Saint NameKyrikos/Cyricus, child martyr of Tarsus (son of *Ioulitta/Julitta) : S00007
Saint Name in SourceΚύρικος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)
Evidence not before529
Evidence not after600
Activity not before529
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcKhirbet el-Buraq
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Khirbet el-Buraq
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsRenovation and embellishment of cult buildings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceMosaic medallion found in the nave of the ruined church at Khirbet el-Buraq, c 20 km to the southwest of Shechem. Dimensions not specified.
The site was excavated by Shimon Dar before 1981. Sadly, soon after the excavations the floor-mosaics fell victim to an act of vandalism and are now lost. A copy of the inscription was forwarded to Shimon Applebaum, Benjamin Isaac, and Yohanan Landau, who published it with the permission of the finder in 1981/1982. Small corrections to the interpretation of line 4 were subsequently offered by Jean Bingen in the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum.
As far as we are aware, there is no published photograph of this inscription.
DiscussionThe inscription invokes God's help for a certain Markianos. This is probably a donor who contributed to the paving of the church with floor-mosaics.
God's help is invoked through the intercession of Saint Kyrikos. The editors identify this figure as Kyriakos, an apocryphal character, a martyr and companion of Saint Photina, which is the apocryphal name given to the Samaritan woman who talked with Jesus in the Gospel of John 4.7. The editors suggest that the construction of the church postdates the violent suppression of the Samaritan revolt of 529 by Justinian, which was followed by the forced baptism of Samaritan communities, and that Kyriakos was chosen as the holy patron for the newly built shrine because of his links with the region. Although highly speculative, this suggestion has some support in the archaeological evidence from the site, which documents destruction of the village in the Justinianic period, see Crown, Pummer &Tal 1993, 26-27. The church, however, could have been built at a later date and its construction need not be an immediate result of the christianisation of the Samaritans. Furthermore, Saint Kyrikos (also spelt Kerykos) appears frequently in inscriptions throughout Syria and Palestine, and he is more readily identified with Kyrikos, the child martyr of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is the option we favour here.
Dating: The editors tentatively place the panel in the 6th c., based on the fact that most dated floor-mosaics come from this period.
Applebaum, S., Isaac, B., Landau, Y., "Varia epigraphica", Scripta Classica Israelica 6 (1981-1982), 104, no. 14.
Crown, A.D., Pummer, R., Tal, A., A Companion to Samaritan Studies (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1993), 26-27.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 32, 1521.