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E04159: Greek dedicatory inscription invoking the God of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Khirbet Futeis (ancient Photis) in the Negev desert, to the west of Beersheva, near Gaza and Menois (Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably 6th c.

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posted on 2017-10-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐπὶ τοῦ] ὁσιωτά(του) [- - -]
[...]ἐπισκ(όπου) (καὶ) Βασ[- - -]
[ἐν μηνὶ Λ]ῴου θ', [ἰνδ. .., ἔτους ...]
Κ(ύρι)ε ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τῆς Θ[εοτόκου (?)],
πρόσδεξαι τὴν πρ[οσφορὰν τοῦ]
προσενέκαντ[ο]ς κ(αὶ) β[οήθει αὐ]-
τοὺς ἀπὸ πα̣θ[ημά]̣τ̣ω[ν πάντων]

1-2. [καὶ μακαριωτάτου or ἁγιωτάτου or θεοφιλεστάτου] Figueras: rejected by the editors of the SEG who expect the name of the bishop in the lacuna || 5-6. τοῦ]| προσενέκαντ[ο]ς Feissel, SEG, τῶν] | προσενεκάντ(ων) σ(οὶ) (?) Figueras

'[Under the] most pious [- - -] bishop and Bas[- - -]. On the 9th (day) [of the month] of Loos, [indiction - - -, the year - - -]. O Lord, God of the [God-Bearer (Theotokos) (?)], accept the [offering of the] donor, and give them [succour] against [all] the sufferings!'

Text: SEG 36, 1352, including altered restoration of line 6 by Denis Feissel in BE (1987), 528.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Image Caption 1

From: Figueras 1986, Plate 7.

Image Caption 2

From: Figueras 1985, 12.

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 Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Berosaba/Beersheva Gaza Menois Photis

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

Berosaba/Beersheva Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Gaza Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Menois Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Photis Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people


Fragment of a yellow sandstone slab. The inscribed face is damaged. H. 0.42 m; W. 0.42 m; Th. 0.10 m. Letter height c. 0.02 m. Found by David Allon at Khirbet Futeis near Ofakim (c. 24 km to the west of Beersheva, probably the site of ancient Photis) in 1950. Now probably in the Negev Museum in Beersheva. First published by Pau Figueras in 1985 in the catalogue of an exhibition of Byzantine inscriptions, organised by the Negev Museum. Figueras offered a drawing with no Greek transcription, but included fragmentary English and Hebrew translations. The first proper edition was offered by Figueras in 1986. Denis Feissel in the Bulletin épigraphique, and the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, suggested minor corrections to his interpretation of lines 1-2 and 5-6.


The inscription commemorates an offering to the God of Mary, theTheotokos (the only plausible reconstruction of the lacunose inscription). As this act is described as a religious offering (prosphora), the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum speculate that this could have been a building inscription. However, it is not clear if the text really refers to the construction of a church (or other saintly structure, e.g. a chapel), or if it commemorates a different donation. Certainly, the inscription is not carved on a lintel, as was normal for building inscriptions, but on a plaque, and as the whereabouts of its precise find-spot are unknown, we can say little about the original context of this dedication.


Edition: Figueras, P., "Three Dedicatory Inscriptions from the Beersheva Region", Liber Annuus 36 (1986), 266-269, no. 1 (with a photograph). Figueras, P., Ketovot bizanṭiyot mi-Beʼer-Sheva' ṿeha-Negev [Byzantine Inscriptions from Beersheva and the Negev] (Negev Museum Publications 2, Beersheva: Muzeʼon ha-Negev, 1985), 12, no. 4 (drawing). Further reading: Bulletin épigraphique (1987), 528; (1989), 1008. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, 36, 1352.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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