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E01266: Coptic fragment of the Martyrdom of the monk *Pamoun (S00775) and his brother *Sarmata (S00776), set in Alexandria, from Achmim/Panopolis (Upper Egypt), manuscript datable to the 8th/9th century, composed most likely during the 5th–7th century.

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posted on 2016-04-10, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Lond.Copt. I 344

The text begins with Pamoun addressing the hegemon Armenios (Armenius dux (ⲇⲟⲩⲝ) at Alexandria in the time of Diocletian, compare $E01225) and telling him to be ashamed of himself. The tortures that follow do not affect the saint, since his belief is strong. The hegemon Armenios is so enraged that he questions the sanity of the two monks (monachos) standing trial. Pamoun offers a glimpse into his biography; how he had left his worldly life behind and together with his brother Sarmata became a monk (monachos) under the guidance of a man called Moses (ⲙⲟⲩⲥⲏ). Both men lecture the hegemon who eventually asks them to sacrifice, or else he would have their tongues ripped out. The two men are about to give their answer, when the text breaks off.

p. 267 (ⲥⲝⲏ) ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲡⲉϥϫⲟⲟⲥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϫⲉ ϩⲱ ⲉⲣⲱⲧⲛ ϫⲉ ⲛⲁⲣⲉ ⲡⲉϥϩⲏⲧ ⲧⲁϫⲣⲏⲩ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲁϥⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ
ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ϫⲓ ϣⲓⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲱ ϩⲁⲣⲙⲏⲛⲓⲟⲥ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ϫⲉ ⲛⲥⲙⲉⲗⲉⲓ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲁⲛ ϩⲁ ⲛⲉⲕⲃⲁⲥⲁⲛⲟⲥ
ⲉⲡⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲁϥⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩⲉⲓⲛⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲛⲉϥⲁⲛⲁⲅⲕⲁⲓⲟⲛ ⲁϥⲧⲣⲉⲩⲡⲁϩⲧ ϩⲉⲙϫ ⲉϥϫⲏϥ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁϥⲧⲣⲉⲩⲡⲁϩⲧ ⲕⲟⲛⲓⲁ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ
ⲉϣⲁⲁⲛⲧϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲉⲥⲑⲁⲛⲉ ⲉⲡⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲅⲉⲛⲛⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲁϥϭⲱⲛⲧ ⲛϭⲓ ϩⲁⲣⲙⲏⲛⲓⲟⲥ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲙⲁⲕϩ ϩⲙ
ⲡⲉⲓⲕⲟⲧ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛϩⲏⲗⲓⲁⲥ ⲡⲉⲥⲡⲉⲕⲟⲗⲁⲧⲱⲣ ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲓⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲙⲁⲛⲓⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲟⲛⲁⲭⲟⲥ ⲥⲛⲁⲩ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲕⲏⲙⲉ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲃ ⲛϭⲓ
ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲡⲁⲧϩⲏⲧ ⲛϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲉⲓⲉ ⲛⲅⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲛ ϫⲉ ϫⲓⲛⲉⲓ ϩⲛⲥⲁϣϥⲉ ⲛⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲙⲡⲓⲟⲩⲱⲙ ⲉⲣⲉ
ⲡⲣⲏ ⲛⲃⲁⲗ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲇⲉ ⲁⲓⲕⲱ ⲛⲥⲱⲓ ⲛⲡⲁⲏⲓ ⲛⲕⲟⲥⲙⲓⲕⲟⲛ ⲁⲓϣⲱⲡⲉ ϩⲛ (p. 268 (ⲥⲝⲏ) ⲟⲩⲁⲩⲏⲧ ⲙⲡⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲁϯⲙⲉ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲁⲥⲟⲛ
ⲥⲁⲣⲙⲁⲧⲁ ⲁⲛⲕⲁ ⲡⲉⲛⲏⲓ ⲛⲥⲱⲛ ⲁⲛϣⲱⲡⲉ ϩⲁⲧⲛ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲙⲟⲩⲥⲏ ⲁⲩϫⲟⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲥⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ϫⲉ
ⲡⲉϥⲃⲓⲟⲥ ϣⲏϣ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲁϩⲏⲗⲓⲁⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ ⲁϥⲁⲁⲛ ⲙⲙⲟⲛⲁⲭⲟⲥ ϩⲁⲧⲏϥ ⲁⲛϭⲱ ϩⲁ ⲧⲉϥⲙⲛⲧⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲧⲉⲛⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲱ ⲡⲁⲥⲉⲃⲏⲥ ⲉⲧⲉ
ⲛϥⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲛ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲉⲧⲉϩⲛⲁⲕ ⲁⲣⲓϥ ⲛⲁⲛ ⲙⲡⲉⲛⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ϩⲁⲣⲟⲕ ⲡⲉϫⲉ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲛⲁⲩ ϫⲉ ⲉⲓⲉ ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲧⲟϥ ϣⲟⲟⲡ
ⲧⲉⲛⲟⲩ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲉⲧⲛϫⲱ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲧⲁⲉⲓⲟ ⲉⲓⲉ ϥⲟⲛϩ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲃ ⲛϭⲓ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲁⲣⲙⲁⲧⲁ ϫⲉ ⲥⲉ ϥⲟⲛϩ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ⲛϥⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲛ ⲛⲧⲁⲛⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲙⲁ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ
ϥⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲡⲛⲁ ϫⲉ ⲧⲛϣⲱⲡ ⲛⲛⲉⲓϩⲓⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲇⲓⲕⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲃ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ϫⲉ ⲱ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲥⲁⲣⲙⲁⲧⲁ ⲁⲣⲓ ⲑⲩⲥⲓⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲛ ϯⲛⲁⲧⲣⲉⲩⲡⲱⲣⲕ ⲙⲡⲉⲧⲛⲗⲁⲥ ϫⲓⲛ ⲧⲉϥⲛⲟⲩⲛⲉ ⲁⲩⲟⲩⲱϣⲃ ⲛϭⲓ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ

'And the saint did not say: "Enough from you!" because his heart was strong in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The blessed Apa Pamoun called out saying: "Shame on you, governor (hegemon) Armenios! I am not at all concerned about your tortures."
He (the hegemon) ordered his necessary items (for torture) to be brought forth. He had stinging vinegar poured into their mouth and sand poured into his (read their?) nose. The noble Apa Pamoun did not feel anything at all. Armenios, the governor was enraged, because he did not suffer during this spiritual edification. He said to Elijah, the watchman (speculator): "I have never seen such madness (mania) as that of the two Egyptian monks!"
The blessed Apa Pamoun answered and said to him: "Senseless governor, then you do not know that for seven years I have not eaten while the sun is out. Since I have left my worldly home, I have lived in a monastery outside my village. I together with my brother Sarmata, we have left our home and lived with a great just man whose name is Apa Moses. Concerning that (monastic) brother, it is said that his life equals that of Elias, the prophet. He made us monks under him, and we remained under his paternity. But now, unholy one who does not know God, whatever you want, do it to us! You are not our concern."
The governor said to them: "But does your father still exist? This one whose glory you praise, is he alive?"
Apa Sarmata answered: "He is alive indeed, but he does not know we have come here. But he knows in his spirit that we are enduring these sufferings at the court."
The governor replied: "Pamoun and Sarmata, sacrifice, otherwise I will let your tongue be ripped out from its root!"
The saints answered …”

Text: W. E. Crum. Summary and translation: Gesa Schenke.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pamoun : S00775 Pamoun and his monastic brother Sarmata : S00776

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲁⲣⲙⲁⲧⲁ

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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Panopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Parchment leaf Or. 3581 B(49) containing pages 267–268 (ⲥⲝⲍ-ⲥⲝⲏ), kept in the British Museum in London. The manuscript is written in two columns of 30–31 lines each and most likely dates to the 8th/9th century due to the use of red ink for highlighting. The date of composition of the text cannot be ascertained, any date between the 5th–8th century is possible.


Since only a fragment of the text is preserved, it is difficult to judge whether the Coptic martyrdom refers to the same Pamoun as the Greek fragment E01265. The Coptic text shows that Pamoun and Sarmata take turns in interacting with the governor, so that the Greek fragment might just have preserved one of Pamoun’s turns to answer. The fact that in the Greek text Pamoun denies having a worldly father fits very well with his explanation in the Coptic text that he has left his worldly home in his village to live with a famous monk who taught him (and his brother Sarmata) a monastic way of life. The 'mania' or insanity the governor feels he has detected in these two monks, illustrates how far displaced from the concerns of the world these two martyrs already are. Pamoun tries to explain the governor’s impression of 'mania' by relating his primary move away from the world and into monastic life in the desert years ago. The two monks have already developed a certain degree of sanctity. Can sanctity thus be seen as a form of mania? Governor and martyr monks are on two completely different levels of 'reality' and therefore seem insane to each other.


Text: Crum, W.E., Catalogue of the Coptic Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1905), 161.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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