Mihail Zahariade

While excavating Halmyris’s massive fort (590 feet by 450 feet), archaeologists recently uncovered a 115-foot-long basilica dating to the early third-century C.E. In the basilica was a small crypt, consisting of an entrance chamber and a burial chamber; human bones were scattered about both rooms. A fresco painted on the eastern wall of the burial chamber included a Greek inscription containing the word “Astion,” the word hybrizo (“to torture” or “to behead”) and the Greek letters chi and rho (the first two letters of the word for “Christ”). The meaning seems clear: Astion was beheaded for preaching about the Christ.