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E00160: Greek private letter, from Oxyrhynchos (Middle Egypt) concerned with greetings and the transport of goods, providing a list of five saints to be invoked on the sender’s behalf: *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon, S00017), *Menas (soldier and martyr of Abu Mena, S00073), *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), and *Ioulianos (probably the martyr of Cilicia, S00305), datable to the 4th/5th c.

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posted on 2014-11-08, 00:00 authored by Bryan
P.Oxy. 56.3862 i

The document is a letter from Philoxenos to his parents and uncle, from Oxyrhynchos, 4th/5th century, in which the sender of the letter asks the addressees to pray to various saints.

lines 25–28: εὔξεστε(*) περὶ μ  ̣  ̣   ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣ τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ ἁ̣γ̣ί̣ο̣υ̣ Ἰ(*)ωάννου καὶ τῆς ἁγίας Εὐφημίας καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Μηνᾶ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Π̣έτ̣ρ̣ου καὶ τοῦ ἁγίο̣υ̣ Ἰ(*)ου̣λ̣ι̣α̣νοῦ

'Pray (for me? through?) Saint John and Saint Euphemia and Saint Menas and Saint Peter and Saint Julianus.'

A full record of the text with images is available at:;56;3862

Text and translation: M. G. Sirivianou.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Menas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073 Euphemia, martyr in Chalcedon, ob. 303 : S00017 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Julian, martyr in Cilicia, ob. c. 303-311 : S00305 John the Baptist : S00020 John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

Μηνᾶς Εύφημία Πέτρος Ἰουλιανὸς

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Letter


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Oxyrhynchos Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



A long and well preserved letter written on papyrus now kept at the Sackler Library in Oxford.


The letter is written in very pious language, acknowledging the receipt of a written message from the addressees, but also of large amounts of goods by two different shipments. The list of saints provided in the letter presumably asks the addressees to pray for the intercession of these saints on behalf of the sender. Churches dedicated to Euphemia, Menas, Peter, Ioulianos, and both John the Apostle and Evangelist and John the Baptist are known from Oxyrhynchos itself (E000741, E02123). The same is most likely to be expected for *John and *Julianos, whether *John here might be the Baptist or the Evangelist. *Julianos could be the Alexandrian martyr of Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.41.


Edition: Sirivianou, M.G., in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 56 (London, 1989), 133–137. Further reading: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 146–149.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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