Kissufim - St. Elias

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Source of knowledge
Archaeological remains
Surveyed site
Excavated site
An inscription found in the mosaic pavement mentions an abbot of St. Elias. This would, in most cases, be taken as confirmation of the site’s identity as a monastery, as suggested by the excavator. However, Di Segni argues against such an assertion and proposes that the church was not a monastic church but of a private estate and under the custody of abbot Theodorus, mentioned in the inscription. Di Segni (1997: 679) notes: “Theodorus’ monastery must have been nearby if he and his monks had assumed care of the estate church”. She also notes that the images appearing in the elaborate mosaic are more in keeping with a private estate or a wealthy family church than with a monastery (Di Segni 2016: 188*). An added point of importance is the title of paramonarius= warden, attributed to the abbot. An abbot would not have been the paramonarius of his own monastic church, a position which would have been held by another monk of the monastery. For the reasons listed above, we are of the opinion that the church at Kissufim was not a monastic church and the monastery of St. Elias was elsewhere, its location unknown.
State of certainty: 
Uncertain / Questionable
Architectural evolution
Dating material: 

Based on the style of the mosaic and the dated inscriptions, the excavator suggests that the church was constructed during the reign of Justin II (565 - 578 CE).

Phase date
6th c.
Within century: 
Second half
Phase date
7th-8th c.
Iconoclastic evidence
Iconoclastic evidence: