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E03535: Coptic Martyrdom of Apa *Timotheos and his daughter *Martyria (S01462) most likely taking place at Hermopolis/Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt), relating the horrific tortures they endured under the hegemon Arianos and the miraculous appearances of the archangels *Michael (S00181) and *Gabriel (S00192) to rescue them repeatedly. Their martyrdom begins as Paulos, Pausire, and Maria (monastic martyrs under Arianos at Antinoopolis/Hermopolis, S01847) are sentenced to death; presumably written in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-06, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Martyrdom of Apa Timotheus and his daughter Martyria

The fragments surviving of this once very long and ‘epic’ martyrdom begin with the two protagonists setting out to complete their martyrdom.

Apa Timotheos a native of the city of Antioch was exiled to Egypt under Diocletian and had spent seven years living a pious life in Herakleopolis (Middle Egypt). He then had a vision of the archangel Gabriel who instructed him to seek martyrdom at Hermopolis together with his young daughter Martyria.

That vision of Gabriel seems to have occurred at a monastery where Timotheos presumably visited the two monks Paul and Pousire whose martyrdom he comes to witness at the habour of Kleopatris on the outskirts of Hermopolis, just as announced by the archangel.

Apa Timothy and Martyria leave Herakleopolis bidding their wife and mother Makaria farewell and travelling south to Antinoopolis by boat.

Paris BnF 12916 folio 7v b, lines 3–13:

ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲩⲡⲱϩ ⲉⲧⲙⲣⲱ ⲛⲕⲗⲉⲱⲡⲁⲧⲣⲓⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲛϫⲡϣⲟⲙⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ :–– ⲧⲟⲧⲉ ⲁϥϭⲱϣⲧ ⲉⲡⲟⲩⲉ ⲁϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲙⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ
ⲉϥⲥⲟⲟⲩϩ ϩⲓϫⲛ ⲧⲙⲣⲱ ⲉⲛ<ⲉ>ϥϯ ⲛϩⲧⲏϥ ⲉⲡϣ[ⲁ]ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲅⲁⲃⲣⲓⲏⲗ ϫ[ⲟⲟϥ] ⲛⲁϥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧ[ⲙⲙⲁ]ⲩ̣

‘When they reached the harbor of Kleopatris at the time of the third hour of the day, he then looked ahead at the distance and saw a large crowd gathered by the harbor, having paid attention to the word which Gabriel spoke to him at that monastery.’

Paris BnF 12916 folio 7v b, line 23–folio 8r a, line 19:

ⲧⲟⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲉⲉⲃ ⲁϥⲙⲟⲟⲛⲉ ⲙⲡϫⲟⲓ ⲉⲡⲕⲣⲟ ⲁϥⲃⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϥⲡⲏⲧ ⲙⲛ ⲧϥϣⲉⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲁ ⲉⲩⲛⲁⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲩⲙⲁ ⲛϣⲉⲗⲉⲉⲧ ⲁϥⲡⲱϩ
ⲉⲫⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲁϥϩⲉ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲉϥϯⲁⲡⲟⲫⲁⲥⲓⲥ ⲉⲥⲟⲛ ⲥⲛⲁⲩ ·–– ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲁⲩⲥⲓⲣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲉⲩⲥⲱⲛⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭⲏ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲣⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ
ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲑⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡ̣ⲁ̣ⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ϫⲟⲟⲥ ⲛⲁϥ
ⲁϥ̣[ⲙ]ⲟ̣ⲟϣⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲧϥϣ[ⲉ]ⲉⲣⲉ [ⲉϥⲁ]ⲙ̣ⲁϩⲧⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲥϭⲓϫ ⲁ[ϥⲡⲱ]ϩ ϩⲓⲑⲏ ⲙⲫⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱ ⲁϥ̣[ⲱϣ ⲉ]ⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲁⲥⲡⲉ [ⲛϩⲉⲗⲗ]ⲏⲛⲓⲕⲏ ϫ[ⲉ ⲁⲛⲟ]ⲕ
ϩⲱⲱⲧ ⲁⲛⲅ ⲟⲩ[ⲭⲣ]ⲓ̣ⲥ̣ϯⲁⲛⲟⲥ·––

‘When the sailor moored the boat to the bank, he went off hastening with his daughter as one, so that they would go to a bridal chamber. He reached the governor (hegemon) and found him sentencing two brothers, Paul and Pausire, and their monastic sister whose name was Maria, just as the angel had told him.
He proceeded with his daughter, clutching her hand and approached the governor. He proclaimed in the Greek language: “I too am a Christian!”’

The governor then inquires who they are and demands that Apa Timotheos sacrifices to Zeus and Apollo. Timotheos opposes this and offers a glimpse of his background.

Paris BnF 12916 folio 8v b, line 8–folio 9r a, line 3:

ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲇⲓⲙⲟⲑⲉⲟⲥ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲁⲓⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲛⲓϣⲁϫⲉ ⲛⲃⲟⲧⲉ ⲛⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲣⲣ̣ⲟ̣ ⲛⲁⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲓⲛ[ⲉⲓ] ϩⲛ ⲧⲁⲛⲇⲓⲟⲭⲓⲁ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲛⲧⲁϥⲉⲝⲱⲣ̣[ⲓⲍⲉ] ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲉⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧ[ⲣⲁⲉⲣ]ⲡⲓϩⲱⲃ· ––– ⲉⲓⲥ ⲥⲁϣⲃⲉ ⲛ[ⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ] ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ ϩⲙ [ⲡⲧⲟϣ] ⲛϩⲛⲏⲥ ⲉⲓϣⲙϣ[ⲉ ⲙ]ⲡⲁϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲓⲥ
ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲡⲉⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲁⲛⲓⲃⲉ ϩⲛ ⲛϥϭⲓϫ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡϥⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲕⲁⲑⲟⲥ ⲡⲛⲧⲁϥⲧⲛⲛⲟⲟⲩⲧ ϣⲁⲣⲟⲕ ⲱ ⲡⲁⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲣⲁϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲁⲁⲅⲱ ⲙⲛ
ⲧⲁⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛϣⲉⲉⲣⲉ

‘Apa Timotheos answered and said: “I have heard these hateful words from the lawless emperor since [I] was in Antioch. He exiled me here to let me fulfil this deed. Behold, for seven [years] I am living now in the [district] of Hnes (Herakleopolis), worshipping my Lord Jesus Christ in whose hands my breath lies. It is his good angel who has sent me to you, lawless one, to let me complete my combat together with my young daughter.”’

The young daughter then behaves rather unexpectedly. After father and daughter were bound together, the governor sentenced the two brothers Paul and Pausire to be beheaded on that day and ordered Apa Timotheos and his daughter to be brought to Hermopolis for further trial.

At Hermopolis he demanded a small libation so that he could set them free explaining that he felt pity for Timotheos and his extraordinarily beautiful daughter whose face he would not wish to destroy. That comment enraged young Martyria. She picked up sand from the ground and threw it into the governor’s face, insulting him and demanding that he speeds up his trial so that they can complete their mission and join the heavenly feast.

This enraged the governor who then ordered severe tortures for father and daughter. The governor’s brutality in turn enraged a converted magician named Astratole who curses the governor, most likely inflicting a condition onto him that could only be cured with the help of Christ.

(Text: S. Uljas; trans. G. Schenke)

One of the tortures seems to be burning alive. Timotheos is praying whilst the fire rages around them, and in response, the archangel Gabriel appears snuffing the flames. Gabriel sends them back to the governor/hegemon to demonstrate the power of God, promising that he will be with them throughout their contest to watch over their holy bodies.

Till, KHML I, p. 112, line 18–p. 113, line 6:

ⲛⲁⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲓⲥ ⲅⲁⲃⲣⲓⲏⲗ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲉⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲉ ⲁϥⲧⲣⲉ ⲡⲕⲱϩⲧ ⲱϣⲙ ϩⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲁϥϯ ⲧⲟⲟⲧⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ
ⲁϥⲉⲛⲧⲟⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲩ ·· ϫⲉ ⲃⲱⲕ ⲧⲉⲛⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲧⲛⲥⲟⲟϩⲉ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲧⲁⲣϥⲉⲓⲙⲉ ϫⲉ ⲧϭⲟⲙ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϫⲟⲟⲣ ⲉϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲓⲙ ··
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲓⲥ ϩⲏⲏⲧⲉ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ ⲛⲙⲙⲏⲧⲛ ϣⲁⲛⲧⲉⲧⲛ[ϫ]ⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉⲧⲛ[ⲇ]ⲣⲟⲙⲟⲥ · ⲙⲉⲕ[ϩ] ⲧⲏⲩⲧⲛ ⲱ ⲙⲙⲉ[ⲣⲁⲧⲉ] ⲙⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲕ[ⲁⲛ ⲟⲩ]ⲏⲣ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲉ · ϣ[ⲁⲛ]ⲧ[ⲉⲧⲛ]ϫⲱⲕ [ⲉⲃⲟⲗ] ⲙⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲅⲱⲛ ϯⲛⲏⲩ ⲟⲛ · ⲧⲁϭⲉⲛ ⲡⲉⲧⲛϣⲓⲛⲉ · ⲧⲁⲥⲕⲉⲡⲁⲍⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲛⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲧⲁⲣⲟⲉⲓⲥ
ⲉⲛⲉⲧⲛⲥⲱⲙⲁ ϫⲛⲛⲉⲟⲩⲃⲱ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲟⲩⲱϣϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛϩⲏⲧ ⲧⲏⲩⲧⲛ ··

‘As he was saying these things, behold, Gabriel, the archangel, came forth from the heaven and let the fire extinguish under them. He helped the saints and brought them up. He said to them: “Go now and reprove this lawless one, so that he understands that the power of God is stronger than anything. Behold, I am with you, until you complete your course. Suffer, beloved ones of God, even if the days are numerous, until you complete your contest. I am coming again and I visit you and protect your souls and watch over your bodies, so that not a single hair will be crushed on you.”’

The saints then go and find the hegemon Arianos, who is busy prosecuting and convicting another Christian family: Apa Sarapamon, his wife and their young son who suffer their martyrdom. When the hegemon sees Timotheos and his daughter well and alive, he is extremely irritated. He rounds up all Christians and demands that Timotheos sacrifices incense on the altar. After he refuses, more brutal tortures follow. Timotheos prays again and this time, thunder and lighting frighten the hegemon with his entourage, as the altars are burnt down. This time, Michael and Gabriel are coming down with the army of angels singing in front of Christ himself who assures Timotheos that he is near him and taking care of him at all times.

Till, KHML I, p. 115, lines 6–14:

ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲩⲉⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲉ ⲛϭⲓ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲙⲛ ⲅⲁⲃⲣⲓⲏⲗ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲇⲓⲁ ⲧⲏⲣⲥ ⲛⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲩϩⲏⲙⲛⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲡⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣ
ⲛⲧⲁϥⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩϫⲛ ⲛⲕⲗⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉϣⲟⲩⲉ ·· ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲇⲓⲙⲟⲑⲉⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ϩⲏⲡⲟⲙⲏ ⲙⲡⲉⲣⲉⲣ ϩⲟⲧⲉ ·· ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲉ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉϯⲣⲉ
ⲛⲛⲓϭⲟⲙ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ ⲛϯⲛⲁⲕⲁⲁⲕ ⲛⲥⲱⲓ ⲁⲛ ϫⲉ ⲁⲕⲛⲟⲩϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲕⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲉⲣⲟⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ ϩⲛ ⲛⲕⲑⲗⲓⲯⲓⲥ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ·

‘And immediately, Michael and Gabriel came out from heaven. The whole army of angels was singing for the Savior who appeared on the branches of the persea tree. He said to Apa Timotheos: “ Endure and do not be afraid. I am Jesus, the one who performs all these miracles with you. I will not leave you, because you place all your care onto me. I am with you through all your suffering.”’

The saints are released from their tortures and the puzzled hegemon decides to throw them into prison, until he knows what to do with them. His adviser suggests to take the saints away, further south to Assiut (Lykopolis), to prosecute them somewhere else, lest they will cause an uproar in the city.

The saints are then bound and put on camels to be lead away, but all the other saints of the city follow them. They are praying and singing, leaving quite an impression on the hegemon Arianos.

Once they reached the village Phamenoth, everyone was asked again to sacrifice. The village people came forward to do so, but the saints did not. They were thus subjected to more suffering, until a loud thunder was heard and a light shone down from heaven onto the saints, whose suffering stopped immediately and their bodies were completely healed and intact.
(Here the text breaks off.)

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML I, 111–125; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Timotheos and his daughter Martyria, martyrs presumably at Antinoopolis/Hermopolis : S01462 Timotheos and his daughter Martyria, martyrs presumably at Antinoopolis/Hermopolis : S01462 Timotheos and Maura, martyrs in Egypt under Diocletian, ob. c

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲇⲓⲙⲟⲑⲉⲟⲥ ⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲅⲁⲃⲣⲓⲏⲗ ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ, ⲡⲁⲩⲥⲓⲣⲉ, ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ

Type of Evidence

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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hermopolis Antinoopolis Sohag

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

Hermopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Antinoopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Sohag 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 Miracles experienced by the saint Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Officials Torturers/Executioners Crowds Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Angels


Twenty fragmentary pages of a former parchment codex survive in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF Copte 12916, fol. 7–10, pp. 33/34 and 37–42), Moscow, A. S. Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum in Moscow, I.1.b.651 (4776, Goleniscew Copt. 17, p. 59/60), London, British Library (BM 357, p. 61/62) and Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (K 9488, K 9489, K 9490, p. 63–66 and 73/74, and K 2602). Layout and palaeography of the manuscript seem to point to a date of manufacture the 10th century. The fragmentary parchment codex now referred to as MONB. DZ was once part of the library at the so called White Monastery of Shenoute near Sohag in the region of Panopolis. So far this is the only manuscript attesting the martyrdom of Timothy and his daughter Martyria.


De Lacy O’Leary, The Saints of Egypt, London 1937, 275, associates this martyr with Timothy of Memphis (15 January), a former soldier, but makes no mention of Martyria.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. 2 vols. (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935-6), vol. 1, 111–125; vol. 2, 137. Text and English translation of the Paris fragments: Uljas, S., "The Paris Leaves of the Martyrdom of SS Timothy and Martyria," Le Muséon 130:3–4 (2017), 255–277. Text and English translation of the Moscow fragment: Elanskaya, A.I., The Literary Coptic Manuscripts in the A. S. Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum in Moscow, Leiden 1994, 108–114.

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