Saint NameTheodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480
Saint Name in SourceΘεώδορος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Graffiti
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after800
Activity not before500
Activity not after800
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcAvdat/Oboda
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Avdat/Oboda
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits
SourceThe inscriptions are painted in red. They were found in Cave no. 2 in the Ein Avdat ravine, located to the north of the city of Avdat/Oboda, one of very few hermitages recorded in the Negev desert. Cave no. 2 was certainly a hermit cell (one of four examined in the ravine). Its internal dimensions are: c. 5.30 m x 5.60 m. A bench was carved in the rock-face on the outer wall of the cave, close to the entrance.
The inscriptions were first published by Yoram Tsafrir and Ze'ev Meshel in 1977 in a hardly accessible volume. Their existence was communicated to the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum by Leah Di Segni, and the text was reprinted in the SEG 41, 1542. In 1995 Pau Figueras published a drawing, based on which the editors of the SEG offered an improved edition in the SEG 45, 1974.
DiscussionOnly Graffito 2 contains an invocation of Saint Theodore. Graffito 3 invokes God as the Lord, and Graffito 1, if it was read correctly, probably Christ (although its phrasing is unusual).
Tsafrir, one of the first editors, suggested, on the basis of the invocation of Theodore, that the cells of 'Ein 'Avdat could be associated with a monastery (coenobium) in Oboda, where Theodore was venerated. He also argued that the Zacharias, mentioned in our Graffito 3, might be the person buried in the South Church in Oboda, dedicated to Theodore (see E04162). This supposition is, however, implausible.
Theodore certainly was venerated in nearby Oboda (E04162; E04163; E04164), further to the south, at 'Aila (E02617), and possibly at Abasan el-Kabir in the northwest Negev (E03170).
Figueras, P., "Monks and monasteries in the Negev desert", Liber Annuus 45 (1995), 412-413.
Meshel, Z., Tsafrir, Y., Seqer archeologi be - 'En Ἀvdat (Midrashat Sede Boquer, 1977), 11-13.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 41, 1542; 45, 1974.