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E01949: Greek building inscription for a church (oikos) dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), possibly by a miaphysite group. Found at Khirbet et-Tīn, to the west of Ḥimṣ/Emesa (northwest Phoenicia). Dated 592.

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posted on 2016-10-19, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιοτάτου Δοσιθ[έου ἐπισ]κόπ[ου ἡμῶν (?)]
+ ἐθεμελιώ- + μηνὶ Ἀρτεμε-
θη ὁ οἶκος τῆς σίου αλʹ τοῦ
ἁγίας Μαρίας γϡʹ {τοῦ} ἔτους, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ιʹ,
+ ἐπὶ Σεργίου πρ(εσβυτέρου)
[- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]

1. ἐπισ]κόπ[ου ἡμῶν (?) or Ἐμισηνῶν (?) Jalabert Lammens

'Under [our (?)] most holy bishop Dositheos. + The church (oikos) of the Holy Mary was founded. + On the 31st (day) of the month of Artemisios, in the 903th year, 10th indiction. + Under the presbyter Sergios [- - -].'

Text: IGLS 5, no. 2611.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

ἁγία Μαρία

Image Caption 1

Drawing. From: IGLS 5, 263.

Image Caption 2

Drawing. From: Lammens 1900, plate 36.

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

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Khirbet et-tîn

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

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Thabbora Thabbora Khirbet et-tîn Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Probably a large basalt lintel. H. 0.62 m; W. 2.62 m. Decorated with low-relief carvings of crosses within circles in the middle and at both ends. Reused in a wall in a field. First recorded by Henri Lammens and published with a drawing in 1900. Revisited and probably photographed by Sébastien Ronzevalle, a Jesuit and scholar of historical geography, archaeology, and Semitic epigraphy, based in Beirut. A new reading was offered in 1959 in the fifth volume of Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie by Louis Jalabert, based on a photograph.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a church (here named oikos) of 'the Holy Mary'. The editors note that the fact that she is not called Θεοτόκος/'the God-Bearer' may mean that the church was built by a miaphysite community. Cf. E01937 with an invocation of the help of 'the Holy Mary' for clerics from Emesa; also E01953. Bishop Dositheos, occurring in line 1, apparently resided in Emesa (hence the alternative restoration by Lammens and Jalabert: ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιοτάτου Δοσιθ[έου ἐπισ]κόπ[ου Ἐμισηνῶν (?)]/'Under Dositheos, bishop [of the city of Emesa]'.) Dating: the inscription is dated according to the Seleucid era. Its year 903 corresponds to AD 590/591; the mention of the month of Artemisios allows for narrowing the date to AD 591.


Edition: Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2611 (with a drawing). Lammens, H., “Le pays des Nosairis. Itinéraire et notes archéologiques”, Le musée belge: revue de philologie classique 4 (1900), 300, no. 36 (with a drawing). Further reading: Leclercq, H., "Nosairis", Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et liturgie, vol. 12/2 (Paris: Librarie Letouzey et Ané, 1936), col. 1622.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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