Saint NameDionysios, martyr of Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus : S00850
Saint Name in SourceΔιονύσιος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before491
Evidence not after518
Activity not before491
Activity not after518
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcKyrrhos/Cyrrhus/Hagioupolis
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Kyrrhos/Cyrrhus/Hagioupolis
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsSeeking asylum at church/shrine
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesMonarchs and their family
SourceA fragmentary limestone altar (bomos), broken and lost on top. Preserved dimensions: H. 1.19 m; W. of the base 0.4 m; W. of the shaft 0.75 m; letter height 0.05 m. The first two lines are on a moulding, the rest is on the shaft.
Found in 1907, in a field, to the west of the ruins of Kyrrhos, by Franz Cumont. First published by Cumont in 1907.
DiscussionThe inscription marked the boundaries of the safe zone/asylum of a sanctuary dedicated to Saint Dionysios. The limits of this refuge were established by a privilege of asylum, awarded by the emperor Anastasius (491-518). For a similar marker, see: E00996 with two boundary stone inscriptions from the area of Ankyra in Galatia, central Asia Minor.
Franz Cumont, the first editor of the inscription, supposed that the mentioned Dionysios was Dionysius the Areopagite, a figure converted in Athens by the Apostle Paul, as reported by the Acts of the Apostles (17,34). Hippolyte Delehaye and the editors of Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, Louis Jalabert and René Mouterde, rightly note that this Dionysios had no cult in 6th c. Syria, and it is much more probable that here a local martyr, whose sanctuary is mentioned by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Religious History (E01616), is meant.
In 2018 Wojciech Nadobnik suggested that the church of Dionysios could be identified with the northwestern church of Cyrrhus, situated next to the city wall. His argument is based on the fact that, so-far, this is the only church in the city which has an enclosure, whereas one could expect such a structure in a church bestowed with the privilege of asylum. As a parallel, he cites the church of Saint Thalelaios (E02005), likewise within an enclosure, and with boundary stones granted by Anastasius.
The date is established by the reign of the emperor, referred to in line 5.
The Packard Humanities Institute database: PH242232.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 1: Commagène et Cyrrhestique (BAH 12, Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1929), no. 160.
Cumont, F., "Monuments syriens", Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 51/7 (1907), 451-455.
Cumont, F., Études syriennes (Paris: Auguste Picard, 1917), 330-331, no. 38.
Anderson, J.G.C., Cumont, F., Grégoire, H., Studia Pontica, vol. 3, part 1: Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines du Ponte et de l'Arménie (Brussels: Lamertin, 1910), comments to no. 254.
Delehaye, H., “Bulletin des publications hagiographiques”, Analecta Bollandiana 27 (1908), 88-89.
Nadobnik, W., "Kościół męczennika Dionizego w Cyrze (Nebi Houri, Syria) - próba identyfikacji [= The church of the martyr Dionysius in Cyrrhus (Nebi Houri, Syria), an attempt of identification]", Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae 28 (2018), 57-64.