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E02132: Greek building inscription for a hostel (xeneon) named after *Theodore (probably the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480). Found at Dionysias/modern Suweidā, to the north of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Probably late 5th or 6th c.

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posted on 2016-12-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐπὶ τοῦ] ὁσιωτ(άτου) Πέτρου ἐπισκ(όπου)
κτίζεται ὁ ξενεὼν
τοῦ ἁγίου Θεοδώρου

'[Under the] most pious bishop Petros, is built the hostel (xeneon) of Saint Theodore.'

Text: Waddington 1870, no. 2327.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Theodore Tiro, martyr of Amaseia (Helenopontus, north-eastern Asia Minor), ob. 306 : S00480

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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Dionysias

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Dionysias Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Hospital and other charitable institutions

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The inscription was carved on a reportedly well preserved slab, reused in a house, to the west of the mosque. There is no published description or photograph. Seen and copied by William Waddington in the 1860s, and published by him in 1870.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a hostel (xeneon) named after Saint Theodore, or belonging to a church dedicated to Saint Theodore. The hostel was built under bishop Petros whom Waddington believed to have been a bishop of the place where the inscription was found (modern Suweidā), and which, based on this assumption, he identified as ancient Dionysias. For another hostel (xeneon) named after Theodore, see a fragmentary inscription from Umm el-Khalakhil, to the east of Apamea on the Orontes (central Syria, E01875). The actual meaning of the term xeneon has been disputed. Normally it is believed to be an abbreviated form of xenodocheion, a hostel for pilgrims or itinerant clergy (for a similar inscription naming a hostel of *George, see E01928; for general remarks, see Mazzoleni 1999, 307-309). However, the xeneon of Umm el-Khalakhil is sometimes also included on lists of Syriac μητᾶτα (metata, military transit camps) named after saints. For these institutions, see: E01834, also E01632, and E00807. Theodore, the holy patron of our xeneon, is probably the martyr venerated in Euchaita in Helenopontus (northeast Asia Minor), whose cult spread rapidly in the East in the late 5th and 6th century. Unfortunately, our inscription lacks a dating formula. It is, however, unlikely that an institution named after Theodore would have appeared in Arabia before the late 5th c.


Edition: Waddington, W.H., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 1870), no. 2327. 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), 307, note 82. For the term xeneon, see: Mazzoleni, D., "Iscrizioni nei luoghi di pellegrinaggio", in: E. Dassmann, J. Engemann (eds.), Akten des XII. Internationalen Kongresses für christliche Archäologie, Bonn, 22.-28. September 1991, vol. 1, (Studi di antichità cristiana 52, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum. Ergänzungsband 20,1, Münster: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1995), 307-309.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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