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E01691: Greek inscription with the names of a saint *Paphnoutios, and possibly *Elijah (Old Testament prophet, S00217). Found in the ruins of an abandoned fort at Dreyb al-Wawi (Khirbet al-Wawi), near Chalkis and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). Dated 535/536.

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posted on 04.07.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
+ Ἠλίας. ὁ ἅγ(ιος) Παφνούτις
ἔτους ημω΄

'Elijah. Saint Paphnoutis. The year 848.'

Text: Mouterde & Poidebard 1945, 205, no. 35.

History

Evidence ID

E01691

Saint Name

Elijah, Old Testament prophet : S00217 Elijah (unspecified) : S00667 Paphnoutios, Egyptian Anchorite : S00063 Paphnoutios, founder of the convent in Heraclea (Thebaid, Egypt) : S00880 Paphnoutios of Thebes : S00881 Paphnoutios (unspecified) : S0

Saint Name in Source

Ἠλίας Ἠλίας Παφνούτις Παφνούτις Παφνούτις Παφνούτις

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

535

Evidence not after

536

Activity not before

535

Activity not after

536

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Chalkis Dreyb al-Wawi

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Chalkis Thabbora Thabbora Dreyb al-Wawi Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

A stone lintel. There is no description of the object. Found before 1945 in the ruins of a fort at Dreyb al-Wawi (Khirbet al-Wawi) by René Mouterde.

Discussion

Mouterde supposed that the lintel came from an oratory, built in the ruins of the fort, after they had been settled by monks. Though there is no direct evidence to support this theory, it is quite possible, as abandoned and ruined forts, tombs, and other structures were frequently inhabited by monastic groups. The names, mentioned in the inscription, may also suggest that its authors derived from a monastic milieu. The Elijah, appearing in line 1, might be the Old Testament prophet, who was popular among monks, as a figure said to have laid the foundations for the monastic way of life. Paphnoutios is also a name strongly connected to the monastic movement. Mouterde guessed that the Paphnoutios mentioned here might have been the founder of the convent in Herakleia in the Thebaid (Egypt), in c. 380, whose activity is described in the Historia monachorum of Rufinus of Aquileia (chapter 16, PL 21, coll. 435-439). It is, however, possible that another holy monk, bearing this name, may be referred to here: for example Paphnoutios of Thebes, a probably fictional disciple of Anthony, said to have survived the persecutions under Maximinus Daia, and then to have lived the monastic life. He was believed to have participated in the council of Nicaea in 325 and in the council of Tyre 335 as a defender of 'orthodoxy' against the Arians. Dating: the date, the year 848, is given according to the Seleucid era, which corresponds to AD 535/536.

Bibliography

Edition: Mouterde, R., Poidebard, A., Le limes de Chalcis: organisation de la steppe en haute Syrie romaine: documents aériens et épigraphiques (Paris: P. Geuthner 1945), 205-206, no. 35. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1946-1947), 204.

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