Mary, help Maras, the presbyter!'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 489.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

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

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes Deir Rehšān

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Deir Rehšān Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


A stone lintel, reused over the southwest doorway of a private house at Deir Rehšān. There is no published detailed description and image. First published by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939, from a copy by Froment, a French officer stationed in Syria and mapping the Syrian interior in cooperation with Mouterde.


The inscription is a simple invocation of God as the Lord and Mary, asked to help a presbyter, Maras. What is noteworthy is that here God and the saint are invoked as equal partners. For similar cases, see: (E00786 (7): God and *John the Evangelist in Ephesos; EXXXX; EXXXX). Frank Trombley suggested that this lintel came from a church built by our presbyter, and dedicated to Mary. If so, we can suspect that another lintel bore the proper dedicatory inscription with a dating formula, which is not present in our text. Dating: this kind of short invocation with the βοήθει/'help!' formula is usually dated to the later 5th or the 6th-7th c. Trombley places the inscription precisely in the 6th c., but his arguments refer mostly to the superficial description of the forms of letters by Mouterde and to the fact that the cult of Mary started only in the mid-5th c.


Edition: Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 489. Further reading: Trombley, F.R., Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529, vol. 2 (Leiden, New York, Cologne: Brill, 1994), 267.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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