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E04526: Greek inscription on a lintel, possibly invoking the God of *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023). Found at Rafid, near Quneitra and Paneas/Caesarea Philippi, in the Golan Heights, to the northeast of the Sea of Galilee (Roman province of Phoenicia Paralias). Probably 6th c.

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posted on 2017-12-24, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
εἷς θ(εὸ)ς + κυρί(ου) Σεργί(ου)

Κυρι Σερη Gregg & Urman 1996, possibly ΚΥΡS = Κύ̣ρ(ου)

'There is one God + of lord Sergios!'

Text and translation: Urman, Dar, Hartal & Ayalon 2006, 148.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, soldier and martyr of Rusafa : S00023

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 Palestine with Sinai Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Caesarea Philippi Paneas Rafid Quneitra

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

Caesarea Philippi Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Paneas Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Rafid Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Quneitra Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



The inscription is carved on a basalt lintel over the doorway of Building 59 at Rafid, an ancient stone structure accommodating two rooms. Dimensions of the stone: H. 0.29 m; W. 1.28 m. The inscription flanks a carving of a 'horned' cross. First recorded during surveys organised by the Israel Antiquities Authority at Rafid between 1968 and 1970. Published with a photograph by Robert Gregg and Dan Urman in 1996, who offered an imperfect transcription. The stone was revisited, and a new reading is given, by Dan Urman in his monograph on the village of Rafid, published posthumously in 2006, and edited by Shimon Dar, Moshe Hartal, and Etan Ayalon, advised by Leah Di Segni regarding Greek inscriptions. The book is likewise based on the evidence gathered during the 1968-1970.


The second part of the inscription is scarcely legible. Therefore, Gregg and Urman in the first edition suspended judgement on its contents. They tentatively suggested that the right-hand half of the text might contain names: possibly Κουρι, Κύρις or Κύρες, which they considered variant forms of the name Κύρος, Kyr/Cyr, and Σερηυ. In his second edition of this inscription Urman suggests, however, that although the occurrence of these names is still possible, it is much more likely that the inscription records an invocation of the God of Saint Sergios. The saint may be named κύριος/'lord', which is a counterpart of the popular Syriac/Aramaic epithet of saints ܡܪܝ / mār, sometimes replacing the usual epithet ἅγιος/'holy'. Based on this interpretation, Urman adds that the building may have belonged to an ecclesiastical or monastic complex dedicated to Sergios, or was a house whose owners invoked the God of Sergios for their protection. Although this is not impossible, we must note that this is still a tentative supposition, as the spelling of the inscription is poor, and the epithet κύριος was rarely given to saints in Greek inscriptions. Dating: There is no way to precisely date the inscription. The majority of inscriptions in the region come, however, from the early 6th c. when it was the heartland of a Ghassanid/Jafnid settlement.


Edition: Urman, D., Dar, S., Hartal, M., Ayalon, E., Rafid on the Golan. A Profile of a Late Roman and Byzantine Village (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2006), 147-148. Gregg, R., Urman, D., Jews, Pagans, and Christians in the Golan Heights: Greek and Other Inscriptions of the Roman and Byzantine Eras (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1996), no. 123. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 46, 1985; 56, 1874.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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