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E02085: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a church (naos) of *Bakchos (soldier and martyr of Barbalissos, S00079) as a vow for 'memory and repose'. Found at Qarfa, to the southeast of Sheikh Meskin (midway between Bostra and Aere, Roman province of Arabia). Dated 589/590.

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posted on 2016-12-07, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ Ἰωάννης Ἠλί- ου ἔκ̣τισεν τὸ[ν] ναὸ-
ν τοῦ ἁγίου Βά- χου ὑπὲρ μνήμη-
ς κὲ ἀναπαυσέο- ς, ἔτους υπδ΄, ἰν[δ(ικτιῶνος) . ]

1. Ἠλίου Sartre, Αιου Sartre Fauriat

'+ Ioannes, son of Elias, founded the church (naos) of Saint Bakchos, as a vow for memory and repose. In the year 484, [.] indiction.'

Text: IGLS 13/2, no. 9918.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source


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

Arabia Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Qarfa Aere

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Qarfa Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Aere Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Stone lintel. H. 0.37 m; W. 1.94 m. Letter height 0.06-0.08 m. Decorated with a low-relief carving of a circle containing a cross, positioned in the middle of the lintel. When recorded, the stone was reused in the facade of a house situated in the middle of the village. Seen, photographed and copied by Maurice Sartre in 1986. First published by him (as a continuous text, without line breaks) in 2011.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a church dedicated to Saint Bakchos, the companion of the famous martyr *Sergios venerated in Rusafa. In the East, Sergios was much more popular than his fellow martyr, and the evidence for the cult of Bakchos, even invoked together with Sergios, is scarce. Therefore, our inscription, attesting to the cult of Bakchos without his senior partner, is of special importance. For another church dedicated to Bakchos, with no evidence for the simultaneous cult of Sergios, see E03502 (Horvat Tinshemet near Shoham in Palestine, 6th c.). The church is said to have been dedicated as a vow for 'memory and repose'. Maurice Sartre suggests that the vow was made by the founder of the building, Ioannes, son of Elias, for his own memory and repose (or of his relatives, as suggested by Annie Sartre-Fauriat), but this is not clearly stated in the text. Sartre also briefly discusses the character of our shrine, and rightly concludes that it is not clear whether it was a regular church, a martyr shrine (martyrion), a memorial shrine (memorion), or a funerary chapel. The date is computed according to the era of the province of Arabia. Its year 484 corresponds to AD 589/590.


Edition: Sartre, M., Sartre-Fauriat, A. (eds.), Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 13/2: Bostra (Supplément) et la plaine de la Nuqrah (BAH 194, Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2011), no. 9918. 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), 304. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2012), 482. Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 837. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 50, 1518; 50, 1539.

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