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E02376: Painted inscription (dipinto) from the church of *John the Baptist (S00020) in the 'complex of John the Baptist' in Gerasa/Jerash (Roman province of Arabia), mentioning the saints venerated there: John, *George (soldier and martyr, S00259), and *Kosmas and Damianos (brothers, physicians martyrs of Syria, S00385). After 531.

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posted on 2017-02-14, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - - - - - - - - - - -]Κ[- - - - - - ] καὶ Ε[- - -]
[- - -] Κοσμ[ᾶ κ(αὶ) Δαμ]ιανοῦ [- - -] Γεωργίου τὸ Μ[- - -]
[- - -] Προδ[ρό]μου [- - -]ΟΝ[- - -]CΩΝ τὸν Ε[- - -]
[- - -]Κ.ΙC[- - -]Ν[- - - -]Κ[- -]ΚΟ[- - -]ΟΝ[- - -]

'[- - -] of Kosmas and Damianos [- - -] of George [- - -] of the Forerunner [- - -].'

Text: I. Gerasa, no. 305.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259 Kosmas and Damianos, brothers, physician martyrs in Syria, ob. 285/287 : S00385 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Γεώργιος Κοσμᾶς καὶ Δαμιανός Πρόδρομος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Construction of cult buildings


Scarcely legible inscription painted in black on the outer face of the lintel over the middle doorway in the west wall of the church of John the Baptist (for a description of the complex, see E02367). Letter height 0.07 m. The text was spread over five blocks. There is no published photograph. First published by Charles Welles in 1938. The text was established by A.H.M. Jones who saw the inscription during the excavations of the site in 1929.


The inscription was poorly preserved and thus its content is not clear. Jones read in the inscription the names of the saints to whom the three churches of the complex were dedicated: John the Baptist (addressed as the Forerunner), Kosmas and Damianos, and George, all written in the genitive case. No reliable conclusions can be drawn from the published text, but it is likely that the inscription referred to the construction of the complex, rather than being an invocation of the saints or of the God of these saints (cf. E02367, Inscription 4: Invocation of the God of Saints Kosmas and Damianos). It is tempting to read the first two lines as, for example: [- - - ἐ]κ[τίσθη] (or: ἀνε]κ[οσμήθη) καὶ ἐ[ψηφώθη] | [τῶν ἁγίων] Κοσμ[ᾶ κ(αὶ) Δαμ]ιανοῦ [κ(αὶ) τοῦ ἁγίου] Γεωργίου τὸ μ[αρτύριον]/'The martyr shrine (martyrion) of [Saints] Kosmas and Damianos [and of Saint] George was built (or: decorated) and paved.' Dating: the inscription must postdate the completion of the church of John (AD 531), on which it was painted, or perhaps of the church of Kosmas and Damianos (AD 533) who are also mentioned in the text.


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. 305.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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