The Episcopal Basilica, the Via Sacra, and the Semi-Circular Court at Stobi, R. Macedonia
Stobi was the largest and best known city in northern Macedonia in Late Antiquity. Located at the confluence of the Erigon (modern Crna) and Axios (modern Vardar) rivers, now in the Republic of Macedonia, the city became the capital of the province of Macedonia Secunda in the second half of the 5th century. Bishop Budios from Stobi participated in the Council of Nicaea in 325, and several later bishops of the city are known. According to an inscription, Bishop Philip was responsible for the construction of his episcopal church.
The Episcopal Basilica at Stobi is the outstanding Early Byzantine church known in the province of Macedonia Secunda, in terms of size, associated buildings, complexity of plan, unusual features, architectural sculpture, and mosaic and painted decoration. Four successive phases of the basilica functioned from the late 4th century or ca. 400 AD until the late 6th century when the city was abandoned. More specifically, the first phase of the Early Church, constructed probably ca. 400 AD, was renovated and enlarged into its second phase, most likely between 425 and 450, although no definite date can be assigned. During the third quarter of the 5th century the Early Church was deliberately and carefully dismantled. The original construction of the Basilica on the Terrace, socalled because it stood on an artificial terrace ca. 4 m above the floor level of the Early Church, is dated on the basis of ceramic evidence to the last quarter of the 5th century;4 a major rebuilding is less precisely dated to the first half of the 6th century, most probably to the 520s or 530s.