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E01716: Coptic Martyrdom of *Nahroou from Pouoeit in the Fayum (S00927), prosecuted by Diocletian, demonstrating miraculous power over wild animals and performing many healing miracles, datable to the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 12.07.2016, 00:00 by gschenke
Martyrdom of Nahroou

The preserved part of the Martyrdom of Nahroou (ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ) starts with the emperor (ⲡⲣⲣⲟ), presumably Diocletian, asking the saint about his origin and name. Nahroou answers that he is an Egyptian (ⲁⲛⲅ ⲟⲩⲣⲙⲛⲕⲏⲙⲉ) from a place named Pouoeit in the Fayum district (ⲁⲛⲅ ⲟⲩⲣⲙⲡⲟⲩⲟⲉⲧ ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲟϣ ⲡⲟⲙ). The fact that Nahroou styles himself as an Egyptian might suggest that the trial is taking place in Alexandria, if not altogether outside of Egypt.

The emperor then demands that Apa Nahroou sacrifices to the imperial gods, but when the saint refuses to do so, citing from the holy scripture, the emperor is enraged and has him brought to the theatre to be thrown in front of wild animals (K 9509 and K 9510).

K 09509, p. 216:
ⲧⲟⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲉⲛ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲡⲉⲑⲉⲁⲇⲣⲟⲛ · ⲁϥⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲕⲁ ⲟⲩⲙⲟⲩⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲉϥⲉⲟⲩⲱⲙ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ·:·
ⲡϩⲁⲅⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ · ⲁϥⲡⲱⲣϣ ⲛⲛⲉϥϭⲓϫ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ϥⲥⲏϩ ϩⲙ ⲡϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲯⲁⲗⲙⲟⲥ · ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲉⲥⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ
ⲛⲁⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲣⲧⲁⲁⲥ ⲛⲛⲉⲑⲏⲣⲟⲛ · ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲙⲟⲩ ⲡⲁϩⲧϥ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲧ ⲛⲛⲉϥⲟⲩⲉⲣⲏⲧⲉ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱⲛ ⲛⲣⲱϥ ⲁϥϣⲁϫⲉ ϩⲛ
ⲟⲩⲥⲙⲏ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ · ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲉⲛⲁϫⲱϩ ⲉⲣⲟⲕ ⲛⲁϣ ⲛϩⲉ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲑⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲙⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲉⲧⲕⲱⲧⲉ ⲉⲣⲟⲕ · ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲙⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲧⲁⲗⲟϥ ⲉϫⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲧⲛϩ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲉⲛ :· ⲁϥϫⲧϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ · ⲁⲡⲙⲟⲩ ⲟⲩⲱϣⲧ ⲛⲁϥ ⲁϥⲡⲱⲧ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲙⲁ :··

‘Then the blessed Apa Nahroou was brought to the theatre. He (the emperor) gave orders to let a lion loose against him, so that he would devour his body. The saint Apa Nahroou, however, spread his arms out, saying: “It is written in the book of Psalms (73:19): ‘Do not give a soul revealed to you to the wild beasts!’” Immediately, the lion threw himself down and kissed his (the saint’s) feet. He opened his mouth and spoke with a human voice, saying: “How could I touch you for fear of Michael who is around you?” Immediately, Michael raised him onto his luminous wings and took him into the city. The lion saluted him and went back to his place.’

K 09510, p. 217:
ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ ⲁϥⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ ⲛϭ ⲡⲣⲣⲟ ⲉⲧⲣⲟⲩⲉⲛⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲁⲣⲝ :· ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲛⲇⲏⲙⲟⲥ ⲕⲁⲁⲥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲉⲥⲃⲁⲗ ⲙⲟⲩϩ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩϣⲁϩ
ⲛⲕⲱϩⲧ ⲉⲥϯϩⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲙⲁⲧⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲁϥⲡⲱⲣϣ ⲛⲛⲉϥϭϫ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϣⲁ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲉⲑⲏⲣⲟⲛ ⲡⲁϩⲧϥ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲧ ⲛⲁϥ ⲁϥⲗⲱⲡϩ ⲛⲛⲉϥⲟⲩⲉⲣⲏⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲗⲁⲥ :· ⲧⲟⲧⲉ ⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲟⲩⲱⲛ ⲛⲣⲱϥ ⲙⲡⲉⲕⲉⲟⲩⲁ · ⲁϥϫ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲥⲙⲏ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ · ⲁϥⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ :· ϫⲉ ⲱ ⲧⲃⲱ ⲛⲉⲗⲟⲟⲗⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲩⲡⲟⲟⲛⲉⲥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲕⲏⲙⲉ :· ⲡⲉⲥⲙⲁϩ ⲛⲉⲗⲟⲟⲗⲉ ⲛⲗⲟⲅⲕⲟⲥ · ⲡⲥⲣⲁⲏⲗⲧⲏⲥ ⲉⲙⲛ ⲕⲣⲟϥ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲉⲛⲁⲉϣ ϩⲱⲛ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲣⲟⲕ ⲛⲁϣ ⲛϩⲉ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲙⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲙⲟⲟϣⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ ⲉϥϯ ϭⲟⲙ ⲛⲁⲕ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϫⲛⲧⲁⲕⲉ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲉⲡⲟⲗⲥ ⲁⲕⲧⲣⲉⲛⲃⲗⲗⲉ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ :· ⲛⲁ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉⲧⲁⲣⲝ ϫⲟⲟⲩ · ⲁⲥⲟⲩⲱϣⲧ ⲛⲁϥ ⲁⲥⲕⲟⲧⲥ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲙⲁ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲡⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ · ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ :·

‘Afterwards, the emperor gave orders to have a bear brought forth against him. The executioners let it loose, its eyes burning like a fiery flame, being extremely frightening. Apa Nahroou, however, spread his arms out to God. Immediately, the wild animal threw itself down and worshipped him. It licked his feet with its tongue. Then God opened also the mouth of this one. It received a human voice and called out, saying: “Oh, wine stock, who has been moved from Egypt, its spiritual fruit, Israelite without deceit! How can I approach you, while Michael walks with you empowering you? Since you have come into this city, you have caused the blind to see!”
When the bear had said these things, it saluted him and returned to its place. The multitude called out: “There is no god except for Jesus Christ, the God of Apa Nahroou!”’

Even more enraged, the emperor accuses the saint of being a magician, but repeats his demands to sacrifice to the imperial gods. When Apa Nahroou refuses again, he gives orders to have him hung on the hermetarion to scrape him to death. Just as the emperor states that the Christian God was unable to save the saint from the emperor’s hands, Christ and Michael appear and heal the saint’s wounds, restoring him completely (K 9511).

K 09511, p. 219:
ϩⲟⲥⲟⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡϣⲁϫⲉ ϩⲛ ⲣⲱϥ · ⲉⲥ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲁϥⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲉ · ⲛⲧⲟϥ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲭⲁⲏⲗ · ⲉϥⲧⲁⲗⲏⲩ ⲉϫⲛ ⲟⲩϩⲁⲣⲙⲁ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲉⲛ ·
ⲁⲙⲭⲁⲏⲗ ϭⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲙⲁϩⲧ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲁϥⲧⲁⲁⲩ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲉϥⲕⲁⲗⲁϩⲏ ⲛⲕⲉⲥⲟⲡ · ⲁϥⲕⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲉⲙⲛ ⲟⲩⲡⲗⲩⲅⲏ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ϩⲙ
ⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ·

'While the word was still in his mouth, behold the Lord Jesus came down from heaven, he and Michael, mounted on a luminous chariot. Michael took hold of the intestines of Apa Nahrow and placed them back into his belly again. He put him down with not a single wound on his body.'

Through the saint’s blood which had fallen onto the stone slabs when he was tortured, blind men who walk over it are healed. Immediately all the sick of the city are brought forth and healed by the touch of the saint’s blood.

K 09511, p. 220:
ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ ⲉⲥ ϩⲛⲃⲗⲗⲉ ⲁⲩⲉ ⲉⲩϣⲉⲧ ⲙⲛⲧⲛⲁ · ⲁⲩⲉ ⲉⲩⲙⲟⲟϣⲉ ϩⲉⲛ ⲧⲉⲡⲗⲁⲧⲁ ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ · ⲁⲩϩⲱⲙ ⲉϫⲙ ⲡⲉⲥⲛⲟϥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ ·
ⲁⲩⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ :· ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲛⲉⲙⲁⲉⲛ · ⲁⲩⲉⲛⲉ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲙ ⲉⲧⲥⲏϭ · ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ · ⲙⲛ ⲛϭⲁⲗⲉ · ⲙⲛ
ⲛⲕⲟⲩⲣ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲙⲡⲟ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲉⲡⲛⲁ ⲛⲁⲕⲁⲑⲁⲣⲧⲟⲛ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲩ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲕⲉϣⲱⲛⲉ ⲉⲩϣⲉⲃⲓⲏⲩ :· ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲛϣⲁⲩϫⲱϩ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲥⲛⲟϥ ·
ϣⲁⲣⲉ ⲡⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲩ ·:· ⲁⲡⲉϣⲁϫⲉ ⲥⲱⲣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ ⲧⲏⲣⲥ · ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲉϥⲉⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ · ⲁⲥⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϣⲟ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ
ⲡⲥⲧⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲡⲣⲁⲛ ⲙⲡⲉⲛϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ · ⲉⲩⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲩϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ :·

'Afterwards, behold, blind men came asking for charity. They came walking across the city square and stepped onto the blood of Apa Nahroou. Immediately, they could see. When the inhabitants of the city saw these signs, they brought to him anyone who was paralysed in the city, as well as the crippled, the deaf, the dumb, those who were possessed by unclean spirits, and also the various other ill people. Immediately, when they would touch his blood, they would be healed. This revelation spread through the entire city concerning the healing (miracles) he was performing. Six thousand people believed in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ on that day, calling out, saying: “There is no god except Jesus Christ, the God of Apa Nahroou!”’

The emperor then throws the saint into the sea with a large grind stone around his neck to drown him, but he miraculously returns back to land (K 9512).

K 09512:
[ⲁⲩⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲛⲁⲡⲡⲁⲗ]||ⲗ̣ⲁⲇⲟ[ⲛ ⲉϥ]ⲧⲁⲗⲏⲩ [ⲉϫⲛ ⲡⲱ]ⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲕ̣[ⲉ ⲛ̣ⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩϣⲉ [ⲉϥ]ϣⲟⲩⲱⲟ̣ⲩ :· ⲁⲡⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲡϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲧⲟϭⲛⲉϥ ⲉⲡⲉ̣ⲕⲣⲟ · ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩϫⲟ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲧⲏⲩ ⲧⲱϩⲙ ⲛⲥⲱϥ :·· ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁϥⲉ ⲉⲡⲉⲕⲣⲟ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲧϭⲟⲙ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲟⲟϣⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ ·:·

‘[Those of the] palace [saw him], mounted [on the] grinding stone just as on a (raft of) dry wood. The angel of the Lord pushed him to the shore as if on a sail boat. He came to shore while the power of God was going with him.’

This causes a bystander, a man named Ielariche (ⲉⲗⲁⲣⲓⲭⲉ), to confess and suffer martyrdom by decapitation.
Next the emperor has the saint bound to the tail of a horse to drag him to death (K 9512), but also here Christ will save him.

Put into prison, he performs many more healing miracles. He helps a woman in severe labour pains to deliver a son whom she then names Nahroou after the saint. Also many others were brought to him suffering various illnesses, among them the son of the prison guard who had been possessed by a demon since his youths. (Cairo 8020).

Before fulfilling his martyrdom and being led up to heaven by Michael, the saint is subjected to a contest with a magician and attacks the statue of Apollo (according to the translation and summary of other fragments given by Till).

Text: W. C. Till, KHML I, 3–14. Translation: G. Schenke.

History

Evidence ID

E01716

Saint Name

Nahroou, Egyptian martyr from Pouoeit in the Fayum : S00927 Ielariche, martyred before Apa *Nahroou, the Egyptian martyr from the Fayum : S00928

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲟⲟⲩ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom

Language

Coptic

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

699

Activity not before

305

Activity not after

999

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracles causing conversion Miracle with animals and plants Healing diseases and disabilities Healing diseases and disabilities Bodily incorruptibility Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Crowds Soldiers Other lay individuals/ people Aristocrats

Source

Nine leaves of a former parchment codex are preserved, containing parts of the Martyrdom of Nahrow. Four of these leaves (K 09509–09512) are kept in the Papyrus Collection in Vienna. The parchment’s layout and script suggest a 9th/10th century date for the manuscript, though the original composition will be much earlier. For images of the parchment pages and further information concerning their measurements et al., visit: http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/RZ00002469  http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/RZ00002470 http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/RZ00002471  http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/RZ00002472

Discussion

The epic version of this Martyrdom makes ample use of the tradition of wild animals being pacified by saints. It is difficult to determine the time of its original composition, but a date somewhere in the 6th/7th century seems likely. No other literary sources attest this saint thus far. Likewise, there seems to be currently no documentary evidence testifying to his existence, according to Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001).

Bibliography

Edition with German translation: Till, W., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrerlegenden, vol. I (Orientalia Christiana Analecta 102; Rome, 1935), 3–14.

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