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E03568: Coptic fragments of the Martyrdom of bishop Apa *Psote (S01468) at Antinoopolis, relating his ascetic life and the care for his congregation; written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-15, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Bishop Psote (Psate in other fragments) leaves his congregation, when all the bishops in the Thebais are summoned to appear at Antinoopolis in front of the governor Arianos. The governor asks him to sacrifice according to the imperial edict, which the bishop refuses to do. Consequently, he is tortured and dies as a martyr.

Bishop Apa Psote is described as following a strict ascetic life style and acting like a physician to those who receive communion from him.

Till, KHML I, p. 207, lines 19–30:

ϩⲛ ⲛⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲁⲩϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲛⲟϭ ⲛϣⲟⲉⲓϫ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲯⲟⲧⲉ ⲡⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲁⲩϩ[ⲉ ⲉⲣ]ⲟϥ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲉ[ϥⲥⲱ]ⲙⲁ ϣⲱⲛ[ⲉ ϩⲓⲧⲙ]
ⲡⲉϩⲟⲩⲟ ⲛ[ⲛⲉϥⲁ]ⲥⲕⲏⲥⲓⲥ ⲙ[ⲛ ⲛ]ⲉϥⲡⲟⲗⲩⲧⲓⲁ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲩⲧⲁⲙⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲁϥⲣ ⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ · ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲧⲉⲓⲁⲧⲁ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡⲉ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲇⲓⲱⲕⲉⲓ
ⲛⲥⲱϥ · ⲗⲟⲓⲡⲟⲛ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲥⲁⲉⲓⲛ ⲉϥⲑⲉⲣⲁⲡⲉⲩⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲡⲗⲩⲅⲏ · ⲛⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲯⲟⲧⲉ ⲑⲉⲣⲁⲡⲉⲩⲉ ⲛⲛⲁ ⲧⲉϥⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲧⲟϣ
ϩⲙ ⲡⲛⲁⲣⲇⲓⲝ ⲉⲧⲙⲉϩ ⲙⲡⲁϩⲣⲉ ⲉⲛⲱⲛϩ · ⲛⲉϣⲁϥⲥⲩⲛⲁⲅⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲩϣⲏ ⲙⲡⲥⲁⲃⲃⲁⲧⲟⲛ ⲛϥⲣⲧⲉⲩϣⲏ ⲛⲧⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲏ ⲉϥⲕⲁⲑⲏⲅⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϥⲥⲩⲛⲁⲅⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲩϣⲏ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲇⲓⲱⲅⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧϩⲓϫⲛ ⲛⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ·

‘In those days, they were looking for the great athlete Apa Psote, the bishop. They found him, his body weak through his excessive asceticism and his way of life. They told him that he was an important person. For this reason then, the governor (hegemon) had not summoned him. Now just as a physician who treats the wound, the blessed Apa Psote was treating those of his city and his district through the casket (νάρθηξ) filled with vital medicine. He would gather them on the night of the Sabbath and would spend the night to Sunday teaching them, and he would gather them at night because of the persecution that had come over the churches.’

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML I, 205–209; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Psote, Apa Psote, bishop in the Thebais : S01468

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲯⲟⲧⲉ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint


  • 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 - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Sixteen pages of at least two parchment codices are known to preserve the life and martyrdom of bishop Apa Psote. The leaves are located in London (BM 347, Clar. Press 55), Naples/Rome (Z 140/Borg. Copt. 109, fasc. 140), Paris (P 12916, fol. 23,24, 26, and 27) and Vienna (K 9502). Layout and script point to the 9th–11th century as the date for the production of these manuscripts.


See also E05399, E05400, and E05401.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 1 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935), 205–209.

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