Saint NameJohn the Evangelist : S00042
Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Canonical and legal texts
Evidence not before527
Evidence not after610
Activity not before527
Activity not after610
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcEphesus
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Ephesus
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsAwarding privileges to cult centres
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
Monarchs and their family
SourceTwo fragments of a blue marble plaque found at the site of the church of Mary in Ephesos. Fragment A: H. 0.165 m; W. 0.27 m; Th. 0.035-0.04 m. Fragment B: H. 0.11 m; W. 0.13 m; Th. 0.025 m.
Having revisited and examined the fragments, Denis Feissel suggests that, although published separately, they almost certainly form missing parts of another monumental inscription with a governor's letter, found in Ephesos (our E00778), see Feissel 1999, 127-128 and no. 27. In a letter dated 17.05.2018 Feissel informed us about his forthcoming new edition and restoration of this text.
DiscussionThe first editors hypothesised that the inscription may have preserved fragments of an imperial letter from Justinian or one of his sixth-century successors that dealt with the status of two major churches in Ephesos: the episcopal church of *Mary (the Great Church, μεγάλη ἐκκλησία of our text, if that is the correct reading) and the newly constructed church of *John the Evangelist, locally called the Theologian (reconstructed as the Reverend House, σεβάσμιος οἶκος, of the inscription). They pointed out that the wording resembles other imperial letters published in Ephesos as inscriptions (see E00745; E00766).
Denis Feissel, however, very plausibly identifies the fragments as elements of a letter of a governor (proconsul) of the province of Asia that was preserved in another Ephesian inscription, and probably accompanied an imperial resolution concerning the church of Mary and the church of John the Evangelist. See E00778.
Die Inschriften von Ephesos, no. 1373.
Feissel, D., "Épigrahie administrative et topographie urbaine: l'emplacement des actes inscrits dans l'Éphèse protobyzantine (IVe – VIe s.)", in: R. Pillinger, O. Kersten, F. Krinzinger, O. Russo (eds.), Efeso paleocristiana e bizantina (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1999), 121-132.