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E01724: Fragmentary Greek inscription mentioning the intercession of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), as the God-Bearer. Found at Argala near Mytilene (island of Lesbos; Aegean Islands). Probably late antique.

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posted on 13.07.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
[ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς (?) Δή]μητρας παρθένου, Χ(ριστ)ὲ, δ[ιὰ τῆ]ς πρεσβίας τῆς Θεοτό[κου - - -]

1. [- - - Δή]μητρας παρθένου Kiourtzian, [- - -] μήτρας Παρθένου Evangelides

'[As a vow] of the virgin Demetra, Christ, through the intercessions of the God-Bearer (Theotokos) [- - -]'

Text: Kiourtzian 1998, 376, lightly altered.

History

Evidence ID

E01724

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

431

Evidence not after

1300

Activity not before

431

Activity not after

1300

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Lesbos Mytilene Argala

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

Lesbos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Mytilene Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Argala Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

Fragment of a marble cornice. L. 1.04 m. Found in the ruins of the church beneath the modern chapel of Saint Euprepeia at Argala. First published by Demetrios Evangelides in 1930. The ruined basilica is a three-aisled structure (W. 17 m; L. 16.80 m) with a narthex (ending with an apse at its south end), a baptistery, and possibly a guesthouse. Next to the southwest corner of the church there is a small building, tentatively identified as a martyr shrine or a mausoleum. The basilica is presumed to have been constructed in the 5th c.

Discussion

The first editor supposed that the inscription commemorated a dedication, or the fulfillment of a vow, through the intercessions of Mary, here addressed as the God-Bearer. Georges Kiourtzian adds that the name of the dedicant might have been mentioned at the beginning of the preserved fragment and he reconstructs it as Demetra. He also notes that the word παρθένος/'virgin', which occurs after the presumed name of the dedicant, does not refer to Mary (as suggested by Evanglides), but to Demetra herself, who might have been a consecrated virgin. Dating: Inscriptions addressing Mary as the God-Bearer are unlikely to occur before the council of Ephesus 431, which greatly contributed to the development of her cult and the spread of this epithet.

Bibliography

Edition: Evangelides, D., “Πρωτοβυζαντινὴ βασιλικὴ Μυτιλήνης”, Arachaiologikon Deltion 13 (1930-1931), 17. Further reading: Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 376.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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