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E02620: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of an oratory (eukterion) dedicated to *Elijah (probably the Old Testament prophet, S00217), and another saint whose name is lost. Found at Sala/Saleh, near Bostra (Jordan/province of Arabia). Dated 547/548.

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posted on 2017-03-28, 00:00 authored by Bryan
+ εὐκτ̣ή̣ρ̣ιν ἁγίω(ν) Ἠλίου καὶ [- - - προσ]-
δέξονται τὴν προσφωρὰ(ν) το[- - -]
καὶ εὐλογ(ήσουσι) τὼν εἴσοδον καὶ τ[ὼν ἔξοδον - - -]
ἐκτίσθαι ἔτους υμβ΄, μ[ημὸς - - -]

1. [τὸ] εὐκ[τήρ]ι(ο)ν ἁγ(ίου) Dussaud and Macler || καὶ ΔΙ[ Meimaris and Littmann's drawing, καὶ ἁ[γίου Dussaud & Macler || 2-3. τὴν προσφ(ο)ρὰ(ν) τ[ῶν καρποφορούντων] | καὶ εὐλογ[η]τ(ὸ)ν Dussaud & Macler || 4. ἐκτίσθ[η ἰν]δ(ικτιῶνος) ι΄

'+ This oratory (eukterion) of Saints Elijah and [- - -] They will receive the offering [- - -] and will bless the coming in and the going out [- - -] It was built in the year 442, in the month [- - -].'

Text: Littmann 1921, 337, no. 728. Translation: E. Littmann, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Elijah, Old Testament prophet : S00217 Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744

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 Sala/Saleh

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Sala/Saleh 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


Left-hand fragment of a stone lintel. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.33 m; W. 1.25 m. Letter height 0.04-0.07 m. First recorded by René Dussaud and Frédéric Macler, and published by them with a drawing in 1901. Revisited by the Princeton Expedition to Syria and published with a better drawing and transcription by Enno Littmann in 1921. The stone was then set over a doorway of an inn ('medafeh'). Re-edited by Yiannis Meimaris in 1992, based on Littmann's drawing.


The inscription commemorates the construction of an oratory (eukterion) dedicated to Saint Elijah, almost certainly the Old Testament Prophet, and to one or several other saints. Littmann guessed that these could have been angels, as they were venerated together with Elijah in nearby Izra/Zorava (see E02116). The phrasing of the inscription is not clear, but it seems that Elijah and his presumed partner(s) are expected to accept an offering, probably the oratory itself, and bless the donors. The last line contains a dating formula. The first editors, Dussaud and Macler, read here the year 442 computed according to the era of the province of Arabia, which corresponds to AD 547/548, and an indiction year. However, Littmann notes that no indictional year is mentioned.


Edition: Meimaris, Y.E., Kritikakou, K., Bougia, P., Chronological Systems in Roman-Byzantine Palestine and Arabia. The Evidence of the Dated Greek Inscriptions (Meletēmata 17, Athens: Kentron Hellēnikēs kai Rōmaikēs Archaiotētos, Ethnikon Hydryma Ereunōn, 1992), 240, no. 296. Littmann, E., Magie, D., 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), 337-338, no. 728. Dussaud, R., Macler, F., Voyage archéologique au Safâ et dans le Djebel-ed-Drûz (Paris: , 1901), 159, no. 27.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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