Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΜαρία
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed objects
Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.)
Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)
Evidence not before450
Evidence not after550
Activity not before450
Activity not after550
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Palestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSebaste
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Sebaste
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
Cult Activities - Cult Related ObjectsEx-votos
SourceThe inscription is on a bronze cross. The arms of the cross also bear holes at their ends.
The cross was found in the debris of the so-called Later Northern Church at Shiloh. The church houses two inscribed floor-mosaics (SEG 61, 1691-1692, cf. Madden 2014, no. 184) which, however, do not specify its dedication. One of them records the completion of the floor-mosaic in the north aisle under the presbyter Delmatios, the other invokes God as the Lord to accept an offering (presumably the same mosaic pavement).
The inscription on the cross was first published by Leah Di Segni in 2012.
DiscussionThe cross was apparently a votive offering for the repose of the Anianios mentioned in the inscription. Remarkably, it is not God who is invoked to grant repose to Anianos but solely the Virgin Mary (here named Holy Mary/Hagia Maria). Therefore, this is an interesting record of a belief that saints (or at least some particular saints) could act independently, and not only by interceding with God. We can compare this request with similar cases where Mary and God (E04401), and Thekla and God (EXXXX) are invoked as equal partners.
Di Segni, L., "Greek inscriptions from the Late Northern Church at Shiloh", in: N. Carmin, E. Levin, C. Ebert, M. Gugenheim (eds.), Christians and Christianity, vol. 3: Churches and Monasteries in Samaria and Northern Judea (Judea and Samaria Publications 15, Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2012), 219-222, no. 3
Madden A.M., Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (Leuven - Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014), 127 no. 184.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 62, 1693.