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E04532: Greek inscription commemorating the restoration of a floor-mosaic 'to the glory (doxa) of God and honour (time)' of an unnamed Apostle. Possibly mentioning a shrine termed an Apostoleion, repaved through the intercession of that Apostle. Found at Seleukeia/Seleucia Pieria near Antioch on the Orontes (Roman province of Syria I). Dated 564.

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posted on 2017-12-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐπὶ τ]οῦ ἁγιωτάτου ἐπισκόπου ἡμῶν Δι[- - -]
[ἀνεκ]αινείσθη ἡ ψήφωσις τῆς ἀνατολικῆς [- - -]
σπουδῇ Βάχχου τοῦ θεοφιλ(εστάτου) διακόνου παρ[α]-
μοναρίου καὶ ἐκλησιεκδίκου εἰς δόξαν θε[οῦ]
καὶ τιμὴν τοῦ ἀποστόλου, μ(ηνὶ) Ἀρτ(ε)μισίῳ ἰν[δ(ικτιῶνος)]
ιβ´ τοῦ βοχ´ ἔτους, ἀποστολ[- - -]
διου τὸ καλὸν ἔργον τοῦτο ἐγένετο

1-2. Δι[- - - |. . . .]αινείσθη Mayer & Allen, Δι[ονυσίου (?) | ἀνεκ]αινείσθη Levi, Δι[ονυσίου rejected by Downey as he deemed the word too long || 4. ἐκλησιεκδίκου rather than ἐκλησί(ας) ἐκδίκου suggested by other editors and in the SEG || 6. ἀποστολε[ Downey's copy, interpreted by him as ἀποστόλ(ου) || 7. ἐξ ἰ]|δίου Downey's copy || 6-7. ἀποστόλ[ιον - - - name of the Apostle - - -] | δι᾿ οὗ τὸ καλὸν ἔργον τοῦτο ἐγένετο or (more plausibly?) ἀποστόλου [Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κ(υρίο)υ ἡμῶν (?)] | δι᾿ οὗ τὸ καλὸν ἔργον τοῦτο ἐγένετο Tybout in SEG

'[Under] our most holy bishop Di[- - -] the floor-mosaic of the eastern [- - -] was restored. Through the zeal of Bakchos, the most god-loving deacon, guardian (paramonarios), and defender of the church (ekklesiekdikos), to the glory (doxa) of God, and honour (time) of the Apostle. In the month of Artemisios, in the 12th indiction, in the year 672. Apostoleion [of - - -] through whom this beautiful work took place.'

Text: SEG 62, 1612. Translation: W. Mayer, P. Allen, adapted and modified with an altered restoration of lines 6-7 by R.A. Tybout.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Apostles, unnamed or name lost : S00084 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Thomas, the Apostle : S00199

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes Seleukeia Pieria

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Seleukeia Pieria Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Saint aiding or preventing the construction of a cult building

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - bishops


The inscription is on a floor-mosaic, probably from the middle section of the north aisle of a now lost church at Seleukeia/Seleucia Pieria. It is known only through a field note (now also lost) by William Campbell, assistant field director of the Antioch Expedition (the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch-on-the-Orontes). There is no photograph or drawing. According to Doro Levi who first published the inscription in 1947, in a footnote in his book on the floor-mosaics of Antioch, Campbell was told about this and two more mosaic panels on 3 September 1939, only after the completion of that year's survey. The mosaics were sited in Sector 17-C, on top of a seaside cliff at Seleucia, close to the tunnel of Vespasian, and were part of a much larger mosaic pavement suggesting the presence of a small three-aisled basilica. Campbell visited the site and took provisional notes, hoping to revisit it in the future. Subsequently, the mosaics were covered with soil. Campbell's note was deposited in the archive of the expedition at Princeton University. Based on Campbell's note, Doro Levi says that the north aisle housed at least three mosaic panels decorated with geometrical and animal motifs (wheels with colourful rays, resembling those of the Kaoussie church, a beribboned bird made of bright glass tesserae, etc.). The east end of the aisle was destroyed. The north side of the aisle was cut in the rock. The nave revealed traces of a choir. The south aisle with annexes was traceable, but no remnants of its mosaics were recorded. Levi supposed that a careful exploration could have revealed much more details of the church. In 1967 Walter Eugene Kleinabuer revisited the Antioch Archive at Princeton, but he did not find the original note by Campbell. A recent survey of the archive's contents, conducted by Wendy Mayer, did not find the note either (this scholar also reports that other pages in Campbell's field notes of 1939 as missing). There is, however, a copy of Campbell's original note, at some point produced by Glanville Downey, which became the basis for a new edition of the inscription by Wendy Mayer and Pauline Allen (2012). Their text and commentary were commented on by Catherine Saliou (2013) and the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (vol. 62).


Levi did not discuss the identity of the Apostle, to whom the shrine was presumably dedicated. According to Kleinabuer this could have been the Apostle Paul, as Antioch played an important role in his life, as described in the New Testament. Nonetheless, Mayer and Allen doubted that a 6th or 7th c. church would have been dedicated to Paul, as in that period local affiliation of peculiar saints was less essential due to translations of relics (but note that this mosaic records a later restoration, not the construction of the building). They suggest that the Apostle was probably Thomas, based on the mentions of his cult in Seleucia in the works by Severus of Antioch (EXXXXX). Line 4: the editors read here ἐκλησί(ας) ἐκδίκου/'of the defender of the church'. We suggested that the office is termed ἐκκλησιέκδικος. Ekklesiekdikoi commonly appear on seals and in Justinian's Novelae. The actual shape of the last sentence is not clear, because of the lacuna at the end of line 6. Downey notes that the last preserved word was ἀποστολε, where he interpreted the last sign (ε) as the diphtong ου. In his comments in the SEG Rolf Tybout suggested that the lines could contain a reference to the successful completion of the paving with the aid (intercession) of the Apostle himself. Dating: Doro Levi understood that the date, given in line 6, the year 672, was computed according to the Seleucid era, and converted it as AD 360/361, which, however, did not match the 12th indiction year, also mentioned in the text. Therefore, he suggested that Campbell misread Β for Θ, and the year could actually read 679 = AD 367/368, which is, nonetheless, still in the 11th, not 12th indiction. The dating by the Seleucid era was accepted by Downey in his handwritten note. Mayer and Allen opted for the era of Antioch (a Caesarian era) which was used in other floor-mosaics in the city of Antioch and its territory. Thus, they calculated the date as May AD 625 (which falls on the 13th indiction year), and in the period of the Persian occupation of Syria. In her review of Mayer and Allen's book, Catherine Saliou pointed out that Seleucia, albeit a port of Antioch, was in fact independent from the latter city, and used its own era in dated inscriptions. If computed according to the proprietary era of Seleucia, the date corresponds to May AD 564, which is coherent with the 12th indiction (this dating is also accepted by the editors of the SEG).


Edition: Mayer, W., Allen, P., The Churches of Syrian Antioch (300-638 CE) (Leuven, Paris, Walpole, MA: Peeters), 64-67. Levi, D., Antioch Mosaic Pavements (Princeton: Princeton University Press; London: OUP, 1947), 482-483, note 346. Further reading: Kleinbauer, W.E., 'The origin and functions of the aisled tetraconch churches in Syria and Northern Mesopotamia', Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973), 93. Saliou, C., "[Review: Wendy Mayer, Pauline Allen, The Churches of Syrian Antioch (300-638 CE)...]", Topoi 17 (2013), 577-578. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 62, 1612.

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