Saint NameTrophimos, martyr in Synnada (Phrygia, central Asia Minor), ob. c. 276-282 : S00606
Saint Name in SourceΤρόφιμος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed objects
Archaeological and architectural - Extant reliquaries and related fixtures
Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before282
Evidence not after400
Activity not before282
Activity not after400
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSynnada
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Synnada
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesHeretics
Cult Activities - RelicsBodily relic - head
Reliquary – institutionally owned
Bodily relic - bones and teeth
SourceA chest of white marble. Found by a local in 1907 in Şuhut near ancient Synnada (Phrygia, central Asia Minor). H. 0.25 m; W. 0.2 m. The chest resembles a small pillar (with base and capital), which is also the form of a certain type of Anatolian sarcophagus. Inscription A is engraved on the "shaft", Inscription B on the lid (probably written by a different hand). Currently kept in Bursa Museum (inv. no. 548).
DiscussionThis is one of the most famous inscribed reliquaries, found in Anatolia (some scholars refer to it as an "ossuary"). When opened, it contained a well preserved human skull.
The martyr Trophimos, mentioned in Inscription A, is believed to be the figure known from the Acts of Saint Trophimos of Synnada (BHG 1853-1854), who was killed under the emperor Probus, together with two companions: *Sabbatios and *Dorymedon. Trophimos tried to convert some pagans to Christianity at a festival in honour of Apollo in Antioch, but was captured by the angry mob. Sabbatios was executed in Antioch, Trophimos and Dorymedon were both taken to Synnada and suffered martyrdom there. The Acts of Trophimos were regarded as spurious by Adolf von Harnack and Henri Grégoire. William Tabbernee stresses that the reliquary attests only to the existence of a cult of a certain Trophimos in Synnada and cannot be considered as a proof of authenticity of these Acts.
William M. Calder and William H.C. Frend believed that Trophimos had been a Montanist and a voluntary martyr. But the only arguments, they brought forward, were an unjustified identification of our Trophimos with a Montanist ἅγιος Τρόφιμος mentioned in an inscription from Payamalanı / Sebaste (see E00907), and the fact that there were no systematic persecutions of Christians under Probus (see Calder & Grégoire 1952, 165-168; Calder 1955, 37; Frend 1965, 445). Their hypothesis was rightly rejected by William Tabbernee (see Tabbernee 1997, 239).
Dating: 3rd c. (Mendel); early 4th c. (Kalinowski). The editors say that the ornamentation on the reliquary stylistically resembles the art of the Hellenistic period. Mendel argued for the 3rd c. dating as there were no Christian symbols on the reliquary and the martyr was not called ἅγιος. He also pointed at 2nd and 3rd c. palaeographic parallels and at the presence of a formula (ἔσται αὐτῷ πρὸς τὸν θεόν) in Inscription B, which is characteristic of Christian or Jewish inscriptions from the area of the city of Eumeneia.
Tabbernee, W. (ed.), Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources for Illustrating the History of Montanism (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1997), no. 35.
Guarducci, M. (ed.), Epigrafia greca, vol. 4: Epigrafi sacre pagane e cristiane (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato - Libreria dello Stato, 1978), 390-392.
Buschhausen, H. (ed.), Die spätrömische Metallscrinia und frühchristlichen Reliquiare (Wiener byzantinistische Studien 9, Wien, Köln, Graz, 1971), C 60.
Mendel, G., "Catalogue des monuments grecs, romains et byzantins du Musée Impérial Ottoman de Brousse", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 33 (1909), 342-348, no. 102.
Calder, W.M., "Early Christian epitaphs from Phrygia", Anatolian Studies 5 (1955) 37.
Calder, W.M., Grégoire, H., "Paulinos κοινωνός de Sébastè de Phrygie", Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres de l'Académie Royale de Belgique 37 (1952), 165-168.
Delehaye, H., Les origines du culte des martyrs (Bruxelles : Société des Bollandistes, 1912), 190.
Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 92.
Frend, W.H.C., Martyrdom and persecution in the Early Church: a study of a conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 445.
Kalinowski, A., Frühchristliche Reliquiare im Kontext von Kultstrategien, Heilserwartung und sozialer Selbstdarstellung (Spätantike – Frühes Christentum Byzanz 32, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2011), 129-130.
Mitchell, St., "An apostle to Ankara from the New Jerusalem: Montanists and Jews in Late Roman Asia Minor", Scripta Classica Israelica 24 (2005), 214.
Robert, L., "Les Kordakia de Nicée, le combustible de Synnada et les poissons-scies. Sur des lettres d'un métropolite de Phrygie au Xe siècle. Philologie et réalités, I", Journal des Savants (1961), 154, n. 73.
Bulletin épigraphique (1910), 322; (1963), 260.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 6, 343; 30, 1494.