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E02365: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the completion of an unnamed martyr shrine (martyrion), the so-called 'church of Prokopios'. Found at Gerasa/Jerash (Roman province of Arabia). Dated 526 or 527.

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posted on 2017-02-11, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ ἐπὶ Παύλου τοῦ θε̣ο[φιλε]στάτο[υ κ]αὶ ὁσιοτ̣ά[του]
ἐπισκόπου ἐπληρώθ[η] ̣τ̣ὸ ̣ἅγιον [μα]ρτύριον ̣ἀ[π]ὸ
εὐλογιῶν αὐτοῦ κα[ὶ] Σαώλα εὐλ[αβεσ]τ(άτου) διακόνου
καὶ παραμον(αρίου) ἐπιστοτος Προκοπίο[υ τ]οῦ καθοσ(ιωμένου)
τῷ θπφʹ ἔτει Ὑπερβ̣ε̣ρεταίου, χρό̣ν(ων) [εʹ(?) ἰ]νδ[ι]̣κ(τιῶνος). +

4. ἐπιστοτος = ἐφεστῶτος Welles, Jones

'+ Under Paulos, the most God-fearing and most pious bishop was completed the holy martyr shrine (martyrion) from his offering (or: benefactions, Gr. eulogia) and of Saola, the most pious deacon and guardian (paramonarios). Under the supervision of the devoted Prokopios, in the year 589, in the month of Hyperberetaios, in the time of the [5th (or 6th?)] indiction. +'

Text: I. Gerasa, no. 304.

History

Evidence ID

E02365

Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Language

  • Greek

Evidence not before

526

Evidence not after

527

Activity not before

526

Activity not after

527

Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Gerasa/Jerash

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

Gerasa/Jerash Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Rectangular mosaic panel in the floor of the church in the southeast sector of the city (the so-called 'church of Prokopios'). Situated in the nave, in front of the chancel screen. Framed by a tabula ansata. H. 0.58 m; W. 3.11 m (2.65 m without ansae). Letter height 0.08-0.09 m. First published in 1928 by A.H.M. Jones, with permission of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and Yale University. Lifted and moved to the Gallery of Fine Art, Yale University. Later republished with a photograph by Charles Welles in 1938, in his corpus of the inscriptions of Jerash. The church was first recorded by Gottlieb Schumacher and described in his report in 1902. The excavation by the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem followed in 1928. The church was extensively used as a quarry, so there is little left of the original building. It was originally a three-aisled basilica, measuring 28.60 m x 18.25 m, with three apses with a synthronon in the central one, and with a chapel annexed to its northwest corner. Remnants of mosaic carpets decorated with geometric patterns were found in the aisles (and our inscription in the nave, in front of the choir).

Discussion

The mosaic inscription commemorates the construction of our church from the offerings of a bishop and of a deacon and paramonarios. The phrase used to denote their generosity is very uncommon: ἀπὸ εὐλογιῶν. The work is said to have been supervised by a certain Prokopios: hence the modern name of the sanctuary. The church itself is named as a martyrion, but it is not said which martyrs were venerated there. Jones rightly noted that the term martyrion did not necessarily imply the presence of relics, as such shrines could be also dedicated to figures such as the Virgin Mary, or could commemorate places connected to important events. Dating: the date is given according to the Gerasene Era (which is basically an era of Pompey). Its year 589 corresponds to AD 526/527. As the indiction year is lost, we cannot precisely say which of the two years is meant.

Bibliography

Edition: Welles, C.B., 'The inscriptions', in: Kraeling, C.H. (ed.), Gerasa, city of the Decapolis (New Haven: American School of Oriental Research, 1938), no. 304 and Pl. LXXIXa. Robertson, J.B., '', Art and Archaeology 26 (1928), 212. Jones, A.H.M., 'Inscriptions from Jerash', The Journal of Roman Studies 18 (1928), 168, no. 35. Further reading: Crowfoot, J.W., Churches at Jerash. A Preliminary Report of the Joint Yale-British Expeditions to Jerash, 1928-1930 (Supplementary papers (British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem) 3, London: Council of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1931), 33. Kraeling, C.H. (ed.), Gerasa, city of the Decapolis (New Haven: American School of Oriental Research, 1938), 260-262, 338-340. Michel, A., Les églises d'époque byzantine et umayyade de Jordanie (provinces d'Arabie et de Palestine), Ve-VIIIe siècle: typologie architecturale et aménagements liturgiques (avec catalogue des monuments; préface de Noël Duval; premessa di Michele Piccirillo) (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 241-245, no. 87. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 7, 872.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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