V 94. Cherson. Liturgical inscription, VIth century C.E.
H. 16.0, W. 50.0.
Within the field framed by an interlocking zigzag ornament. Damaged on the left.
Place of Origin
Church 15 ("Basilica in Basilica"), nave, by the west entrance.
1889, excavations of A.L. Bertye-Delagard.
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, no inventory number.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
On the front.
Lapidary style. Pi with extended horizontal, Y-shaped upsilon.
VIth century C.E.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> <supplied reason="lost">ἐ</supplied>ξώδου <lb n="2"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> <supplied reason="lost">ἐ</supplied>πὶ <roleName>κύριον</roleName>. </ab> </div>
... exit... to the Lord.
In the early years of the twenty first century, this inscription was transferred, together with mosaics from Church 15, to an off-site storage.
Along with the dedication of Malchos (V 20), this is the only Byzantine inscription in mosaic form, not only in Chersonesos, but anywhere in the Northern Black Sea region. Considering its brevity (half of each line is preserved), the text was probably some liturgical formula concerned with the exodus procession of clergy and worshippers from the church. It may have been similar to the widely attested, especially in Syria, mosaic formula Κύριος φυλάξει τὴν εἴσοδόν σου καὶ τὴν ἔξοδόν σου (Ps. 120:8) (cf. IGLS № 1456, 1466–68, 1567, 1571, 1680 etc.), or, in another variant, Κύριος φυλάξη τὴν εἴσοδον ταύτην (Sironen 1997, № 342 (V–VIth century)). Also comparable is the formula Θεοῦ οἴκου εἴσοδος (Guillou 1996, № 204, Paterno, cf. Ezekiel 44:5). See also Gaydukov 2005a, 84–85.
We should note, however, that next to the mosaic, on the marble door jamb, there was a building inscription of bishop Theodore (V 9). If there was a connection between the two inscriptions, then we could speculate a different meaning for our mosaic text: "at the expense of... in the time of the lord" (with mistaken case use and continuation elsewhere).
Since the mosaic must belong to the original stage of Basilica's construction, its date must be the date of that building, that is, VIth century (Sorochan 2005, 735–738).