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E01144: Coptic legal document concerning a donation or regular payment to an oratory, probably of *John (if so, probably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) in the area of Hermopolis (Middle Egypt), written in the 8th century.

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posted on 2016-02-23, 00:00 authored by Bryan
CPR 4 33
Only the end of the legal document survives, in which a woman named Theognosta from Hermopolis authorizes a notary to address the dikaion of an oratory (eukterion) with respect to a donation or possibly a more regular payment. Various witnesses sign the document at the end of which the type of gift is specified as the amount of 40 jugs of wine, measures of wheat, as well as a part of the year’s harvest.

CPR 4 33,lines 12–18:
[ -ca.?- ] ⲁⲑⲁⲛⲁⲥⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲙⲓⲕⲟⲥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲣⲱ[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ϣⲱⲡⲉ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲕⲩⲣⲁ ⲑⲉⲟⲅⲛⲱⲥⲧⲁ ⲧϣⲉ ⲙⲡ  ̣[ -ca.?- ]
ⲙ̣ⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲡⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲡⲉⲩⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛ[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ⲱ̣ⲁⲛⲛⲁ ⲉϩⲙⲉ ⲛⲕⲁⲇⲟⲩⲥ ⲛⲏⲣⲡ ⲧⲉⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲛⲟⲩ̣[ⲱⲧ? -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ] ⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲫⲟⲩ ϩⲛ ⲧⲕⲁⲗⲁϫⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲩϣⲁⲛϣ[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ⲥ̣ⲟⲩⲟ ⲛⲧⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲟⲓⲡⲉ ϩⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲡ[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ⲧⲉⲗⲏⲥ ϫⲓⲛⲉ ⲡⲕⲁⲣⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲛⲛⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲓⲛⲇ(ⲓⲕⲧⲓⲟⲛⲟⲥ) ⲁ[ -ca.?- ]

'Athanase, the notary, through the will of God, the inhabitant [of? …] took place through me, since lady Theognosta, the daughter of […] it for the dikaion of the holy oratory of [saint] John (or Ioanna?) concerning forty jugs (κάδος) of wine of [the same] year […] the place of Aphou at the corner (?). If they […] wheat of the small measure from them every year […] … starting with the harvest of the 9th indiction […]”

Translation: Gesa Schenke.

A full record of the text is available at:;4;33


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Donation document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet


  • Coptic

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)

Hermopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


CPR 4 33 is a fragmentary papyrus belonging to the Papyrus Collection in Vienna, inv. K 3199. The handwriting of the document has been dated to the 8th century.


The items donated seem to be annual gifts to the oratory. Whether this is the same oratory of *John mentioned in E01145 or possibly one to a female saint Ioanna is unclear.


Text:;4;33 Till, W.C., Corpus Papyrorum Raineri IV (CPR IV): Die koptischen Rechtsurkunden der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, 1958), 37–38.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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