A late 5th century CE Greek inscription is proof to archaeologists of the evidence of early Christianity in a village in northern Israel.
The inscription was framed at the entrance door of what is believed to be a 5th-century CE church. It was found in the wall of a late Byzantine-era structure.
The Byzantine era existed from 395 CE and played a role in shaping Christian orthodoxy.
The phrase "Christ Born of Mary" was commonly used in that time period as a greeting, blessing, and protection from evil. It would have been most appropriate at the entrance of a church.
Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority who first discovered the inscription were surprised that a church from 1500 years ago existed in the area.
The inscription also mentioned a name, Theodosius, who was known to be one of the first Christian bishops. Theodosius was responsible for building the church with the inscription inlaid at the entrance door.
The church may have been destroyed at the end of the Byzantine era and was later reconstructed into a different structure that would have been occupied by either Jews or Christians at one time. Thus, the inscription lay hidden until it was discovered in 2021.
While churches were common in the Byzantine era, the inscription was the earliest evidence of Christianity in that part of Israel.