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E02078: Greek inscription invoking the blessing for a monastery of the God of *Sergios and *Bakchos (soldiers and martyrs of Rusafa and Barbalissos, S00023; S00079). Found at Deir en-Nasrani in the southeast Jabal Druze (near Damascus, north Roman province of Arabia/south Syria). Probably late 5th or 6th c.

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posted on 2016-12-06, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ὦ θεὼς το- ῦ ἁ̣γ[ί]ου Σε̣ργ[ίου]
κὲ Βάχου, εὐλώγεσο̣ν το̣ῦ
μονηστ(ηρίου) ̣ΛΑ- ΒΟΤΟΝΑ
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'O God of Saint Sergios and Bakchos, bless the monastery [- - -].'

Text: Littmann & Stuart 1921, no. 722.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Bakchos, martyr in Barbalissos (Syria), ob. c. 303-311 : S00079

Saint Name in Source

Σέργιος Βάχος

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 Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Damascus Deir en-Nasrani

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

Damascus Thabbora Thabbora Deir en-Nasrani Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Saint aiding or preventing the construction of a cult building


Fallen stone lintel. H. 0.35 m; W. 1.80-1.93 m. Found near the east porch of the monastery. Decorated with a carving of a cross resembling the letter Χ, within a circle (diameter 0.32 m). Letter height 0.04-0.05 m. First seen and copied in 1901 by René Dussaud and Frédéric Macler during their survey in south Syria, and published by them in their report in 1902. Revisited by the Princeton Expedition to Syria and copied by Howard Butler. Published from Butler's copy by Enno Littmann and Duane Reed Stuart in 1921. A new edition of the inscription will be offered in the sixteenth volume of Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie.


The inscription is poorly preserved, but based on the contents of lines 1-3 we can conclude that it probably commemorated the construction of a monastery and invoked the help of the God of Saints Sergios and Bakchos. Interestingly, both saints are mentioned, while normally Saint Sergios was venerated alone in the East. Unfortunately, the name of the monastery (probably deriving from the name of its founder or of its patron saint) is lost but we can assume that it was recorded at the end of line 3. The first editors, Dussaud and Macler, claimed that they managed to read a longer text: Κ(ύρι)ε, β(οηθοῦντος) Χ(ριστ)οῦ, εὐλώγεσον τ[ῆς] μονῆς τῶ<ν> ἁ(γίων) βοτονων (?) Γ(εωργίου) κ(α)ὶ Σ(εργίου) / 'Lord, with the help of Christ, bless the monastery of Saints [- - -] George and Sergios.' They also noted the presence of the letters ωθ in the upper left-hand corner of the inscription, which they interpreted as a date, the 808th year of the Seleucid era, i.e. AD 497. However, Littmann and Stuart, on the basis of Butler's copy, considered their readings as entirely implausible. The inscription is likely to date somewhere in the late 5th or 6th c. when the cult of Sergios was quickly spreading in the East.


Edition: Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 16/2, no. 1006 (forthcoming). Littmann, E., Stuart, D.R., (eds.), Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-5 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section A: Southern Syria (Leiden: Brill, 1921), no. 722. Dussaud, R., Macler, F., "Rapport sur une mission scientifique dans les régions désertiques de la Syrie moyenne", Nouvelles archives des missions scientifiques et littéraires 10 (1902), 659, no. 48. Further reading: Sartre-Fauriat, A., "Georges, Serge, Élie et quelques autres saints connus et inédits de la province d'Arabie", in: Fr. Prévot (ed.), Romanité et cité chrétienne. Permances et mutations. Intégration et exclusion du Ier au VIe siècle. Mélanges en l'honneur d'Yvette Duval (Paris: De Boccard, 2000), 303, note 59. Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 108.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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