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E00736: Greek Letter of unknown Egyptian provenance, mentioning a man responsible for the martyr shrine of Apa *Phoibammon (probably the soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080), claiming that the two arouras of land for the use of cultivation which belong to the shrine are not sufficient, leaving the man in charge in financial difficulties, and asking an archimandrite to intervene in the matter; datable to the 5th–6th c.

online resource
posted on 2015-09-23, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Köln 2 112 = SB 12 10965:

A presbyter named Phoibammon is writing to the superior of a monastery on behalf of a man named Petros who is responsible for the martyr shrine of Apa Phoibammon, and is being sent to the addressee of the letter in person to deliver this message.

P.Köln 2 112, lines 1–4:

Πέτρος ὁ προσφέρων τῇ σῇ ὁσιότητι ταῦτά μου τὰ γράμματα .[ ]
τυγχάνων τοῦ ἁγίου μαρτυρίου ἄπα Φοιβάμμωνος δέεται τῶν ἀ̣[ναγκαίων].
[ο]ὐ̣ γὰρ ἀπαρκεῖ ἡ πρόσοδος τῶν δύο ἀρουρῶν τοῦ μαρτυρίου πρὸς τους[  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣]
ν[  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣· ε

“Petros, who is bringing your holiness this letter of mine and who is […] of the holy martyr shrine of Apa Phoibammon, is in need, since the proceeds of the two arouras of the martyr shrine (martyrion) are not sufficient for … […]”

(Engl. trans. Gesa Schenke)

A Full text with images is available online at:;2;112


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source

ἄπα Φοιβάμμων

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Letter Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Papyrus P.Köln 2 112 is preserved as inv. 261 in the Cologne Papyrus Collection. The text is written on papyrus with the address on the verso. The letter itself consist of nine partially fragmentary lines.


The document is a letter written by a presbyter named Phoibammon to an archimandrite concerning the situation of a man named Petros, most likely a presbyter too, but at the martyr shrine of *Apa Phoibammon. Petros is in need of help, most likely financial, and knowing that the addressed archimandrite is a kind and charitable man, he has asked the sender of the letter to get in touch on his behalf. The income from the two land arouras belonging to the martyr shrine does not seem to be sufficient enough to either sustain Petros himself, or possibly to feed the visitors of the martyr shrine. One Aroura (of land) equals 2,756 square meters (Bagnall 1993, 332). Since the provenance of this papyrus is unknown, it remains obscure which martyr Apa Phoibammon and which shrine is mentioned here. For an overview of the known cult places dedicated to the well-known Apa Phoibammon, the soldier martyr of Preht, see E00240. At the end of the first line, the editors read and reconstruct π̣[ρεσβύτερος], but a reading of δ̣[ιάκονος] seems equally possible. The latter reading would explain why the presbyter Phoibammon writes on behalf of a deacon Petros rather than Petros addressing the archimandrite himself. Since the superior of a monastery is addressed with this issue, it seems likely that the martyr shrine in question, as well as the land mentioned, belongs to the monastery, but other scenarios can not be excluded.


B. Kramer, "P.Köln 112: Ein byzantinisches Empfehlungsschreiben," in: B. Kramer and D. Hagedorn, Kölner Papyri (P.Köln) Band 2, Papyrologica Coloniensia VII (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag 1978, 190–191. Further reading: Bagnall, R.S., Egypt in Late Antiquity (Princeton, 1993).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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