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E00229: Three Coptic land donation documents from the second half of the 8th c., certifying the gift of a field to the saint of the monastery of Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) at Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt).

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posted on 2014-12-08, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.KRU 107
The people of Hermonthis donate a precisely measured plot of land to (the monastery/shrine of) Apa Phoibammon (line 12) in the year 767/768. The proceeds of the field are to be used to cover the cost of the holy lamp (lines 16–17), most likely the one burning in the healing shrine.

P.KRU 108
The entire community of castron Djeme donates a small plot of land to the place (topos) of Apa Phoibammon. The donation is made with a view to their sins and needs.

P.KRU 109
Menas, son of John, from the city of Hermonthis, agrees to the donation of a field to the monastery (topos) of Apa Phoibammon on 28 May 771. The field in question was formerly donated by the people of Hermonthis to the monastery (topos) of the Twelve Apostles, who seems to have sold it to the monastery of Apa Phoibammon for three solidi. The original donors, the people of Hermonthis, represented here through Menas, seem to have to agree to such a change of ownership, by issuing a donation document to the new owner.

Full text and translation:

          [+ ἐν ὀνόματι τῆς ἁγίου καὶ ζωοποιοῦ ὁμοουσίου τριάδος πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ]
          καὶ ἁγίου πν(εύμ)α(το)ς ἐγράφη μ(ηνὸς) Πα(υνι) γ, ἰνδ(ικτίωνος) θ
          + ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲙⲏⲛ̅ ⲡϣⲛ ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ϩⲛ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ⲉⲧⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ
          ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧ ⲧⲏⲩ-
          ⲧⲛ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲁⲑⲑⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲛϥⲟⲓⲕⲟⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲧⲓⲉⲡⲓⲧⲣⲉⲡⲉ
5         ⲛⲏⲧⲛ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲱϩⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲡⲣⲏⲥ ⲛⲣⲓⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲛⲏϫ ⲛⲥⲱⲛ <ⲛ>ⲡⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ)
          ⲓⲅⲛⲁⲇⲓⲟⲥ ⲕⲟⲥⲙⲁ ⲡⲣⲙⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲛⲣⲙⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ
          ⲧⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲡⲙⲛⲧⲥⲛⲟⲟⲩⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥ
          ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ⲁⲥⲇⲟⲕⲉⲓ ⲛⲏⲧⲛ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧ ⲧⲏⲩⲧⲛ ⲛⲟⲓⲕⲟ<ⲛⲟ>ⲙⲟⲥ
          ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲧⲁⲣⲉⲧⲛϫⲓⲧϥ ⲛⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ⲛⲛⲣⲙⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ
10       ϩⲁ ⲛⲟ(ⲙⲓⲥⲙⲁ) ⲅ ⲛⲧⲉⲧⲛⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲛⲉⲛⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ
          ⲛⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ϩⲓⲱⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲛⲉⲣⲏⲩ
          ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲧⲟⲗⲙⲁ ⲛⲃⲟⲗϥ ⲉϥⲟ ⲛϣⲙⲙⲟ ⲉⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
          ⲉϥⲱⲣϫ ⲛⲏⲧⲛ ⲁⲓⲥⲙⲛ ⲡⲓⲇⲱⲣⲉⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲟⲛ ⲧⲓⲥⲧⲟⲓⲭ(ⲉ) ⲉⲣⲟϥ

'[In the name of the Holy, life-giving, and consubstantial Trinity, the Father, the Son,] and the Holy Spirit. Written on the third of the month of Pauni, of the ninth indiction year.
     I, Menas, the son of John, from Hermonthis, who writes to the holy monastery (topos) of Saint Phoibamon on the mountain of Jeme, represented through you, Sourous and Matthaios, his stewards (oikonomoi), I entrust to you the field which is south of Rimoou –– this one which is left with us from the blessed Ignatios, son of Kosma, resident of the city of Hermonthis, this field which the residents of the city of Hermonthis donated to the holy monastery (topos) of the Twelve Apostles at the city of Hermonthis.
     It seemed right to you, you represented through the stewards(oikonomoi) of Saint Phoibamon, that you receive it from it [the monastery of the Twelve Apostles] – with (the consent of) the residents of the city – for the sum of three gold coins (nomismata), and that you give it (the sum) to the holy monastery (topos) of our fathers, the Apostles, at Hermonthis, (I entrust the field to you) eternally for all of us together (i.e. on behalf of the people of Hermonthis).
     Whoever shall dare to dissolve it (the donation), is a stranger to God. I have produced this donation document as security for you. I agree to it.'

(Text: W. E. Crum and G. Steindorff, German trans. W. C. Till, Engl. trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier martyr of Preht (ob. c. 304) : S00080 Apostles (unspecified) : S00084 Sourous, Apa Sourous, superior and holy man at the monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme : S01584

Saint Name in Source

ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲡⲙⲛⲧⲥⲛⲟⲟⲩⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Papyri Documentary texts - Donation document


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hermonthis Deir el-Bahari Djeme

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

Hermonthis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Deir el-Bahari Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Djeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings


P.KRU 107 is a fragmentary papyrus document consisting of two parts, one located in the British Museum in London, number 94, the other in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, number 8739. P.KRU 108 is a fragmentary papyrus document located at the British Museum in London, number 90. P.KRU 109 nearly complete papyrus document located at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, number 8739 (verso of P.KRU 107).


Since the monastery of Apa Phoibammon is not only a monastery, but an institution running a healing shrine, such land donations are also intended as gifts for the saint in order to ensure his continuous benevolence to the donors, in this case the people of Hermonthis (P.KRU 107 and 109) and the people of Djeme (P.KRU 108). Whether this holds true also with respect to P.KRU 109, where a former donation has been sold by the recipient, the monastery of the Twelve Apostles, to the monastery of Apa Phoibammon, is debatable, though it would explain the reason for this type of 're-donation' document one seems to be facing here.


Edition: Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 335-340 (P. KRU 107-109). German Translations: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna: H. Böhlaus, 1964), 190-192. Further reading: Biedenkopf-Ziehner, A., Koptische Schenkungsurkunden aus Thebais: Formeln und Topoi der Urkunden, Aussagen der Urkunden, Indices (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001). Godlewski, W., Deir el-Bahari V: Le monastère de St. Phoibammon (Warsaw: PWN, 1986). For a full range of the documentary evidence on Phoibammon: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 204–214.

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