Saint NameTheodore Tiro, martyr of Amaseia (Helenopontus, north-eastern Asia Minor), ob. 306 : S00480
Saint Name in SourceΘεόδωρος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after750
Activity not before400
Activity not after750
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcApamea on the Orontes
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Apamea on the Orontes
Cult activities - Places Named after Saint
- Hospital and other charitable institutions
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceFragment of a large lintel. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.76 m; W. 0.80 m. The inscription is carved on three bands. Letter height: 0.10 m (line 1); 0.06 m (lines 2-3).
First published by Jean Lassus in 1935/1936. Republished by René Mouterde in 1955, based on Lassus' edition.
DiscussionThe inscription begins with an apotropaic (protective) quotation of the eighth verse of Psalm 120(121). Putting this verse over doorways was a frequent practice in early Christian Syria. The rest of the inscription is very fragmentarily preserved, but we can conclude that help and protection are sought for an institution named after Saint Theodore, probably the famous soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita in Helenopontus (northeast Asia Minor), who attracted extensive cult in Late Antiquity. The institution is designated ξενέων (xeneon) which might be an abbreviated form of ξενοδοχεῖον (xenodocheion), a hostel for pilgrims or itinerant clergy (for a similar inscription naming a hostel of *George, see E01928; for another xeneon of Thedore, see: E02132; for general remarks, see Mazzoleni 1999, 307-309). However, ξενέων is sometimes also included on lists of Syriac μητᾶτα (metata, military transit camps) named after saints. For these institutions see: E01834, also E01632, and E00807. The editors claimed that the lintel which bears our inscription had probably originally been set in a wall of a fortress, which supports the latter supposition. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that μητᾶτα could have served as hostels for pilgrims, and it is not unlikely that fortified place were indeed frequented by travelling Christians, as safe stops on their journeys. Thus, the present ξενέων need not have played an exclusively military role.
For a hostel (xention or xenidion) in Bsērīn to the south of Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria), named after *George, martyr in Diospolis/Lydda, see: E01928.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, Cl., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 4: Laodicée, Apamène (BAH 61, Paris: Librairie orientalise Paul Geuthner, 1955), no. 1707.
Lassus, J., Inventaire archéologique de la région au nord-est de Hama, vol. 1: Text (Documents d'Études Orientales 4, Damascus: Institut français de Damas, [1935-1936?]), 67, no. 31, fig. 71.
Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Transformation of the classical heritage 28, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 113-114.???? (ref as metaton???)
Mazzoleni, D., "Iscrizioni nei luoghi di pellegrinaggio", in: E. Dassmann, J. Engemann (eds.), Akten des XII. Internationalen Kongresses für christliche Archäologie, Bonn, 22.-28. September 1991, vol. 1, (Studi di antichità cristiana 52, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum. Ergänzungsband 20,1, Münster: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1995), 307-309.
Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 26.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 45, 2354; 47,1930.