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E03514: Coptic Life and Martyrdom of Panine (Symphronios) from Terot in the area of Hermopolis (Middle Egypt) and Paneu from Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt) (martyrs and monks at Antinoopolis, S01593), tracing their friendship from boyhood to monasticism and martyrdom in Achmim/Panopolis (Upper Egypt), mentioning miraculous healing, visions of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), and the building of a small monastic church; written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-02, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Panine, also called Symphronios, from Terot in the area of Hermopolis, was brought to Antinoopolis to join a school. There he met a local boy named Paneu who was one of his classmates. They became friends and stayed together, when young Symphronios suffered physical abuse in school. Being a particularly bright student, Symphronios had many enemies. One of them dislocated both of Symphronios’ thumbs as punishment for being such a good writer. Symphronios did not complain and three days later, his thumbs were healed as if nothing had ever happened. He returned to school telling his friend Paneu that an angel of the Lord was sent to him who healed his thumbs.

Till, KHML I, p. 59, lines 16–23:

ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲇⲉ ⲥⲩⲙⲫⲣⲟⲛⲓⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲁⲛⲁⲭⲱⲣⲉⲓ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲡⲏⲓ ⲛⲛⲉⲥⲛⲏⲩ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲙⲁⲁⲩ · ⲛϣⲟⲙⲛⲧ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ϩⲙ ⲡⲙⲉϩϥⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ·
ⲁϥϣⲟⲣⲡϥ ⲛϩⲧⲟⲟⲩⲉ ⲁϥⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲡⲏⲓ ⲙⲡⲁⲛⲏⲩ ⲡⲉϥϣⲃⲏⲣ · ⲁϥⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲁⲣⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲁⲛⲍⲏⲃⲉ ϫⲉ
ⲁⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲧⲛⲛⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲧⲁⲗϭⲟⲓ ⲛⲧⲉⲓⲟⲩϣⲏ ⲡⲁⲛⲏⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲁϥⲣϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ

‘Saint Symphronios withdrew into the house of his mother’s brothers for three days. On the fourth day, he got up in the morning and went to the house of his friend Paneu. He called for him saying: “Rise and let us go to school, since the Lord has sent his angel and he has healed me last night.” Paneu was amazed.’

Symphronios, then known as Panine, and Paneu decide to become monks together, and should it become necessary, even suffer martyrdom together. Paneu accompanies his friend Panine back to his home in Terot at Hermopolis and tells his parents of his desire. They agree for him to become a monk, hoping that in this way he would avoid martyrdom.

While the people of Terot wished for them to be ordained by the bishop as priest (Panine) and deacon (Paneu), the pair decided instead to retreat into the desert to join three well-known ascetics: Timotheos, Theophilos, and Christodoros in the desert of Kalamon. The archangel Michael appears to them on their way and leads them there.

After Panine and Paneu lived like them as monks for eight months, Theophilos sends them further south to Schmin (Achmim/Panopolis) and Psoi. At Psoi they found Apa John building a small church and helped him finish it.

Till, KHML I, p. 61, lines 21–29:

ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲁ ⲁⲡⲧⲉⲗⲓⲟⲥ ⲥⲛⲁⲩ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲛⲓⲛⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲛⲏⲩ ⲙⲟⲟϣⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲩⲉⲣⲏⲩ ϣⲁⲛⲧⲟⲩⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲧⲟϣ ⲙⲡⲥⲟⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲩⲉⲓ ⲉⲩⲧⲟⲟⲩ
ⲉϣⲁⲩⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲉⲃⲱⲧ · ⲁⲩϭⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉⲗⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ϫⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ · ⲛⲧⲟϥ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲉϥⲣϩⲱⲃ ⲉⲩⲕⲟⲩⲓ
ⲛⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲉϥⲕⲱⲧ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲩⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲉϥϣⲡ ϩⲓⲥⲉ ⲉϥⲣϩⲱⲃ ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲃⲱⲕ ϩⲁϩⲧⲏϥ ⲁⲩⲣϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ
ϣⲁⲛⲧⲟⲩϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ·

‘After these things, the two perfect ones, Panine and Paneu, walked with each other, until they came to the district of Psoi. They came to a mountain/monastery called the mountain/monastery of Ebot. They found a perfect man of God, Apa John. He was working on a small church, building it. When they saw Apa John having difficulties building the topos, they went up to him. They worked with him, until they completed the small church.’

Panine then is sent to fetch the local bishop Apa Psate to desecrate the church. He ordains Panine as priest, and Paneu as deacon, and makes a prophecy of how their lives are going to end in martyrdom.

First, however, the hegemon Arianos himself will suffer martyrdom in Antiochia at the hands of Diocletain. A new governor will then come to Egypt and search for them and they will suffer martyrdom in Schmin (Akhmim). According to Apa Timotheos of Kalamon, Panine and Paneu will receive four crowns: one for being monks, one for dying away from home, one for being priests, and one for martyrdom. After hearing this, they went into the mountain of Ebot (in the district of Psoi) to live a monastic life in solitude, appearing only once a week to offer communion to the local congregation.

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML I, 55–62; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Panine (Symphronios) and Paneu, martyrs and monks at Antinoopolis : S01593 Michael, the Archangel : S00181 Arianos, hegemon at Antinoopolis, suffers martyrdom in Antiochia at the hands of Diocletain : S01460 Panine (Symphronios) and Paneu, martyr

Saint Name in Source

ⲡⲁⲛⲓⲛⲉ (ⲥⲩⲙⲫⲣⲟⲛⲓⲟⲥ) ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲁⲣⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲛⲏⲩ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom 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 Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antinoopolis Panopolis Hermopolis Psoi

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Antinoopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Panopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Hermopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Psoi Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - bishops Relatives of the saint


Fragments of a parchment codex, located partly in the Bibliotheca Nazionale in Naples (Z 224 and Z 225) and the papyrus collection in Vienna (K 9613, K 9614, and K 9615), preserve the Life and Martyrdom of the two young monks Panine and Paneu. Layout and script point to the 9th–11th century as the date of the manuscript.


This account seems to combine the Life of monks with Martyrdom.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 1 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935), 55–71. Further reading: O'Leary, De L., Saints of Egypt (London: SPCK, 1937). Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity