Archeologists revealed earlier this week that they had discovered the inscription on a stone dating back nearly 1,500 years; the artifact was uncovered in northern Israel’s Jezreel Valley.

A stone etched with the words “Christ, born of Mary…” was discovered in northern Israel earlier this week as archaeologists continued to excavate at a site located in et-Taiyiba (Taiba), which resides in the Jezreel Valley. The church where the stone was found is well-believed to have been constructed during the Byzantine Empire, making this artifact approximately 1,500 years old.

According to at least one source, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported the discovery on Wednesday.

The lettering on the stone, which is believed to have originally been part of a doorway lintel in the church, is inscribed in Greek and was likely part of a greeting upon entering the structure; a greeting that was commonly used in that era. Furthermore, Leah Di-Segni, a researcher out of the Institute of Archeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, suggests that it was likely inscribed during the foundational stages.

She also revealed that the full inscription reads, “Christ born of Mary. This work of the most God-fearing and pious bishop [Theodo]sius and the miserable Th[omas] was built from the foundation…Whoever enters should pray for them.”

Walid Atrash of the IAA added, told The Times of Israel that “The importance of the inscription is that until now we didn’t know for certain that there were churches from this period in this area.” He added, “This is the first evidence of the Byzantine church’s existence in the village of et-Taiyiba and it adds to other finds attesting to the activities of Christians who lived in the region.”

Theodosius was the Beit She’an regional archbishop during the end of the 5th century, and the mention of his partial name in the inscription provided the archaeologists with extremely accurate dating.

Psalm 85:11
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.