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E03818: Fragmentary document recording some form of agreement, perhaps mentioning a shrine of *Ioulianos (if so, probably the martyr of Cilicia, S00305), perhaps one of *Dios (possibly the martyr of Caesarea in Cappadocia, S01043), and possibly a monastery named after a saint whose name is lost. Written on papyrus. Found in Petra (Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably after 544.

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posted on 2017-09-04, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Under no. 12, the editors of the Petra Papyri publish 30 very small fragments of multi-layer assemblies from a papyrus roll, c. 1.23 m long. The document was written transversa charta (across the fibres), and records an agreement, possibly an exchange, confirmed by a notary and probably involving Theodoros, son of Obodianos, deacon of the Church of Petra. As toponyms are mentioned, the editors suppose that the agreement referred to a transfer of landed property. A total number of eleven different hands are tentatively identified. The document probably postdates AD 544 when (or soon after) Theodoros was ordained deacon.

From among the fragments our attention was drawn by the following three:

Fragment 27, line 2 (hand 2): [- - -]α ἁγιωτ(άτης) ἐκλησίας δίου (?)

The editors are puzzled by the last word, δίου, which, they say, 'is probably an epithet ('divine') of a saint or a martyr to whom the church was dedicated, but the word is perhaps too literary.' They allow other possible explanations, but cannot offer any specific conclusions. In fact, the epithet 'divine' was normally expressed in Greek as θεῖος. If the reading is correct, δίου could be the genitive of the month Dios, or of the name Dios, and therefore perhaps refers to the martyr Dios of Caesarea in Cappadocia, mentioned in the Syriac Martyrology (E01513, E01514), in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum ($XXXXX), and in an inscription (E01025), or to another homonymous person (for Apa Dios, venerated in Egypt, see E02471, E02472).

Fragment 41, line 1 (hand 3): [- - -]γίου Ἰουλιαν[οῦ

The editors note that one could readily restore here the name of a patron saint of a church or monastery: ἁ]γίου Ἰουλιαν[οῦ/'of Saint Ioulianos'. They note, however, that there is no evidence for the cult of any Ioulianos in Petra and its territory. Therefore, they suggest a different possibility, that we have here the name of an ordinary man, e.g. Sergios or Georgios, followed by the patronym: Σερ]γίου Ἰουλιαν[οῦ or Γεωρ]γίου Ἰουλιαν[οῦ. The passage is indeed very obscure, and we cannot judge whether the martyr Ioulianos is really mentioned here. Ioulianos, martyr of Anazarbos in Cilicia was venerated in Palestine: in Jerusalem (E03164; $E03184; possibly E02709), and in Syria: in Antioch on the Orontes (E02105; E02544), and near Apamea or Emesa (E01628).

Fragment 58, line 1 (hand 8): [- - -]υμενος ἁγι[- - -]

The editors rightly note that the first word can be plausibly restored as ἡγο]ύμενος/'abbot'. The second word is certainly a form of ἅγιος/'saint', it could refer to the holy eponym of our abbot's monastery, or be a mere epithet of that monastery or church (e.g. ἁγιωτ(άτης) μονῆς or ἐκκλησίας, ἁγίου τόπου, etc.). In both cases, however, one would expect the definite article between the two words, here apparently lacking.

Text: P.Petra I 12.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dīos, presbyter and martyr in Kaisareia of Cappadocia : S01043 Dīos, martyr in Kaisareia of Cappadocia : S00652 Ioulianos/Julianus, martyr of Cilicia, ob. c. 303-311 : S00305 Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Petra Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Officials Other lay individuals/ people


A collection of carbonised papyri (c. 140 fragmentary rolls) was found in 1993, in Room 1 of the 'Petra Church' - an impressive three-aisled basilica with an atrium, three inscribed apses, baptistery and several annexed structures, sited to the north of the so-called Roman Street, and apparently dedicated to *Mary (as suggested by the papyrus evidence). Room 1 lies in the northeast corner of the complex, to the north of the northern side apse. It is presumed to have been a bedroom in a residential block (phase III: 363 – mid-5th c.), that was later converted to a store-room of religious or other precious items. The archaeologists excluded the possibility that it was a proper archive or scriptorium, as the room had no characteristic equipment. It was destroyed by fire, together with the church, probably in the early 7th c. The papyri were almost certainly kept in wooden containers (boxes? caskets?) in a shelved bookcase, standing against the west wall, which collapsed during the fire. The church was excavated between 1992 and 1997 by Pierre Bikai, on behalf of the American Center of Oriental Research. The papyri were extracted and secured by Catherine Valentour, aided by Deborah Kooring, Zbigniew Fiema, and others. They are now housed in Amman, in the American Center of Oriental Research and in the Jordan Museum. They are being published in the series The Petra Papyri by a team of papyrologists from Helsinki University and the University of Michigan. The first volume appeared in 2002, and was followed by vols. 2-4. The collection has recently been updated with a new volume (P. Petra V, published in 2018). This is the largest collection of papyri so-far found in Jordan. The earliest text dates to 537, the latest to c. 594. The papyri come from the archive of the family of one Theodoros, son of Obodianos, a local landowner and deacon (later archdeacon) of the Petra Church. The archive gives an important, albeit selective, overview of relationships, inheritance, donations, transactions, and disputes in Petra and its territory, especially the villages of Augustopolis/Udhruh and Kastron Zadakathon/Sadaqa. Toponyms (including churches and martyr shrines), and about 350 people, mainly of the upper class, are recorded, all of them for various reasons connected with the family of Theodoros.


Edition: P.Petra I – Frösén, J., Arjava, A., Lehtinen, M. (eds.) with contributions by Z.T. Fiema, C.A. Kuehn, T. Purola, T. Rankinen, M. Vesterinen, and M. Vierros, The Petra Papyri (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2002), no. 12.;1;12 Further reading: Berichtigungsliste der griechischen Papyrusurkunden aus Ägypten XII 157. For a description of the site, see: Fiema, Z.T., "The archaeological context of the Petra Papyri", in: P.M. Bikai, Z.T. Fiema (eds.), The Petra Church (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2001), 139-150. Fiema, Z.T., "Reconstructing the history of the Petra Church: data and phasing", in: P.M. Bikai, Z.T. Fiema (eds.), The Petra Church (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2001), 7-137. Fiema, Z.T., "Petra and its hinterland during the Byzantine period: new research and interpretations", in: J. Humphrey (ed.), Roman and Byzantine Near East: Some New Discoveries, vol. 3 (JRA Supplement Series 49, Portsmouth, Rhode Island: JRA, 2002), 191-252. Frösén, J., "Archaeological information from the Petra Papyri", Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 8 (2004), 141-144. P.Petra I – Frösén, J., Arjava, A., Lehtinen, M. (eds.) with contributions by Z.T. Fiema, C.A. Kuehn, T. Purola, T. Rankinen, M. Vesterinen, and M. Vierros, The Petra Papyri (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2002), 1-8.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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