A 1,500-year-old Greek inscription bearing the name “Christ, born of Mary” was unearthed in northern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced, The Jerusalem Post reports.
The archaeologists discovered the inscription engraved at the entrance of an impressive building from the Byzantine or early Islamic period, featuring mosaic pavements decorated with a geometric design.
The finding was unveiled in a salvage excavation directed by Tzachi Lang and Kojan Haku ahead of the construction of a road inside the village of Taiba in the Jezreel Valley.
“Christ born of Mary. This work of the most God-fearing and pious bishop [Theodo]sius and the miserable Th[omas] was built from the foundation. Whoever enters should pray for them,” reads the full inscription, according to Dr. Leah Di Segni, researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“The inscription greets those who enter and blesses them. It is therefore clear that the building is a church, and not a monastery – churches greeted believers at their entrance, while monasteries tended not to do this,” Di Segni commented in a press release.
The words “Christ born of Mary” were widely used at the beginning of documents or other forms of text, serving as a blessing and protection from evil.
“As a blessing, the inscription must have originally stood at the entrance of the church, where people could see it. However, it was now found incorporated in the walls, therefore we know that the stone was reused as construction material. Likely the building collapsed and was rebuilt,” Alexandre pointed out.
Photography courtesy of Tzachi Lang / Israel Antiquities Authority