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E02831: Bronze cross with a Greek inscription invoking the help of *John (presumably the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042). Provenance unknown, probably southeastern Mediterranean. Late antique.

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posted on 2017-05-20, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Bronze cross pattée (with arms that broaden out towards the ends) within a disc, probably from a processional cross (similar to that from Jerusalem, discussed in E02735).

The disc bears the following inscription, suggesting that it was offered to a sanctuary of John the Evangelist or John the Baptist by a woman called Christina:

ἅγιε Ἰωάννη, ἐλέισων τὴν δούλιν σου Χριστήναν

'Saint John, have mercy upon your servant Christina!'

The arms of the cross bear another inscription (it seems that the central omega was omitted by the engraver):

φ <ῶ> ς

'Light, life.'

Text: Mondésert 1960, 117.

The provenance of the cross is unknown. It was auctioned in Paris, on 11/12 June 1959 and listed in the catalogue of that auction as no. 173. Based on a photograph in the catalogue, the inscription was published in 1960 by Claude Mondésert. In 1961 it was recorded in the Bulletin épigraphique by Louis Robert.

The editors of the catalogue vaguely ascribed the object to Syria/Phoenicia or Egypt.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Syria with Phoenicia Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Thabbora Thabbora Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives


Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Crosses Ex-votos


Edition: Mondésert, C., "Inscriptions et objects chrétiens de Syrie", Syria 37 (1960), 117. For the catalogue, see: Antiques, céramiques de Grèce, des Iles, d'Egypte, d'Italie... bijoux d'or de Grèce, d'Egypte, de Syrie... verres de fouilles, figurines en argent... bronzes... sculptures et vases art chrétien, stéatites byzantines, pates de verres, empreintes, bijoux d'pr... vase en cristal de roche et or..., art d'Extrême-Orient...: Vente à Paris, H. Drouot, 11-12 juin 1959. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1961), 71.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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