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E04533: Greek inscription on a bronze cross, asking *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) to give repose to a deceased person. Found at Shiloh near Sebaste (Samaria, Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably mid-5th – early 6th c.

online resource
posted on 2017-12-29, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
On the vertical arm of the cross:

+ ἁγ-
ία Μ-

On the horizontal arm of the cross:

Ἀνιανόν +

‘+ O Holy Mary, give repose to Anianos!’

Text: SEG 62, 1693.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Sebaste Shiloh

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

Sebaste Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Shiloh Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ex-votos Crosses


The 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.


The 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.


Edition: 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 Further reading: Madden A.M., Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (Leuven - Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014), 127 no. 184. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 62, 1693.

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