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E03567: Coptic fragments of the Martyrdom of Apa *Isidoros (S01469, son of Pantileon) at Seleukia, relating the saint’s influence over the soldiers, their general, and the eparch of Seleukia to quit their services for Diocletian and die together as martyrs, all 9000 of them on the same day, as well as his power to perform miracles in prison; written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-15, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Apa Isidoros torments Diocletian by influencing officials and regiment to turn against the emperor and by personally mocking him and his imperial gods. As a result, the regiment suffers martyrdom and Isidoros is thrown into prison.

Till, KHML I, p. 203, lines 1–10:

ⲁⲩⲧⲱⲕⲙ ⲛⲛⲉⲩⲥⲏϥⲉ ⲁⲩⲃⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲡⲁⲗⲗⲁⲧⲟⲛ ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉϩⲱⲧⲃ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁϥⲣϩⲟⲧⲉ ⲁϥϯⲁⲡⲱⲫⲁⲥⲥ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩϥⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲁⲡⲉ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲩϫⲓ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲙⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲉⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲓⲁ : ⲁⲩϥⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲁⲡⲉ
ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲩⲙⲉϩ ⲯⲓⲥ ⲛϣⲟ ⲙⲙⲁⲧⲟⲓ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲩⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲩⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ · ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲡⲁⲣⲭⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉⲗⲉⲩⲕⲓⲁ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲁⲩϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ
ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲙⲛⲧⲥⲛⲟⲟⲩⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲃⲟⲧ ⲉⲡⲏⲡ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲣⲏⲛⲏ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ :

‘They drew their swords and went into the palace wishing to kill him and all those with him. He was afraid and passed a verdict against them to let their heads all be taken off. All the saints were taken outside the city, down to a great ravine. They were all decapitated, reaching 9000 soldiers, their general, and the eparch of the city of Seleukia. They completed their martyrdom on day twelve of the month Epiph, in peace. Amen.’

Till, KHML I, p. 204, lines 4–14:

ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲁⲡⲣⲣⲟ ⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩϭⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲉⲥⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉϫⲓⲧϥ ⲉⲡⲉϣⲧⲉⲕⲟ ⲛⲁⲧⲟⲩⲱⲙ · ⲛⲁⲧⲥⲱ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ
ⲉⲣⲉ ⲛϩⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲛϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϣⲧⲉⲕⲟ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲉⲣⲉ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲓⲥ ϫⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲣⲟⲫⲏ ⲙⲡⲛⲓⲕⲟⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲉ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ
ⲟⲩⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϣⲧⲉⲕⲟ ⲉϥⲉⲣⲉ ⲛϩⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛϭⲟⲙ : ⲉⲥ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲁϥⲉ ϣⲁ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉⲥⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ : ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲭⲁⲓⲣⲉ ⲡⲁⲥⲱⲧⲡ ⲉⲥⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲙⲡⲭⲁⲣⲉ : ϫⲣⲟ ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲙ[

‘And at once, the emperor commanded to have Apa Isidoros seized and taken to prison without food or drink. The saint was performing great miracles inside the prison and the Lord Jesus was sending him spiritual food from heaven. After a multitude of days which the saint spent in prison performing great miracles, behold, the Lord Jesus came to saint Isidoros. He said to him: “Greetings my chosen one, Isidoros, at the time of greeting. Be strong at the time of […’ (here the text breaks off)

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML I, 202–205; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Isidoros, Apa Isidoros, martyr of Seleukia, under Diocletian : S01469

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲉⲥⲇⲱⲣⲟⲥ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • 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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracles causing conversion

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Unbaptized Christians Pagans Officials Soldiers


Fourteen pages of a former parchment codex preserving parts of the martyrdom of Apa Isidor belong to the papyrus collections in Naples (Z 150, pages 51–62) and Vienna (K 9539, pages 111/112). Layout and script point to the 9th–11th century as the date for the production of the manuscript.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 1 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935), 202–205.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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