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E02928: Coptic Sermon On Transgressing the Laws of God by Besa (abbot of the White Monastery near Sohag in Upper Egypt), pronouncing the grief of the saints that will descend on those who commit crime or misbehave, written in the late 5th century.

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posted on 2017-06-05, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Besa, Sermon, ed. Kuhn 26.5.2–3:

ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲁ ⲟⲩⲟ ⲛⲛⲉⲧϫⲓⲟⲩⲉ ϩⲛ ⲗⲁⲁⲩ ⲛϩⲛⲟ ϩⲛ ⲗⲁⲁⲩ ⲙⲙⲁ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲧϫⲓ ⲉⲧϯ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲕⲣⲟϥ ⲙⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲛⲧⲥⲁⲛⲕⲟⲧⲥ ⲉⲙⲡⲟⲩϫⲟⲟⲥ
ⲛϣⲟⲣⲡ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲥⲉⲥϩⲟⲩⲟⲣⲧ ⲛϭⲓ ⲛⲉⲧⲉⲓⲣⲉ ⲛⲛⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲓⲕⲟⲟⲩⲉ ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲟⲩϣⲓⲡⲉ ⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲟⲩⲣϩⲟⲧⲉ ϩⲏⲧⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲥⲁϩⲟⲩ ⲉⲛⲧⲁⲡⲉⲛⲉⲓⲱⲧ
ϫⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛⲉϩⲃⲏⲩⲉ ⲛⲧⲉϩⲉ · ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲁ ⲡⲉⲙⲕⲁϩ ⲛϩⲏⲧ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲛⲛⲉⲛⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲛϫⲟⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲉϥⲉⲉⲓ ⲉϩⲣⲁ
ⲉϫⲱⲟⲩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉϫⲛ ⲧⲥⲟⲟⲩϩⲉ ⲛϫⲱⲟⲩ

‘So woe to those who steal things from anyone anywhere and who buy and sell with deceit and duplicity, not having first reported it. And those who do these and other things are cursed, because they were not ashamed and did not fear the curses which our father pronounced concerning such things. Therefore all the grief of our fathers and of all the saints and of our Lord Jesus shall come upon them and upon their pate.’

Text and translation: Kuhn 1956, p. 76–77 (text), p. 74 (trans.).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • 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)

Sohag Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work


Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic


The discourses and letters of Besa come from nine different parchment codices found in the library of the White Monastery, dating to the 7th/8th and 8th/9th centuries.


Edition: Kuhn, K.H., Letters and Sermons of Besa, CSCO vol. 157 (text) and CSCO vol. 158 (trans.) (Leuven, 1956). Discussion: Behlmer, H., Heilige Schriften als Waffe der Rhetorik. Autoritative Texte und ihre literarische Verarbeitung im Werk des ägyptischen Klostervorstehers Besa (in preparation).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity