Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΜαρία
Image Caption 1Drawing. From: Littmann 1934, 1.
Image Caption 2Drawing. From: Prentice 1922, 30.
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 - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Places Named after Saint
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
SourceFragment of an architrave, broken and lost at the right-hand end. H. 0.18 m; W. 1 m. Possibly conjoining with the inscribed architrave fragments bearing a Greek inscription (letter height 0.08 m), published in IGLS 4 under no. 1898.
When recorded by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria, the stone was reused in an inner room of a modern house, over a blocked window or door. The Greek text was published in 1922 by William Prentice (with a drawing), the Syriac in 1934 by Enno Littman. The Greek passage was republished in 1955 by René Mouterde, based on the earlier edition.
DiscussionThe inscription may have indicated the site of a monastery dedicated to Mary, as, according to Littmann, the Syriac text probably reads ܘܕܝܪܐ ('and the monastery, convent'). The other possibility is, however, that the Syriac word is an epithet of Mary, perhaps ܗܕܝܪܐ ('the glorious one').
According to Butler, the present fragment and several other reportedly conjoining inscribed slabs came from an architrave which presumably lay over the colonnade of a monastic court. The inscription on the possibly conjoining fragments is probably an independent text which reads approximately as: + ἰδία τῆς τ(οῦ) θ(εο)ῦ εἰς τ[ὴ]ν κώμιν ἠφιμί<α>ς δ<ήλω>σ<ι>ς/'+ A singular sign (?) of God's benevolence for the village.' Littmann was sceptical about Butler's idea, and he himself seems to have favoured the reading ܗܕܝܪܐ ('the glorious one'). He also rightly noted that the Syriac inscription is written upside down, which makes it less likely to be an element of the Greek inscription(s).
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. 1899.
Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Publications of the Princeton University of archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1922), 29, no. 880.
Littmann, E., Publications of the Princeton University of archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division IV: Syriac Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1934), no. 1.
Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 13.