V 58. Cherson. Image-related inscription, late IV–Vth centuries C.E.
H. 9.0, W. 6.5, Th. 3.0.
The screen panel is worked on all sides. On the front are traces of the frame (top section), and below the framing line, traces of an image (a human head), made in sgraffito technique. On the back is a frame in relief. Broken off on all sides, except the top.
Place of Origin
North-east, near the Canet battery, room 14.
1909, excavations of R.Ch. Loeper.
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 20307.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
On the frame (top section).
Lapidary. Lunate epsilon and sigma; kappa with extended vertical.
Late IV–Vth centuries C.E.
L1. Vinogradov 2005b, 91–93; 1.1. Vinogradov 2010, 117–118, № а3.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><supplied reason="lost">Ὁ</supplied> <roleName><expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>ύριο</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan></roleName> <expan><abbr>Ἰε</abbr><ex>σοῦ</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan> <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> </ab> </div>
The kinship of this Chersonessian fragment and the ones from St.Petersburg (V 56) and Paris (V 57) is proven by the identical treatment of the front and back sides, the use of sgraffito technique, and the script. What makes this example different is that the image without the halo is apparently on the left, which means that the figure of Christ must have been on the right.
There is no doubt that all three panels (the original width of V 56 is 0.75m) belonged to one and the same liturgical installation from the interior of the same church. The emphasis on the role of Peter points with a good degree of probability to a church of the Apostle Peter, mentioned in the "Life of the Chersonian Bishops" V 58 is the only one certainly found on the territory of the ancient/medieval city. It was found in the northeast part of Cherson, not far from Church 23 ('Uvarov Basilica') and Church 36 ('Eastern Basilica'). The latter is quite possibly the church of the Apostle Peter mentioned in the "Life" (see Sorochan 2005, 875–886). It is also significant that the script on all three panels points to the late IVth - early Vth century.
The presence of figurative images on these panels precludes the possibility that they constituted an altar screen. Rather, the panels that bear such explicitly thematic depiction must be linked to an object related to the cult of the Apostle Peter, that is, some king of a memorial. The reverse position of the figure of Christ (lefthand side on the panels in St. Petersburg and Paris, and the righthand side on the panel in Chersonesos) attest to a symmetrical compostion where the left and the right sides are mirror-images of one another. We should also note that the subject of the panels is related to water. It thus suggests either the framing structure of a phiale or, more likely, of a baptisterium. A Latin mosaic inscription in the Orthodox baptisterium in Ravenna (Redin 1896, 45) provides a compositional parallel. In sum: the three panels from Cherson support the existence of a church dedicated to Apostle Peter, and it is quite likely the church that was built by St. Kapiton (Vinogradov 2010a, 119-122).