From Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia

The sincerest form of flattery. Bishop Avercius’s tomb monument so impressed a Hierapolis resident named Alexander that he quoted its first and last lines—verbatim—on his own funerary monument, shown here in a drawing published by Ramsay, who discovered it in 1881. Fortunately, Alexander included a date in his inscription—“the year 300” of the Roman period (which began in 84 B.C.E.), or 216 C.E. This provides a firm end date for Avercius’s inscription, making the bishop’s poem the earliest datable Christian inscription