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E00239: Coptic Martyrdom of Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080), presented by Kolouthos, the Stylite, giving an account of his family background, trial, and martyrdom in Assiut (Upper Egypt) which includes punishing miracles during his lifetime, datable to the 6th/7th c.

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posted on 2014-12-18, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
One episode in the Martyrdom portrays the saint’s particular trait most clearly as the one who punishes parents through the suffering of their children. During his trial in Assiut, when Phoibammon’s sign of the cross not only destroys the torturing rack and turns the seat of the dux upside down, but also sets the torturers themselves alight, and is about to gain power also over the iron bed, the dux in uncontrollable rage over such disobedience and destruction curses all Christians collectively. Phoibammon, deeply upset over this, answers in the most intimidating way possible:

M582 fol. 14r II,34–14v I,24:

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲙⲡⲇⲟⲩⲝ ϫⲉ ⲉⲡⲓⲇⲏ ⲁⲕⲧⲟⲗⲙⲁ ⲁⲕϫⲓⲟⲩⲁ ⲉⲡⲣⲁⲛ ⲙⲡⲁⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲛⲅⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲁⲛ · ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ · ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲉⲟⲟⲩ · ⲉϥⲉⲧⲱⲃⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ϩⲉⲛⲟⲩϭⲉⲡⲏ ⲧⲁⲣⲉⲕⲓⲙⲉ ϫⲛⲧⲟϥ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲕⲁ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲉⲡⲱϥ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲁⲙⲁϩⲧⲉ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲛⲉⲛⲉϩ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ · ⲛϩⲟⲥⲟⲛ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲟⲛ ϣⲁϫⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲇⲟⲩⲝ ⲉⲓⲥ ⲟⲩϩⲙϩⲁⲗ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲕⲟⲙⲓⲥ ⲁϥⲉⲓ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲥⲓⲟⲟⲩⲛ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲙⲡⲇⲟⲩⲝ ϫⲉ ⲡⲁϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲣⲟⲓ ⲛⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲉⲕϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲛⲟⲅⲉⲛⲉⲥ ⲙⲟⲟϣⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉⲡⲣⲉⲧⲱⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲁⲩϫⲟ ϩⲉ ⲉϫⲱϥ ⲁϥⲙⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ

'Apa Phoibamon said to the dux: "Since you have been so daring and have cursed the name of my God, this one whom you do not know – neither his power nor his glory – he shall take revenge on you quickly, so that you recognise that he is the God of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, this one whose is the glory and the authority eternally. Amen!" While Apa Phoibammon was still speaking with the dux, behold a servant of the comes entered the public bath. He said to the dux: "My Lord, listen to me: As your only son was walking into the praetorium, a wall collapsed onto him and he died immediately".'

Text: Uljas (forthcoming). Translation: Gesa Schenke

For a full account of this martyrdom see E02109.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier martyr of Preht (ob. c. 304) : S00080

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hamouli Assiut

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

Hamouli Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Assiut Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Kolouthos the Stylite, The Martyrdom of Apa Phoibammon

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Punishing miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Aristocrats


Complete manuscript, parchment codex Pierpont Morgan M582, fol. 1r–20v, from the monastery of the Archangel Michael in the Fayum, near Hamouli, produced between AD 822 and 913/4. Further fragments of this text are known from papyrus leaves: British Library Or 6012, part of a single papyrus leaf; British Library Or 7561, ff. 67–69, three fragmentary pages of a papyrus codex; British Library Or 7561, ff. 114, 116 & 117, three papyrus fragments; and Bayerische Landesbibliothek (Munich), Handschrift koptisch 3, ff. 52–58, seven fragmentary papyrus leaves. The account of the saint's martyrdom is followed in the same codex by a large collection of his miracles, see E00240.


Edition: Uljas, S., "The Martyrdom of St Phoibamon of Preht, Pierpont Morgan Codex M 582, ff. 1r–20v", in: M. Müller and S. Uljas (eds.), Of Martyrs and Archangels, vol. 1 (forthcoming). Further reading: Spanel, D.B., "Phoibammon of Preht, Martyr," in A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia. 8 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1991), vol. 6, 1963–1965. 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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