Saint NameArchangels (unspecified) : S00191
Unnamed angels (or name lost) : S00723
Saint Name in Sourceἄνγελος
Image Caption 1Photograph by N. and A. Graicer. From: CIIP 1/2, 539.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before700
Evidence not after1200
Activity not before700
Activity not after1200
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 - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
SourceRough stone slab. H. 1.03 m; W. 0.55 m; Th. 0.13 m. Letter height 0.03-0.04 m. Decorated with a cross within a circle, carved above the inscription.
Found by workers reportedly in an unspecified location on the Mount of Olives. First published by Charles Clermont-Ganneau in 1905. The reading of the inscription is clear and no significant amendments have been suggested by later editors. Now in the museum of the Franciscan Biblical Institute (SBF) in Jerusalem. A photograph was recently taken by Nili and Abraham Graicer.
DiscussionThe inscription is the epitaph for a priest (presbyter, here named ἱερεύς). He is said to have been associated with a new church dedicated to an 'Appeared Angel' (καινὸν κτίσμα φανέντος ἀγγέλου). Given the find-spot of the inscription, Clermont-Ganneau suggested that this was a reference to the legend about the apparition of an angel to *Mary, Mother of Christ, at the Mount of Olives, announcing her imminent death. The origins of the legend are not clear – it is recounted by pilgrims visiting Jerusalem after the crusades, but could be of an earlier date. Clermont-Ganneau believed that the church mentioned in our inscription could also be a pre-medieval foundation, possibly completed after the Arab conquest. As a basis for dating he uses the poor spelling of the inscription and phonetic phenomena observable in its text.
The content of lines 1-2 is especially puzzling. Di Segni's translation is based on Clermont-Ganneuau's idea that the epsilon in line 2 stands for the number 5 (Greek: pente) and the sequence of letters ΤΗΕΣΤΙ should be understood as a reference to the feast of Pentecost: τῇ <πεντηκο>στῇ.
As for lines 3-4, one can wonder whether they really read Ἰοσήπιος κὲ ἱερεὺς/'Iosepios, (who was) also a priest', as the conjunction καί suggests two different functions. Therefore, the name of the deceased could be Iosep and the sequence ΙΟΣ may denote an abbreviated post: Ἰοσὴπ ἰος κὲ ἱερεύς, possibly οἰ(κονόμ)ος/steward of a church or monastery.
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. App. 18*.
Bagatti, B., Il Museo della Flagellazione in Gerusalemme (Jerusalem: Tip. PP. francescani), 19-20, no. 17.
Thomsen, P., Die lateinischen und griechischen Inschriften der Stadt Jerusalem und ihrer nächsten Umgebung (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1922), no. 158.
Clermont-Ganneau, Ch., “Deux nouvelles inscriptions grecques du Mont des Oliviers”, Recueil d'archéologie orientale 5 (1902), 164-169 and 389.
Leclrecq, H., "", DACL 14/1 (1939), 272-273.