novae

Novae

The Late Antique Christian bishop complex in Novae (236 km. northeast of Sofia) is very well explored and presented by a Polish archaeological team. It features a big and a small church, bishop-residence, baptistery and supply buildings on a massive 6 500 m2 area. After the wars of the Roman Empire against its rebel federates outside Danube River in 376-382 AD the military bath were destroyed. On top of it some time in the first quarter of the 5th century the Christian complex started to rise.

The main bishop church was discovered in 1976 in the western part of the city forum. It functioned in 5th-6th century as a three nave basilica with baptistery in its southern nave. The altar space had side rooms for holy rituals inventory and a giant marble ambo, constructed in Constantinople and brought by the special order of the Emperor. The most outer room – the narthex was wide and the yard in front of the church had a second baptistery. A small limestone reliquary was found in the western part of the baptistery, containing holy relics which are probably those of St. Simeon Stylite. Behind the church a small square martyrium preserved the remains of an early Christian martyr.

With its dimensions of 40.60/24.30 m. the bishop church is one of the biggest early Christian monuments on the Lower Danube. Northeast of the church the scientists have uncovered the residence of the bishop. To the northwest is the smaller church and to south -some social and farm buildings. A small reliquary was found under the altar table of the smaller church. The Northwest part of the whole complex was for the vast yard.

Another early Christian church (4th-6th century) was found outside the eastern gate of Novae, but presently it stays under the highway and another church with tomb in its apse, surrounded by graveyard was found west of the city’s wail. The last two of the Novae’s churches were found north of the city’s forum.

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