Syriac Gravestones from Central Asia
[from: Alphonse Mingana, The Early Spread of Christianity in
Asia and the Far East: A New Document (Reprinted from The
of the John Rylands Library, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1925), 41-42 and John
Missionary Enterprise: The Story of a Church on Fire (Edinburgh: T
&T Clark, 1928), 204-213]
1 The Syriac term used for a visitator,
to an archdeacon, a bishop's assistant. The Syriac word sa'ora
the Greek word periodeutes were also used to describe this
"The duty of the bearer of these titles was to visit the churches and
that all was well with them and to build up congregations that had
off. It was also part of his duty to visit villages and smaller
to gather elders around him, to admonish them, and remind them of their
duties, to read the scriptures, to gather the children together, pray
them and arrange for their education. The person appointed to this
was chosen because of his piety, his uprightness and his
- This is the grave of Pasak -- The aim of life is Jesus, our
- This is the grave of chorepiscopus(1)Ama.
In the year 1566 (AD 1255)(2)he
departed from this world in the month of July on Sabbath. May our Lord
unite his spirit with those of the pious and upright. Amen.
- In the year 1583 (AD 1272) that is the ape year. This is the
priest and general, Zuma -- a blessed old man, a famous Emir, the son
General Giwargis. May our Lord unite his spirit with the spirits of the
fathers and saints in eternity.
- In the year 1584 (AD 1273). This is the grave of the church
the humble believer.
- In the year 1612 (AD 1301) the bull year. This is the grave of
Taki who was very zealous for the church.
- In the year 1613 (AD 1302). This is the grave of the priest
blessed old man. He worked much in interests of the town.
- In the year 1616 (AD 1305) which is that of the Turkish snake.
the grave of Sabrisho, the archdeacon, the blessed old man and the
priest. He worked much in the interests of the church.
- In the year 1618 (AD 1307), which is the year of the sheep. This
grave of Jeremiah, the believer.
- In the year 1618 (AD 1307) that is the sheep year. This is the
the charming maiden Julia, the betrothed of the chorepiscopus Yohannan.
- In the year 1623 (AD 1312), which is the year of the pig. This is
of the priest Peter, the venerable old man.
- In the year 1627 (AD 1316) which is the year of the dragon. This
grave of Shliha the celebrated commentator and teacher, who illuminated
all the monasteries with light, son of Peter the august commentator of
wisdom. His voice rang as high as the sound of a trumpet. May our Lord
mix his pure soul with the just men and fathers. May he participate in
the heavenly joys.
- In the year 1639 (AD 1328) that is the dragon year. This is the
Pesoha the renowned exegetist and preacher who enlightened all
through the light -- extolled for wisdom and may our Lord unite his
with the saints.
- In the year 1650 (AD 1339) the hare year. This is the grave of
He died of plague with his wife Mangu-Kelka.
2 Many of the dates given on these
inscriptions follow the Syriac custom of dating events according to the
Seleucid Era (i.e. beginning with the inauguration of Seleucid rule in
Syria and Palestine in 312/311 BC). Dates using AD are in parentheses.