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E01972: Syriac inscription commemorating the construction, probably of a monastic church dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Kefr Derian in Jabal Barisha, to the west of Beroia/Aleppo (central Syria). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2016-10-29, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski

[ܐܢܐ ܫܡܥܘܢ ܡܢ ܬܘܫܐ [ܒܢܝܬ] ܥܕܬܐ ܗܕܐ ܠܡܪܝܬ ܡܪ[ܝܡ

'I, Symeon from the desert, [built] this church for Lady Mary.'

Text: Jarry 1967, no. 12. Translation: Sergey Minov.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Image Caption 1

Photograph of squeeze 1. From Jarry 1967, plate XXXVI.

Image Caption 2

Photograph of squeeze 2. From Jarry 1967, plate XXXVI.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)


  • Syriac

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

Beroia Kefr Derian

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Kefr Derian Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Stone lintel from a doorway of a church, consisting of two blocks. Found in situ. Decorated with a carving of a rosette in the middle, dividing the inscription into two parts. H. reportedly '0.07 m' (presumably an error for 0.70 m); W. 1.70 m. Letter height 0.02-0.03 m. The editor notes that the inscription must have been carved when the blocks were still on the ground, so the text is not correctly aligned. Seen and copied by Jacques Jarry in 1963 (while he was a member of the 1963 expedition led by Georges Tchalenko), and published in 1967.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a church of Mary. The editor, Jacques Jarry, points out that Kefr Derian is known as the site of a monastery dedicated to the stylite Jonas (whose column was found in the north courtyard) and that our church belonged to this convent. Furthermore, he notes that it seems strange that this holy man was not the dedicatee of our church. To explain this fact, Jarry suggests that the stylite could have arrived at the site only after the construction of the building. Although possible, this explanation is not necessary, as churches were rarely dedicated to holy men, even stylites. The editor does not comment on the name (Symeon 'of the desert') of the founder of the church. It is possible that he was a hermit, or a member of a nomadic group.


Edition: Jarry, J., “Inscriptions arabes, syriaques et grecques du massif du Bélus en Syrie du nord”, Annales islamologiques 7 (1967), 147, no. 12. Further reading: Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 13, 158-159. For a Syriac manuscript, kept in the British Museum and referring to the monastery, see: Wright, W., Catalogue of Syriac manuscripts in the British museum acquired since the year 1838, vol. 1 (London: British Museum. Department of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts, s.n.), 11, col. 2. For a description of the site and photographs, see:كفر-دريان/

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