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E02473: Coptic fragmentary invocation, from Qurnah (Upper Egypt), addressing a saint (perhaps *Andrew, the Apostle, S00288), *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080), and a bishop; datable to the early 7th.

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posted on 2017-03-07, 00:00 authored by gschenke
BKU 2 258

The text seems to be a very basic invocation, giving three addressees, possibly in their order of importance, starting with perhaps with an Apostle, followed by the martyr Apa Phoibammon and then by Apa Abraham, presumably the bishop of Hermonthis. The latter, addressed as 'the orthodox bishop'. was probably still alive and so invoked as a holy man.

The saint mentioned in line 1 could well be Andrew, the Apostle, though other names are possible. One could be the former bishop Apa Ananias mentioned in documents from Jeme, see E00241 and E02463, as well as E02469, in which case there may not be a descending order of importance provided by the list.

The invocation was made by a man named Onophrios (Ouanofre), a camel herdsman, whose specific concerns might well be lost.

ⲟ ⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲛ̣[…]
ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙ[ⲙⲱⲛ]
ⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟ[ⲥ . .]
ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ ⲟⲣⲑⲟ-
ⲇⲟⲝⲟⲩ ⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡ[ⲟⲩ]
ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲟⲩⲁⲛⲟϥ[ⲣⲉ .]
ⲡⲙⲁⲛⲕⲁⲙ[ⲟⲩⲗ . .]

'Saint An[drew?]/An[anias?],
Apa Phoibammon, the martyr,
Apa Abraham, the orthodox bishop.
I am Ouanofre, the camel herdsman …'

(Text: A. Erman and W. E. Crum, trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ananias, bishop in the Theban area : S01224 Phoibammon, soldier and martyr of Assiut (ob. c. 304) : S00080 Abraham, bishop of Hermonthis : S01230 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲛ̣[…] ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙ[ⲙⲱⲛ] ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ ⲁⲛ̣[…]

Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Invocations, prayers and spells Late antique original manuscripts - Ostracon/Pot-sherd


  • 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)

Qurnah Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



This limestone ostracon was found in Qurnah, located roughly north of Jeme, in the Theban area, and is now housed in the papyrus collection in Berlin, P.Berol. inv. 875. The text has been dated to the 7th/8th century on palaeographical grounds, but if it addresses bishop Abraham of Hermonthis as the acting bishop, then it must date from before 624, the year of his death.


Edition: Erman, A., and Crum, W.E., Ägyptische Urkunden aus den koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin, Koptische Urkunden, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1904), 195.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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