The Church Atop a Synagogue in Chersonesos?


  • Elżbieta Jastrzębowska

Słowa kluczowe:

5-6 w. -- Krym, Ukraina, Chersonez Taurydzki, Krym (Ukraina), architektura sakralna o. rzymskiego późnego, synagogi, kościoły wczesnochrześcijańskie, bazyliki wczesnochrześcijańskie


The 1935 Basilica that overlooks the seacoast in Chersonesos Taurica is one of the best-known of the eight large Late Antique churches excavated at the site. The structure is a three-aisle basilica with an east- oriented apse, typical of the Christian East, and its architecture bears testimony to two clearly distinguished phases dated to the 5th and 6th cent. The earlier basilica was abutted from the south by a room that is traditionally interpreted as a Jewish synagogue, based on supposed Hebrew graffiti on fragments of fallen plaster and a relief representation of a menorah on a stone block re-used in the apse of the later basilica. However, the interpretation that assumes conversion of a Jewish place of worship into a Christian basilica is unconvincing in the light of cases better supported by archaeological evidence. Churches erected in Late An¬tiquity in place of earlier synagogues were found in Stobi in Macedonia, Apamea and Palmyra in Syria, and Gerasa (modern-day Jordan). In these cities, the synagogues occupied an important place in the urban land¬scape; their identification is supported by inscriptions, the wealth of architectural detail is significant, and niches for the Torah are always oriented towards Jerusalem. All of these synagogues were torn down or com¬pletely transformed in order to build Christian churches in their place. This cannot be said of the 1935 Basilica in Chersonesos Taurica. On the other hand, the mere four examples from known Late Antique sites is a modest number that contrasts with textual evidence describing brutal methods of „Christianising" synagogues. The number of synagogues converted to churches is also small compared to the number of known synagogues that were not destroyed in this manner





Jak cytować

Jastrzębowska, E. (2014). The Church Atop a Synagogue in Chersonesos?. Archeologia, 61–73. Pobrano z