Saint NameAnthimos, bishop and martyr in Nicomedia, ob. 303/311 : S00124
Saint Name in SourceἌνθιμος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before490
Evidence not after600
Activity not before490
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcPompēiopolis
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Pompēiopolis
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsSeeking asylum at church/shrine
SourceLarge slab, found be Georges Doublet before 1889 at Taşköprü (ancient Pompeiopolis, Paphlagonia, northern Asia Minor). When recorded, the stone was reused in a fountain.
DiscussionThe inscription marked the boundaries of the safe zone (asylum) or of an estate belonging to a church of a martyr *Anthimos. Georges Doublet, the first editor of the inscription, identified him with a homonymous opponent of the teachings of Eutychian, active in the first half of the 5th c. However, François Halkin rightly points out that he was much more likely to have been Anthimos, a bishop of Nikomedia / Nicomedia, martyred under Diocletian. A short account of his martyrdom is given by Eusebius in the eighth book of his Church History: 'At this time Anthimos, who then presided over the church in Nicomedia, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ. A great multitude of martyrs were added to him, a conflagration having broken out in those very days in the palace at Nicomedia, I know not how, which through a false suspicion was laid to our people' (Eus. HE VIII 6,6; Delehaye 1912, p. 179; see E00316).
Surprisingly, the author of this boundary stone inscription addressed Anthimos as μεγαλομάρτυς / 'the great martyr', an epithet usually given to *George and other warrior saints. However, another passage from Eusebius' Church History reveals that Anthimos of Nicomedia, was regarded as the most highly esteemed among martyred bishops (perhaps because he was the first bishop that died during the Great Persecutions), which could be the reason for addressing him in this way: 'As for the rulers of the Church that suffered martyrdom in the principal cities, the first martyr of the kingdom of Christ whom we shall mention among the monuments of the pious is Anthimos, bishop of the city of Nikomedia, who was beheaded (Eus. HE VIII 13,1, see E00318).
The introductory formula, ὅροι ἄσυλοι / 'inviolable boundaries', is likewise unusual. Most Christian boundary stone inscriptions begin simply with the phrase ὅροι τοῦ ἁγίου... / 'boundaries of the saint, etc.'
Though this inscription does not say so explicitly, boundary stones were usually bestowed upon sanctuaries by emperors.
Dating: Probably late 5th or 6th c. (as other boundary stones were usually authorised by emperors of this period).
Doublet, G., "Inscriptions de Paphlagonie", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 13 (1889), 309, no. 18.
Delehaye, H., Les origines du culte des martyrs (Bruxelles : Société des Bollandistes, 1912), 179.
Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.P. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 105.
Halkin, F., “Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure”, Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 96.