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E01862: Coptic Encomion on *Viktor (son of Romanos, Egyptian martyr, S00749), attributed to Theopempus of Antioch, relating stories from the saint's childhood to his martyrdom in Egypt, in the district of Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt), as well as two miracles connected to his cult in Antioch. Composition believed to date from 6th/7th century; the manuscript is dated to 14 February AD 861.

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posted on 2016-09-20, 00:00 authored by Bryan
M591, folia 34v–49v:

ⲟⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲉ(ⲛ)ⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲓⲱⲧ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲥⲙⲟⲧ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲑⲉⲟⲡⲉⲙⲡⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲛⲧⲓⲟⲭⲓⲁ
ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲣⲣⲟ ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲉⲁϥϫⲉ ϩⲉⲛⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲛⲉⲣⲅⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ϫⲓⲛ ⲧⲉϥⲙⲛⲧⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲉϥϩⲙ ⲡⲯⲓⲧⲉ ⲛⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲏⲓ ⲛⲛⲉϥⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ϩⲛ ⲧⲁⲛⲇⲓⲟⲭⲓⲁ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲛ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ ⲧⲣⲉ ⲡⲣⲣⲟ ⲛⲁⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲇⲓⲟⲕⲗⲏⲧⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲉⲝⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲧⲟⲓ ⲛϫⲱⲱⲣⲉ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲛϥⲧⲛⲛⲟⲟⲩϥ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲉⲕⲏⲙⲉ ⲟⲩⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲙⲛ ϩⲉⲛϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲉⲛⲁϣⲱⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲛⲉⲣⲅⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ ⲧⲣⲉϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ
ⲟⲩⲙⲛⲧⲅⲉⲛⲛⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲁⲅⲱⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛϥϫⲓ ⲙⲡⲉⲕⲗⲟⲙ ⲙⲡⲱⲛϩ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘An encomium which our holy and in every way honored father Theopempus, archbishop of the city of Antioch, delivered about the martyr of Christ, Apa Viktor, the general of Christ, the great king, while also saying a few things concerning the miracles and wonders which God worked through him from his youth at the age of nine in his parents' house in Antioch. And also after the lawless emperor Diocletian banished the valiant soldier, saint Apa Viktor and sent him down to Egypt. Again a multitude of healings and numerous wonders God worked through him, after he completed his holy contest in a noble manner and received the crown of life. In God’s peace. Amen.’

The encomion starts relating the childhood of Viktor as an only and very much beloved child of Romanos and Martha, members of the nobility and close acquaintances of the emperor Diocletian.

Young Viktor became a witness to the persecution of *Cosmas and Damian together with their three brothers and their mother *Theodote. Theodote encouraging her five sons to embrace martyrdom for Christ was the first to suffer martyrdom herself by being cut into pieces and her remains thrown out on a rubbish heap. The emperor gave orders for no one to be allowed to touch the martyr’s remains or bury them.

Young Viktor at the age of 10 walking home from school with his friends passed the limbs of the martyred Theodote and immediately ordered servants to gather them up for proper burial. When the servants arrived they were afraid to follow his orders, as it was forbidden. They tried to reason with young Viktor on account of his parents, but Viktor remained firm in his order:

ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲟⲛ ϫⲉ ⲁⲓϫⲟⲟⲥ ⲛⲏⲧⲛ ⲛⲕⲉⲥⲟⲡ ϫⲉ ⲱⲗ ⲛⲛⲕⲉⲉⲥ ⲡⲉⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲛⲏϫ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲩⲱⲗ ⲛⲙⲙⲉⲗⲟⲥ
ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲑⲁⲅⲓⲁ ⲑⲉⲱⲇⲟⲧⲏ ⲧⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲁⲩⲥⲕⲩⲡⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲣⲉⲩϫⲓⲧⲟⲩ ⲁⲩϩⲟⲡⲟⲩ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲁ ⲉⲛⲁⲛⲟⲩϥ ⲉϥⲉⲣ
ⲁⲛⲁϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉϥⲉⲍⲉⲭⲁⲍⲉ ⲉⲙⲁⲧⲉ

‘He said to them: “I have told you before, pick up the bones of this martyr which are cast out!” At once, they gathered the holy limbs of saint Theodote, the martyr of Christ. They covered them, and when he (Vikor) had them take them, they hid them in a good place, which was pleasing to him and very quiet.’

One of Viktor’s classmates, however, reported this to his father, who in turn reported it to the emperor Diocletian. Viktor’s father Romanos then hid his son to protect him from the emperor’s wrath. Instead, the two servants were brought who had taken the martyr’s limbs for Viktor and were severely beaten. When Viktor heard about this, he came out of hiding and confessed what he had ordered his servants to do. The emperor then ordered Viktor to be beaten with olive branches, proclaiming that he only spared him from decapitation for the sake of his father Romanos. At this moment a great miracle occurred:

ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲁⲥϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲉⲓⲥ ⲟⲩϩⲓⲱⲙⲉ ⲛϭⲓϫ ⲁⲥϩⲱⲃⲥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉϫⲙ ⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲙⲡⲉ ⲛⲕⲁ ⲛⲥⲏϣⲉ ⲏ
ⲗⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲃⲁⲥⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲉϫⲱϩ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲉⲡⲧⲏⲣϥ

‘A great wonder occurred at that moment. Behold, the palm of a hand covered the body of Apa Viktor. Blows did not touch him at all, nor any tortures.’

At that moment, Christ revealed himself to the saint and announced his future martyrdom. The emperor witnessing this miracle was struck with fear and released young Viktor who returned home and glorified God.

When his parents celebrated Viktor’s birthday, the emperor was also invited, but seeing the beauty and riches of this young boy, he was struck with jealousy.

At the age of about twelve, young Viktor rose in the night to pray, and the Saviour appeared to him in the form of a boy of his own age, announcing that he has added him to the number of martyrs and prophets and saints, because of his conduct helping the sick, the poor and those in prison.

The outlook is phrased as follows:
ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲕⲱ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲉⲓ ⲉⲛⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁⲕⲱⲧ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁ(ⲛ) ϩⲙ ⲙⲁ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲧⲣⲉ
ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲡⲓⲑⲩⲙⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁⲛ ⲛⲥⲉⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲛⲉⲩϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲧⲣⲉ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁⲛ ⲣⲥⲁⲉⲓⲧ ϩⲙ ⲙⲁ ⲛⲓⲙ ϫⲉ ⲡⲛⲟϭ ϩⲛ ⲛⲉⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ϯⲣⲏⲛⲏ
ⲙⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ ⲉⲥⲉϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ

‘I shall set a crowd of angels serving the shrines which will be built in your name everywhere. I will have people desire your name and give it to their children. I will let your name be famous everywhere so that the peace of my good Father may be with you, great one among the martyrs.’

Soon after that, Diocletian banished young Viktor from Antioch and sent him down to Egypt for punishment, because he had refused to sacrifice to the imperial gods. Viktor was taken to Alexandria in chains and tortured by the governor of Alexandria. He was cast in the oven of the local bath, but remained untouched by the flames.
The governor of Alexandria then sent him on to castron Hierakion in the district of the city of Antinoe/Antinoopolis where he fulfilled his martyrdom on day 27 of the month of Pharmouthi (22 April).

The records of his trial were sent to Antioch to inform Diocletian and Romanos. Both men continued their acquaintance and dined together. Romanos was about to hand over a former garment of his son Viktor to Diocletian, when the garment changed shape and turned into an eagle which flew away. The saint appeared in a cloud of light scolding and cursing both men.

The archbishop offers to then give an account of the wonders and healing miracles that occurred in the sanctuaries built for saint Viktor in every region in accordance with the promises made by the Saviour.

The first miracle concerns an aged presbyter of the local sanctuary (in Antioch) who after many years of service falls ill and beseeches the saint for his intercession to help him reach the kingdom of God.

The second miracle concerns a pious local Christian named Martenianus, a childhood friend of Apa Viktor who travelled to Egypt to learn of and copy the records of his trial and how he was martyred in castron Hierakion in the district of Antinoe.

ⲗⲟⲓⲡⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲛⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ϩⲉ ⲉⲛⲉϥϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲛⲏⲙⲁ ⲁϥⲣⲁϣⲉ ⲉⲙⲁⲧⲉ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲛⲧⲁϥϩⲉ ⲉⲩⲁϩⲟ ⲛⲭⲣⲏⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲉⲓϩⲉ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲁϥⲥϩⲁⲓ
ⲛⲛϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲛⲏⲙⲁ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲁϥⲁⲗⲉ ⲉⲑⲁⲗⲁⲥⲥⲁ ⲁϥⲉⲓ ⲉⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲁⲛⲇⲓⲟⲭⲓⲁ ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲧⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲥⲓⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁϥϩⲟⲡⲟⲩ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲏⲓ
ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉⲧⲁϩⲟ ⲡⲥⲁ ⲛⲧⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲛⲕⲉⲥⲟⲡ ⲁⲛⲛⲁⲡⲁⲅⲅⲓⲗⲉ ⲉⲩⲥⲩⲅⲣⲁⲫⲉⲟⲥ ⲁⲛⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ
ⲛϣⲟⲣⲡ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ ⲛⲉϥϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲛⲏⲙⲁ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ ⲟⲛ ϩⲉⲛⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲛⲉϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲁⲁⲩ ⲙⲡⲁⲧⲟⲩⲉⲝⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉⲕⲏⲙⲉ

‘So, when Martenianus found his records, he rejoiced greatly, as one who had found a storehouse of money. Thus he wrote down saint Viktor’s records. He crossed the sea and came to the city of Antioch through the command of God. He hid them in his house. When God then wished to re-establish the beauty of the church, we told a scribe. We wrote his martyrdom first, and afterwards his records, then also a few from the miracles which he had done before he was banished to Egypt.’

When Martenianus fell ill, Apa Viktor appeared to him, assuring him of his protection after death due to his loyal service over his records.

ⲁⲕⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲛⲁϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲛⲏⲙⲁ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲕⲡⲉⲧⲉ ⲡⲱⲓ ϩⲁ ⲑⲏ ⲙⲡⲟⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲭⲁⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲕ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲓⲥ ⲕⲉⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲥⲛⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲉⲣⲉ ⲧⲉⲕⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛⲁϭⲱ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲓ ϩⲙ ⲡⲏⲓ ⲛⲧⲙⲛⲧⲁⲧⲙⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲟⲕ ⲙⲁⲩⲁⲕ ⲁ(ⲛ) ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁⲕⲱⲧ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲛ ⲏ
ⲛϥ<ⲥ>ϩⲁⲓ ⲙⲡϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲛⲁϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲛⲏⲙⲁ ϯⲛⲁⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲙⲡⲉⲩⲣⲁⲛ ⲉⲡϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ ⲙⲡⲱⲛϩ ⲛⲥⲉϭⲱ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲓ ϩⲙ ⲡⲏⲓ ⲛⲁⲧⲙⲟⲩⲛⲅ ⲛϭⲓϫ

‘You have written my records, and because you were mine before today, Christ has granted you to me. Two more years your soul will stay with me in the house of immortality, not only you but everyone who will build a sanctuary in my name or write the book of my records. I shall write their name in the book of life and they will remain with me in the house that is not made with hands.’

Martenianus assured everyone present that Apa Viktor was sitting before him wearing illustrious gold, when he gave up his spirit and those around him watched the martyr of Christ, Apa Viktor holding his friend’s hand and leading him up and away.

The archbishop closes his encomion with the prayer for the congregation for the intercession of the martyr.

Text and translation: A.B. Scott, slightly modified by G. Schenke.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, Egyptian martyr, ob. 303–311 : S00749

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex


  • 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)

Hamouli Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Theopempus of Antioch

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Assumption/otherworldly journey

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Pagans Monarchs and their family Aristocrats


M591, folia 34v–49v, forms part of a parchment codex found together with many other codices at the site of the monastery of St Michael near Hamuli in the Fayum. Today, these codices are housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Codex M591 also contains other hagiographic texts on famous martyr saints. Besides the encomion on Theodore Stratelates, one finds texts on Kollouthos of Antinoe, an encomion (E00666) and martyrdom (E00664), Theodore Stratelates (E01901), as well as Paese and Thekla (E01225). Codex M591 is dated securely by its colophon, stating the day of the scribal work as 14 February AD 861.


Text and Translation: A.B. Scott, "Encomium on St. Victor (M591, ff. 34v–49v), attributed to Theopempus of Antioch," in: L. Depuydt (ed.), Encomiastica from the Pierpont Morgan Library: Five Coptic Homilies Attributed to Anastasius of Euchaita, Epiphanius of Salamis, Isaac of Antinoe, Severian of Gabala, and Theopempus of Antioch, CSCO 544: Copt. 47, pp. 133–152 (text) and CSCO 545: Copt. 48, pp. 103–118 (translation) (Louvain, 1993).

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