A Recently Discovered Church at Ashdod-Yam (Azotos Paralios) in Light of Its Greek Inscriptions

Leah Di Segni, Liora Bouzaglou, Alexander Fantalkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recently discovered church at Ashdod Yam is unique in several respects. One is its early date, the beginning of the 5th century at the latest, as is revealed by its rich epigraphic yield. Second, the large proportion of women among the dead buried within its walls, most if not all of them deaconesses. The third unexpected feature in the church inscriptions dated by an era year (five out of thirteen) is the chronological system consistently used in them all and confirmed by the accordance between the resulting CE year and the indiction. The epoch is 248/9 CE, the millennium of Rome, which was never employed for dating purposes, except as an anchor for the national era and the cosmic era of creation of the Georgians. As an hypothesis, we suggest that Georgian monks, disciples of Peter the Iberian, who frequented this part of the Palestinian coast, became acquainted with the chronological system revealed in this church (possibly adopted by Azotian Christians under Roman influence), chose it as a base for the elaboration of their national systems and later introduced these systems in Georgia, where they are documented only in the 8th century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-447
Number of pages49
JournalLiber annuus
StatePublished - 2022

Cite this