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E02647: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the paving of a church (naos) dedicated to *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023). Found at Riḥāb, between Bostra and Gerasa/Jerash (Jordan/Roman province of Arabia). Dated 661.

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posted on 2017-03-31, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ ἐψιφώθη ὁ ναὸς οὗτος τοῦ ἁγίου Σερ-
γίου ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκονομίας Στεφάνου πρεσβυτέ-
ρου, ἐπὶ τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου Γεωργίου μητροπολήτου
καὶ ἀρχηεπισκόπου, παρα̣μ[ον]̣ῇ Ἠλίου πρεσβυτέρου κα-
ὶ Θομᾶς κ(αὶ) Ἠλίου αὐτοῦ ἁγίου τόπου, ἔτους φνε΄ τῆς ἐπα-
ρχίας μηνὸς Φεβρουαρίῳ προτῇ χρόνον τετάρτης [ἰν]δ(ικτιῶνος)

1. ἐψιφώθη Feissel and Gatier, ἐψηφώθη SEG || 1-2. Σερ|γύο SEG || 4. παρα̣μ[ον]̣ῇ Ἠλίου Feissel, [- - -] Ἠλίου SEG || 5. αὐτοῦ ἁγίου τόπου Feissel and Gatier, {[ο]υ} τοῦ ἁγίου τόπου SEG || 6. Φεβρουαρίπ SEG and Gatier, τετάρτης [ἰν]δ(ικτιῶνος) Feissel and Gatier, τετάρτη[ς(?)] δ΄ (?) [ - - ] SEG

'+ This church (naos) of Saint Sergios was paved during the stewardship of the presbyter Stephanos, under the most holy metropolitan and archbishop Georgios, (through?) the service/under the guardianship (?) of Elias, the presbyter, and Thomas, and Elias, of this holy place (?). In the year 555 of the province, on the first (day) of the month of February, in the fourth indiction.'

Text: SEG 51, 2042 with altered completions by D. Feissel and P.-L. Gatier in BE (2005), 544 accepted in SEG 53, 1885. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023

Saint Name in Source

Σέργιος, Σέργυος

Type of Evidence

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


  • 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

Riḥāb Gerasa/Jerash Bosra

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

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

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Mosaic panel framed by a tabula ansata, from an unspecified church in Riḥāb. There is no published description. Another, scarcely legible, panels conjoin the lower frame. The mosaic was published as a photograph, together with a number of other new epigraphic finds from Riḥāb, with little or no descriptions, by Abdel-kader Al-Hissan in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan in 2001 and again in 2002. Based on the photographs, preliminary comments were offered by Denis Feissel in BE and tentative transcriptions by the editors of SEG. In 2005 Pierre-Louis Gatier and Denis Feissel published an altered transcription which was accepted in SEG 53, 1885.


The inscription commemorates the paving of a church (naos) dedicated to Saint Sergios. His cult had not been previously attested in Riḥāb. Georgios, mentioned in line 2 is an archbishop of Bostra. The contents of lines 4-5 are not clear, but it is plausible that the mentioned people are all paramonaroi / 'guardians' of the church. The date, the year 555th of the era of the province of Arabia and the month of February, correspond to February AD 661. Thus the inscription dates to the period of Umayyad rule in the region. The late date is probably the reason why the phrasing of the inscription lightly differs from other dedicatory texts from the town. Piccirillo originally misread the date as the year 580 = AD 691.


Edition: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 51, 2042, altered in BE (2005), 544 and SEG 53, 1885. Al-Hissan, A., "The new archaeological discoveries of the al-Fudayn and Rahāb - al-Mafraq excavation projects", Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 46 (2002), 84 (Arabic Section). Al-Hissan, A., "", Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 45 (2001), 13 (Arabic Section). Further reading: Gatier, P.-L., "Inscriptions grecques, mosaïques et églises des débuts de l'époque islamique au Proche-Orient (VIIe-VIIIe) siècles", in: A. Borrut, M. Debié, A. Papaconstantinou, D. Pieri, J.-P. Sodini (eds.), Le Proche-Orient de Justinien aux Abassides : peuplement et dynamiques spatiales : actes du colloque "Continuités de l'occupation entre les périodes byzantine et abbasside au Proche-Orient, VIIe-IXe siècles," Paris, 18-20 octobre 2007 (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 19, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 10. Piccirillo, M., L'Arabie chrétienne (Paris: Editions Mengès, 2002), 74, 229. Piccirillo, M., "II mosaico pavimentale in Giordania come fonte storica di un’epoca - V (1997-2001)", in: Morlier, H., Bailly, Ch., Janneteau, D., Tahri, M. (eds.), La mosaïque gréco-romaine IX: Colloque international pour l'étude de la mosaïque antique (9th: 2001: Rome, Italy) (Rome: Ecole française de Rome, 2005), 459-469. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2005), 544; (2002), 481. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 53, 1885.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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