The Tomb of Abgar V, the First Christian King

During archaeological excavations in the city named Edessa (Urfa) in March 2016, about 80 early Christian tombs were discovered, including the family burial vault of the Armenian king Abgar V.

The tomb, in which 10 members of the royal family were buried, is decorated with a mosaic and a depiction of a cross. Also, a plate with an Assyrian inscription “Great King Abgar V the Black, the first Christian ruler of Edessa” was discovered.

King Abgar V ruled the kingdom of Osroene twice in the Armenian part of Northern Mesopotamia, the capital of which in 4 BC – 7 AD and 13 – 50 was Edessa.

King Abgar is considered the first Christian king. In the Edessan archives in the 4th century, Eusebius of Caesarea found a document testifying to the correspondence of the king with Jesus. In it, Abgar called Jesus “the Son of God” and asks him for healing.


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