Saint NameSergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023
Saint Name in SourceΣέργιος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Inscriptions - Graffiti
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after600
Activity not before500
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcJerusalem
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Jerusalem
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - monastic
Cult activities - Places Named after Saint
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceThe inscription is painted in red paint in a niche in the rock face, over the doorway of a rock-hewn tomb sited to the east of the Akeldama monastery in Jerusalem (Macalister's Tomb 61).
First recorded by Titus Tobler, a Swiss physician and traveller in Palestine, and first published by him in 1854. Tobler was, however, able to read just a few letters. A better transcription and a drawing were offered by Robert Stewart Macalister in 1900 in the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement. He notes that he tried in vain over several days to transcribe the whole text. In the same volume, Charles Clermont-Ganneau suggested an improved reading of line 2, and argued that it could refer to a monastery dedicated to Saint Sergios. The most recent edition is by Leah Di Segni in Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae.
The tomb is well known and is discussed in archaeological works on the necropoleis of Jerusalem.
DiscussionThe inscription informs the reader that the tomb belongs to a religious institution, probably a monastery, named after Saint Sergios, almost certainly the martyr venerated in Rusafa.
Clermont-Ganneau pointed out that the same monastery might have been mentioned in a 9th c. work, the Commemoratorium de casis Dei vel monasteriis, listing religious establishments in Jerusalem. On the other hand, Felix-Marié Abel noted that we can have here a reference to the nunnery located near the Holy Sepulchre, which appears in the 11th c. chronicle of Yahia of Antioch. Dissenting from his predecessors, Józef Tadeusz Milik argued that the sanctuary of Sergios of our label was not a monastery, but a chapel in the church of Saint Euphemia which lay close to the east city wall; but Di Segni firmly rejects his theory. For references, see the commentary to CIIP 1/2, no. 963.
The last words of the inscription are scarcely legible, and Di Segni's supposition that one Agapetos is mentioned at the end of line 2, although plausible, is not certain.
Cotton, H.M., Di Segni, L., Eck, W., Isaac, B., Kushnir-Stein, A., Misgav, H., Price, J.J., Yardeni, A. and others (eds.), Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad, vol. 1, part 2: Jerusalem, nos. 705-1120 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), no. 963 (with further bibliography).
Thomsen, P., Die lateinischen und griechischen Inschriften der Stadt Jerusalem und ihrer nächsten Umgebung (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1922), no. 114.
Clermont-Ganneau, Ch., "The monastic cemeteries of the Wâdy Er-Rababi", Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 32 (1900), 377-378.
Stewart Macalister, R.A., "The rock-cut tombs in Wâdy Er-Rababi, Jerusalem", Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 32 (1900), 236-237, no. 12 and Pl. V (Tomb 61).
Tobler, T., Zwei Bücher Topographie von Jerusalem und seinen Umgebungen (Berlin: , 1853), vol. 2, 240 (Tomb 7).
Abel, DACL 2363
Bieberstein, K., Bloedhorn, H., Grundzüge der Baugeschichte vom Chalkolithikum bis zur Frühzeit der osmanischen Herrschaft (TAVO Beiheft B 100, 1-3; Wiesbaden 1994), vol. 2, 330-331.
Kloner, A., Zissu, B., The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period (Leuven - Dudley, MA: Peeters, 2007), 228, 311.
Milik, J.T., "La topographie de Jérusalem vers la fin de l'époque byzantine", Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph 37 (1960-1961), 168-167, note 2.
Bulletin épigraphique (1963), 286.