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E01984: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the paving of a church of *Christophoros (martyr of Pamphylia, S00616). Found at Qabr Hiram/Hanawaï to the south east of Tyre (west Phoenicia). Dated 575.

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posted on 2016-11-03, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
γέγονην τὸ πᾶν ἔργον τῆς ψεφόσεως τοῦ ἐνδόξου
καὶ πανσέπτου μάρτυρος ἁγίου Χριστοφόρου, ἐπὶ τοῦ
θεοφιλεστ(άτου) Γεωργίου ἀρχιμ(ανδρίτου) (καὶ) χορεπισκ(όπου) (καὶ) ἐπὶ τοῦ θεοφιλεστ(άτου)
Κύρου διακ(όνου) καὶ ἐπιτρ(όπου) ὑπὲρ σωτηρ(ίας) τῶν δύω κτημάτ(ων) οἰκονό-
μων (καὶ) γεοργῶν (καὶ) τõν τέκνων αὐτῶν (καὶ) τῆς κλήρου (καὶ) τῶν καρ-
ποφορούντ(ων) ἐν χρόνοις τοῦ θεοσεβεστ(άτου) Ζαχχαρία πρεσ-
βυτέρου ἐλαχίστου ἐν μηνὶ Δεσίου τοῦ ψα΄ ἔτους ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) θ΄

3. ἀρχιμ(ανδρίτου) καὶ χωρεπισκ(όπου) Rey-Coquais, ἀρχιδ(ιακόνου) (καὶ) χορεπισκ(όπου) Donceel-Voûte Feissel, ἀρχιερ(έως) (καὶ) χορεπισκ(όπου) Renan

'The whole mosaic floor of the glorious and all-reverend (panseptos) martyr Saint Christophoros was completed under the most dear-to-God abbot (archimandrites) and country bishop (chorepiskopos) Georgios and under the most dear-to-God Kyros, deacon and steward (epitropos) as a vow for the salvation of stewards (oikonomoi) and peasants (georgoi) of two domains and of their children, and of the clergy and of the contributors. In the time of the most pious Zakcharias, the most humble presbyter. In the month of Daisios, the 701st year, 9th indiction.'

Text: Donceel-Voûte 1988, 416 with corrected readings by Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Christophoros, martyr in Samos (Lykia) or Antioch (Syria) under Decius (249-251) : S00616

Saint Name in Source


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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tyre Qabr Hiram/Hanawaï

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

Tyre Thabbora Thabbora Qabr Hiram/Hanawaï Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Children Peasants Officials


Floor-mosaic from the church at Qabr Hirma. The church was a small three-aisled basilica with an apse at the east end of the nave and small apses at the east ends of both aisles. It had an atrium or porch at its west end, and a large hall behind the apses. Both aisles were paved with richly decorated floor-mosaics showing labelled busts of allegories of the months, and pairs (males and females) of animals. The nave housed a large framed mosaic panel with medallions made of curling grapevines springing from four amphoras. Within medallions there are depictions of hunting animals, and people harvesting grapes and working at a vine press. The floor of the choir was raised and decorated with several mosaic panels with geometric patterns. Our inscription was located in front of the apse, within a tabula ansata with sophisticated ansae, above a rectangular mosaic panel consisting of squares. The church at Qabr Hiram was first surveyed by Ernest Renan who in 1860 was commissioned with the exploration of the region of Phoenicia by the emperor Napoleon III. In 1862 our mosaic floor was lifted by Luigi Taddei, a mosaicist from Rome, and transported, on the request of the emperor, to the Louvre Museum. It was first published by Ernest Renan in 1864 and since then has been republished several times. Here we list only several of the available editions.


The inscription commemorates the paving of the church. Based on its contents, the sanctuary can reliably be identified as dedicated to a martyr Christopher. The saint is here described as ἔνδοξος/'glorious' and πάνσεπτος/'all-reverend'. The latter epithet is uncommon in inscriptions, and is normally referred to churches and not people. This Christophoros is almost certainly the famous martyred soldier Christophoros. It seems that the work was funded by local villagers who style themselves stewards and peasants of two local domains (κτήματα). The position of the mosaic, within the area of the enclosure of the choir, suggests that it was, however, inaccessible to laymen attending the church. The paving was done under an ecclesiastic Georgios. His function was read by previous editors as ἀρχιδιάκονος καὶ χωρεπίσκοπος/'archdeacon and country bishop' or ἀρχιερεὺς καὶ χωρεπίσκοπος/'arch-priest and country bishop', but Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais rightly points out that the office of a country bishop is incompatible with that of an archdeacon (and that the term arch-priest is an equally unlikely expansion of the function of Georgios). He was probably an abbot (ἀρχιμανδρίτης) and country bishop. Rey-Coquais concludes that our church was a monastic sanctuary. The dating formula also includes an era year - 701 - which is almost certainly computed according to the era of nearby Tyre, and together with the month of Daisios and the 9th indiction year corresponds to AD 575.


Edition: Metzger, C., La mosaïque de Qabr Hiram (Paris: Éditions du Musée du Louvre, 2012). Donceel-Voûte, P., Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban. Décor, archéologie et liturgie (Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’Université catholique de Louvain 69, Louvain-La-Neuve: Département d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 1988), 411-420 (with further bibliography). Baratte, F., Catalogue des mosaïques romaines et paléochrétiennes du Musée du Louvre (Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1978), 132-145 and ill. 140-147. Renan, E., Mission de Phénicie (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1864), 613. Further reading: Rey-Coquais, J.-P., “Tyr aux derniers siècles paléochrétiens: autour du synode de 518”, Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph (Beyrouth, Lebanon) 58 (2005), 517-518. "Kabr Hiram", DACL, vol. 8, coll. 604-619. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1990), 936. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 55, 1686; 58, 1704; 62, 1625.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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