Saint NameTarachos, Probus, and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbos, Cilicia, southeastern Asia Minor, ob. c. 304) : S00710
Saint Name in SourceΤαράχιος, Πρόβος, Ἀνδρόνικος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before450
Evidence not after600
Activity not before450
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 CustomsAwarding privileges to cult centres
SourceA slender limestone pillar. H. 1.06 m; W. 0.33 m; Th. 0.34 m; letter height 0.045 m. Found at Araç (near Pompeiopolis). Kept in the Kastamonu Museum (inv. no. 192). First published by Christian Marek after an examination of the stone, a photograph and a squeeze.
DiscussionThe inscription marked the boundaries of the site protected by the privilege of the asylum or an estate owned by a church dedicated to martyrs: Tarachos (here spellt Tarachios), Probos, and Andronikos. The three were martyrs of Anazarbos (Cilicia, southeastern Asia Minor) under Diocletian.
Tarachos came from Klaudiopolis in Isauria. He was a soldier, discharged from service. Probos was a commoner from Side in Pamphylia, and Andronikos a young noble from Ephesos. The account of their martyrdom (see: AASS, October, vol. 5, 11 X, 560-584) says that they were all captured in Pompeiopolis in Cilicia (modern Viranşehir). Sylvain Destephen argues that our inscription illustrates the spread of their cult to Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia (modern Taşköprü), which lies c. 600 km to the north of the place of their martyrdom. Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia lacked its own martyrs, and its authorities or ecclesiastics could have striven to acquire some relics from the outside – perhaps these three martyrs, seized in another Pompeiopolis, seemed to them especially attractive, and they may even have believed that the Pompeiopolis concerned was their own city of Paphlagonia.
We also know that bishops of Anazarbos did not object to distributing the relics of these three saints. In the Martyrdom of *Niketas the Goth (ch. 8, see: E01129) we find a story about Auxentios, bishop of Mopsuestia (Cilicia), who promised the bishop of Anazarbos that he would send him a portion of the relics of Niketas in exchange for relics of Tarachos, Probos, and Andronikos. Though his request was immediately satisfied, Auxentios later claimed that, despite his best efforts, he was unable to harvest Nicetas' relics, as a worker was paralysed when he touched the holy body. Having learned that, the bishop of Anazarbos could not do anything but bow to the will of the martyr. In the Life of *Euthymios (ch. 44, see: E01128) Cyril of Scythopolis adds that Martyrios, the patriarch of Jerusalem, deposited relics of the three under the altar (thysiasterion) of the monastery of Euthymios in Palestine, in 482.
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 boundary stones are common, authorised by emperors of this period).
Marek, Chr., Stadt, Ära und Territorium in Pontus-Bithynia und Nord-Galatia (Istanbuler Forschungen 39, Tübingen: Wasmuth 1993), 154, no. 69.
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), 71-72, 105.
Delehaye, H., "Saints de Thrace et de Mésie", Analecta Bollandiana 31 (1912), 285-286.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 1993, 919.