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E01843: Fragment of a Coptic Martyrdom of *Kephalon (S00932), a young man, tried by Clodius Culcianus, prefect of Egypt under Diocletian, composed most likely during the 5th–6th century.

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posted on 2016-09-12, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Chester Beatty 2022

The papyrus leaf is far too fragmentary to offer any continuous text, but Kephalon, still a youth, seems to have caused quite a stir. A baptism is mentioned which might have been the result of a miracle performed through the saint who is then imprisoned. Another miracle seems to have prevented a ship from moving.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kephalon, martyr in Egypt, ob. 304–311 : S00932

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom



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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Other specified miracle


This fragmentary papyrus page once formed part of a codex. The preserved fragment measures 13 x 33 cm. The text was written in two columns originally of about 28/29 lines each. The manuscript has been dated by its letter forms to the 6th/7th century.


This is the only attestation of a martyr named Kephalon who had been until recently completely unknown. His prosecutor, Clodius Culcianus, by contrast, features widely in Coptic martyrdom accounts.


Pietersma, A., and Turner Comstock, S., "Cephalon, A New Coptic Martyr," in: G.E. Kadish and G.E. Freeman (eds.), Studies in Philology in Honour of Ronald James Williams (Toronto: The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, 1982), 113–126.

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