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E02446: Fragments of a Coptic Martyrdom of Apa *Herpaese and Julianos (S01242), of unknown Egyptian provenance, datable to the 7th century.

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posted on 2017-03-03, 00:00 authored by gschenke
BKU 3 324

Two papyrus leaves preserving pages 47–50 of a former codex contain the Martyrdom of Apa Herpaese and Julianos, both 4th century martyrs are otherwise entirely unknown. The two men are standing trial under the hegemon Arianos, suffering together and comforting each other.

The fragmentary text begins with Herpaese encouraging Julianos who has been brutally tortured and dismembered, when Gabriel descends to heal Julianos, restore him back to his former self, and encourage him to go on (Lines 14–40).

The bystanders are very impressed and praise the God of Apa Herpaeses and Julianos. As a result, Arianos is furious and orders both men to be locked up in the boiling furnace of the bath where the temple priests cleanse themselves. Christ himself then descends to keep them both safe from destruction, announcing their martyrdom to take place on the next day (Lines 86–113). He greets them both, but then addresses only Herpaese directly, laying out the parameters of Herpaese’s future cult, before greeting both of them farewell.

Lines 113–171 read as follows:

ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲙⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲛⲁⲡⲓⲥⲧⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲡⲁⲣⲁⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧⲕ ⲡⲁⲥⲱⲧⲡ ⲁⲡⲁ ϩⲉⲣⲡⲁⲏⲥⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲭⲁⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲁⲕ ϩⲛ ⲧⲁⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁⲉⲓ ⲉⲣⲁ̣ⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲉⲕⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉⲛ̣ ⲇⲱⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲁⲕ ϩⲙ ⲡⲁⲣⲁ̣ⲛ ⲛⲥⲉϣⲗⲏ̣ⲗ̣ ⲉϩⲣⲁ[] ⲉ̣ⲣ̣[ⲟ]̣ ϩⲙ ⲡ̣ⲉ̣[ⲕ]ⲧ̣ⲟ̣ⲡ̣ⲟⲥ ϩ̣ⲙ̣ [ⲡ]ⲉⲩϩⲏⲧ ⲧⲏ̣[ⲣ]ϥ ⲁϫⲛ ⲇⲓ̣ⲥ̣ⲧ̣ⲁⲍⲉ ϯ ⲛⲁⲭⲁⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲙⲡⲉⲩⲁⲓⲧⲏⲙⲁ ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲕ ⲟⲩⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲟⲕ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛ̣ⲧⲕ ⲟⲩϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁ̣ⲕⲕⲁ ⲡⲉⲕⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲥⲱⲕ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲕϩⲩⲡⲁⲣⲭ̣ⲟⲛⲧⲁ · ⲁⲕϥ̣ⲓ̣ ⲙⲡⲉⲕⲥ⳨ⲟⲥ ⲁⲕ̣ⲟⲩⲁϩⲕ ⲛⲥⲱ ·
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁⲉⲣⲏ̣ⲧ̣ ⲛⲟⲩⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲉ̣ⲡ̣[ⲉⲕ]ⲧ̣ⲟ̣ⲡ̣ⲟ̣ⲥ̣ ⲛ̣ϥ̣ⲱ̣ⲥ̣ⲕ̣ ⲉⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲏ [ⲛ]ⲥⲉⲃⲉϭ̣ ⲡⲁⲙ̣[ⲁ] ⲉⲧ̣ⲟⲩⲁ̣ⲁⲃ [ⲙ]ⲡ̣ⲉϥⲉ̣ⲣⲏⲧ · [ⲏ] ⲛⲥⲉⲱⲣⲕ ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲁ ⲛⲛⲟⲩϫ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲕⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ · ϯⲛⲁϫⲓ ⲕⲃⲁ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩϭⲉⲡⲏ̣ · ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁⲕϯ ⲡⲉⲕϩⲏⲧ ⲛⲁ ϫⲓⲛ ⲧⲉⲕⲙⲛⲧⲕⲟⲩ ⲉⲕⲙⲓϣⲉ ⲉϩⲣⲁ ⲉϫⲛ ⲧⲁⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ

‘A large crowd will believe in my name through you, my chosen one, Apa Herpaese, and I will grant them grace in my kingdom for your sake.
Anyone who will come to your shrine (topos) and will bring a present for you in my name, and will pray to me at your shrine with all their heart and without hesitation, I will grant them their wish, since you indeed are a virgin. You are an only son and you have left your father and your possessions behind. You have taken up your cross and have followed me.
And anyone who will swear an oath at your shrine and will delay to fulfil it, and who will rob my holy place of its wow, or will swear a false oath at your shrine, I will indeed take vengeance upon them swiftly, because you have given your heart to me from your childhood onwards, fighting for my church.’

(Text and German trans. H. Satzinger, Engl. trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Herpaeses and Julianos, martyrs under Arianos : S01242 Herpaeses and Julianos, martyrs under Arianos : S01242

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ϩⲉⲣⲡⲁⲏⲥⲉ ⲉⲟⲩⲗⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus 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 name in other Language(s)

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracles experienced by the saint Power over life and death Changing abilities and properties of the body

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



The two fragmentary papyrus leaves are housed at the papyrus collection in Berlin, P.Berol. inv. 22112,1.2. The text of the manuscript has been dated on palaeographical grounds, though the original composition is believed to date back to the 5th/6th century.


Neither of these two martyrs seem to be mentioned elsewhere in the Coptic hagiographic tradition and are not found in the Copto-Arabic synaxarion. According to Orlandi, the original composition could date to the 5th/6th century, but seems to have remained a local product only. Whether these two men set out to suffer martyrdom together and are therefore to be considered a proper pair, remains unknown. They might just join at this particular part of the story. The fact that Christ addresses only Apa Herpaese when laying out the parameters his future cult, suggests that he is the main martyr, while Julianos joins him later as a 'side martyr'. Christ's reference to Herpaese's virginity and devote childhood also suggests that an encomion of Apa Herpaese was known relating the saints life story from his birth to the miracles performed at his shrine.


Edition: Satzinger, H., Koptische Urkunden III, Ägyptische Urkunden aus den Staatlichen Museen Berlin (Berlin, 1968), 12–18. Discussion: Baumeister, T., Martyr invictus. Der Märtyrer als Sinnbild der Erlösung in der Legende und im Kult der frühen koptischen Kirche (Münster, 1972), 115. Orlandi, T., "Herpaese and Julianus, saints," in: Coptic Encyclopedia 4, 1991, 1225–1226.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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