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E03550: Greek building inscription for a shrine dedicated to *Kyrikos (child martyr of Tarsus, S00007). Found at Medjdel-Yaba near Ras el-Ain, to the north of Diospolis/Lydda (Samaria, Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2017-08-08, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
μαρτύριον τοῦ ἁγίου Κηρύκου

'Martyr shrine (martyrion) of Saint Kyrikos'.

Text: Clermont-Ganneau 1896, 340.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrikos/Cyricus, child martyr of Tarsus (son of *Ioulitta/Julitta) : S00007

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

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Diospolis Medjdel-Yaba

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

Diospolis Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Medjdel-Yaba Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)


Stone lintel. W. 2.20 m. When recorded, it was set over a side doorway of a massive vaulted ancient building converted into a stable. Framed by a tabula ansata and superimposed by an arch with a keystone. First recorded by James Finn, British consul in Jerusalem, in November 1850 but published by him in a drawing, incorrectly showing a very sharp superimposed arch, only in 1877. In the meantime, in 1851 probably also recorded by Charles William Meredith van de Velde during his journey to Palestine, and mentioned by him in 1854, in the report of his journey, as 'a large stone with an ancient Greek inscription, at the entrance of the outer court' at Medjdel-Yaba (Clermont-Ganneau argues that this was our text). Revisited in May of 1873 by Claude Conder and republished by him in 1882 with a corrected description of the arch. Republished by Victor Guérin, from his own copy, in 1885 (with a specification of the length of the block), and by Germer-Durand in 1893. Clermont-Ganneuau (1896) offers a good drawing of the arch and the lintel, based on examination of the object.


Finn believed that the building was a church of poor quality. He described it as follows: 'the workmanship is massive and very rude, and the Greek of the inscription upon the lintel not less barbarous, signifying: Martyr memorial church of the Holy Herald.' He understood the name Kerykos literally, as a corrupted genitive of the noun κήρυξ/'herald' or 'preacher' (here transposed from the third declension: κήρυκος to the second declension: κηρύκου, hence the epithet 'barbarous') and suggested that John the Baptist (also known as John the Preacher) was venerated here. According to Claude Conder the building was unlikely to have been the original location of the lintel. He also plausibly identified the saint as Kyrikos, the child martyr of Tarsus. In 1896 Clermont-Ganneau confirmed that the lintel was almost certainly re-used in the structure, as it was unevenly placed above the doorway. He also judged in favour of the identification of the saint as Kyrikos of Tarsus, and heard from the locals that a ruined church was situated nearby, presumably the shrine where Kyrikos had been venerated.


Edition: Clermont-Ganneau, Ch., Archaeological Researches in Palestine during the Years 1873-1874, vol. 2 (London: Published for the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1896), 340. Germer-Durand, P., "Épigraphie chrétienne de Palestine", La Revue biblique 2 (1893), 211. Guérin, V., Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine, vol. 2: Samarie, part 2 (Paris: L'imprimerie nationale, 1885), 130. Conder, C.R., Kitchener, H.H. and others, The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography and Archaeology, vol. 2: Samaria (London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1882), 360-361. Finn, J., Byeways in Palestine (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1877), 130. Velde, Charles William Meredith van de, Narrative of a journey through Syria and Palestine in 1851 and 1852 (Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and sons, 1854), 427-428. Further reading: Meimaris, Y., Sacred names, saints, martyrs and church officials in the Greek inscriptions and papyri pertaining to the Christian Church of Palestine (Athens: National Hellenic Research Foundation, Center for Greek and Roman Antiquity, 1986), 123, no. 662.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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