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E01815: Two Greek inscriptions on a boundary stone marking the area of asylum of a church dedicated to *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030). Found in Djuwaniyeh, between Antioch-on-the-Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). One of them is dated 544.

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posted on 2016-08-18, 00:00 authored by erizos
Inscription 1:

Upper fragment of a stone stele. Broken and lost at the bottom. Preserved dimensions: H. 1.94 m; W. 0.56 m; Th. 0.46 m; letter height 0.05-0.08 m. The inscription may be incomplete. Found standing upright c. 15 m to the south of the church in Djuwaniyeh in Jebel Barisha, in the southeast part of the town (for the church, see: Bulter 1903, 229-230). Another upright stone block was found 3 or 4 m to the west of our stele. The first editor, William Prentice, doubted that the stones were situated in their original place, but he suggested that the lost lower end of the inscribed stele might have been still buried in situ, perhaps in the court to the south of the church.

The inscription was first recorded by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900 (copy, photograph, squeeze) and published by William Prentice in 1908. Republished in 1939 by René Mouterde from the edition and photograph by Prentice.

+ ὅροι ἀσυλίας
τοῦ ἁγίου πρωτομάρτυρ(ος)
Στεφάνου, φιλοτι-
μηθέν(τες) παρὰ τοῦ
γαληνοτ(άτου) ἡμῶ(ν)
βασιλέως Φλ(αουίου)
Ἰουστινιανοῦ τοῦ αἰ-
ωνίου Αὐγούστου (καὶ)
ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιωτ(άτου) (καὶ) μ-
ακαριωτ(άτου) ἀρχι-
επισκ(όπου) ἡμῶν
(καὶ) πατριάρχου
(καὶ) τοῦ ἐνδοξ(οτάτου) κόμ(ητος)
[(καὶ) τῶ]̣ν ̣θεοφ(ιλεστάτων)
Ἡρακλείου, Ἀν̣δ̣ρ[έ]-
α, (καὶ) Ἰωάννου πρ(εσβυτέρων)

3-4. φιλοτι|μηθέν(τες) Mouterde, φιλοτι|μηθέν(τος) Prentice || 5. ἡμῶ(ν) Mouterde, ἡμῶ[ν] Prentice || 14-15. τοῦ ἐνδοξ(οτάτου) κόμ(ητος) | [(καὶ) τῶ]̣ν Mouterde, τοῦ ἐνδοξ(οτάτου) κόμ(ητος) | [ἡμῶ]̣ν (?) Lucas, τοῦ ἐνδοξ(οτάτου) κόμ(ητος), | [τῶ]̣ν Prentice || 15. ̣θεοφφ stone || 17. πρρ stone

'Boundaries of the asylum of the holy First Martyr Stephen, granted by our most serene emperor Flavius Justinianus, forever Augustus, under our most holy and most blessed archbishop and patriarch Domninos, our most glorious count (of the East), and most God-beloved Herakleios, Andreas, and Ioannes, the presbyters. ΧΜΓ'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 618. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly adapted.

Inscription 2:

Two fragments of a stone stele. Fragment A: H. 1.21 m; W. 0.60 m; Th. 0.41 m. Fragment B: H. 0.79 m; W. 0.60 m; Th. 0.39 m. Both fragments lay on the ground. The face of Fragment B was badly weathered.

Found c. 800 m to the east of the town, near a road. They were probably brought there from the church in the town.

First recorded by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria (copy) and published by William Prentice in 1908. Republished in 1939 by René Mouterde from the edition by Prentice. There is no published image.

+ ὅροι ἀσυ-
λίας τοῦ
ἁγίου πρω-
ρος Στεφ-
̣ά̣ν[ου], ̣μη(νὸς) ̣Ξαν-
θικ[ο]̣ῦ ιδʹ,
ἰν̣δ(ικτιῶνος) βʹ, το<ῦ>
βχʹ ἔτους.

'+ Boundaries of the asylum of the holy First Martyr Stephen. The 14th of the month of Xanthikos, indiction 2, of the 602nd year.'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 620. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Saint Name in Source


Image Caption 1

Photograph of the cast of Inscription 1. From: Prentice 1908, 55.

Image Caption 2

Photograph of the findspot with Inscription 1 standing upright. From: Prentice 1908, 54.

Image Caption 3

Photograph of the church of Stephen by H.C. Butler. From: Archaeological Archives, accessed August 18, 2016,

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes Beroia Djuwaniyeh

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Djuwaniyeh Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Seeking asylum at church/shrine

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Monarchs and their family Aristocrats Officials


The inscriptions marked the boundaries of the zone of asylum of a church dedicated to Stephen, the First Martyr. It is the only known church in Djuwaniyeh. Similar boundary inscriptions for churches are common in the East, but few specifically state that they marked zones of asylum. Inscription 2 is probably an abridged version of Inscription 1, but, which is important, it is this shorter text that provides us with the date of the erection of the stelae. Inscription 1 may have also included a dating formula, but if so it must have been written on the lower, now lost, fragment of the stone. The date is computed according to the era of Antioch (i.e. the Caesarian era). Its year 602 and the month of Xanthikos correspond to April AD 544. It is possible that the limits of the safe zone were marked by other, similar markers. As the original placement of the stelae is unknown, we can only speculate whether the long text was displayed, for example, at the main entrance to the precinct of the sanctuary, and the shorter ones at other gateways. The patriarch, mentioned in Inscription 1 after the emperor Justinian, is Domnus III, the Chalcedonian patriarch of Antioch, in office from 545/546 to 559 or 561 or 567 (various scholars give different dates). Here his name is presented in its alternative form: Domninos. Both Prentice and Mouterde believed that Inscription 1, with the name of the patriarch, must have been contemporary to Inscription 2, with the dating formula. However, it appears that Inscription 2 predates the accepted timeframe of the patriarchate of Domnus by one year. This means that either Inscription 1 is somewhat later than Inscription 2, or that the era date is wrong, or that the time of Domnus' patriarchate must be discussed anew. Strangely the name of the count of the East is not mentioned in lines 13-14, but the editors do not raise this issue. Lines 15-16 offer us the names of local ecclesiastics, involved in the erection of these boundary stones. Prentice believed that two of them were mentioned: Herakleios son of Andreas (or Andra according to Witkowski; for the name Andra, see the inscription: Prentice 1908, no. 130) and Ioannes. However, Mouterde points out that probably three presbyters are meant here: Herakleios, Andreas, and Ioannes.


Edition: J.-B.Yon, P.-L.Gatier (edd.), Choix d’inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Beirut 2009), no. 27. Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), nos. 618 and 620. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 53, no. 28 and 54, no. 29. Further reading: Butler, H.C., Architecture and other Arts (Publications of an American Archæological Expedition to Syria in 1899–1900 2, New York: Century, 1903), 229-230 (for a description of the church). Cosentino, S., "Boundary marks and space organization in early Byzantine epigraphy", in: Ch. Stavrakos (ed.), Inscriptions in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine history and history of art : proceedings of the international symposium "Inscriptions: Their Contribution to the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine History and History of Art" (Ioannina, June 26-27, 2015) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag in Kommission, 2016), 99. Devreesse, R., Le Patriarcat d'Antioche depuis la paix de l'Église jusqu'a la conquête arabe (Paris: J. Gabalda et cie, 1945), 118, note 8 (for the patriarch Domnus III). Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 3/2: Antioche (suite). Antiochène: nos. 989-1242 (BAH 51, Paris: P. Geuthner, 1953), 684 (addendum). Lucas, H., "[Review:] William Kelly Prentice, Greek and latin inscriptions...", Byzantinische Zeitschrift 18 (1909), 566. Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 28. Trombley, F.R., Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529, vol. 2 (Leiden, New York, Cologne: Brill, 1994), 278. Wenger, L., “Ὅροι ἀσυλίας”, Philologus 86 (1931), 430-431. Witkowski, S., "Epigraphische Studien zu den griechischen Inschriften Syrien", Mélanges Maspero, vol. 2 (Mémoires publiés par les membres de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire 67, Le Caire: Impr. de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1934), 187. For Butler's photographs from Djuwaniyeh, see: and the following items. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 37, 1409; 50, 1703.

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