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E03583: Coptic fragments of the Martyrdom of Apa *Ptolemaios (monk and martyr, S01473) near Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt), relating his noble decent, his desire to become an anchorite, and the events at this trial under Arianos, where he heals and converts one of the torturers; written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Horion, Martyrdom of Apa Ptolemaios / Pteleme

Ptolemaios/Pteleme, the young son of Nestorios, the councillor (politeuomenos) of Dendera (Upper Egypt), meets the anchorite Apa *Papnute and wants to live with him in the desert. Papnute sends him to Apa Dorotheos at Antinoopolis instead. At Antinoopolis, Pteleme publicly declares himself a Christian and is arrested. He refuses to eat or drink while arrested, but spends his time praying instead. He has a vision of Apa Papnute and Apa Dorotheos with Christ in their midst visiting him. They encourage him to remain strong.

Apa Pteleme, aged 18 and 4 months, is then brought in front of the governor Arianos for trail, but refuses to sacrifice to the imperial gods and mocks them. The governor admires his youth and beauty and trying in vain to tempt him into sacrificing and living a good life.

The governor lets a range of tortures be tried on him, and eventually his brutally bruised body is returned to prison. There he prays and appears in front of the governor fully restored in health and beauty the next morning. More tortures and nights in prison follow with the saint staying strong.

One of the torturers named Dionysios only had one eye. While the saint was put in a pot with boiling water, he called the torturer towards him and offered him some of the water from the cauldron. The torturer was afraid to touch it, but the saint told him to put it on his eyes. When he did, it was cooling. He washed his face with it and his eyesight was healed.

Till, KHML 2, p. 36, line 24–p. 37, line 7:

ⲇⲱⲛⲏⲥⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲡⲁⲕⲉⲥⲧⲱⲛⲁⲣⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲉⲁ ⲡⲉϥϩⲟ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲣⲁϩⲧⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲕⲉⲃⲁⲗ ⲁϥⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲛ
ⲡⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲧⲉⲗⲉⲙⲏ · ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ⲓⲥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲛ ⲕⲉⲟⲩⲁ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲧⲟϥ :·· ⲇⲱⲛⲏⲥⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲡⲁⲕⲉⲥⲧⲱⲛⲁⲣⲟⲥ
ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲧϭⲟⲙ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ · ⲁⲡⲉⲡⲛⲁ ⲙⲁϩϥ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ · ⲁϥⲕⲁⲁϥ ⲕⲁϩⲏⲩ ⲛⲛⲉϥϩⲟⲧⲉ · ⲁϥⲃⲟϭϥ ⲉⲧⲣⲁϩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲧⲙ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ
ⲡⲧⲉⲗⲉⲙⲏ ⲁϥⲱϣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉϥϫⲱⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ · ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲭⲣⲏⲥⲧⲁⲛⲟⲥ :

‘Dionysios, the questionarius, washed his face in the cauldron. At once, he saw with his other eye. He called out together with the whole crowd: “On is the God of Apa Pteleme, Jesus Christ! There is no other except for him!”
The spirit filled Dionysios, the questionarius, immediately, due to the miracle which he had seen. He took off his garments and jumped into the cauldron with the blessed Apa Pteleme. He called out saying: “”One is the God of the Christians!”’

When the governor was informed of the events, the torturer Dionysios was questioned. He remained firm and was martyred.

After Pteleme died, the local people buried his body. Horion, a young monk, claims to be the author of the martyrdom narrative.

Till, KHML 2, p. 37, line 23–p. 38, line 8:

[ⲛ]ⲧⲉⲣⲉϥϫⲉ ⲛⲁ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲧⲉⲗⲉⲙⲏ [ⲁ]ϥⲗⲟ ⲉϥ[ϣⲁ]ϫⲉ · ⲁⲡ[ⲙⲏ]ⲏϣⲉ ⲙⲡ[ⲡⲁⲗⲗⲁⲧⲟⲛ?
ⲛ]ⲧⲱϩⲉ ⲛⲛⲉϩⲧⲱⲱⲣ ⲁⲩϥⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ · ⲁⲩⲧⲱⲙⲥ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲛ ⲟⲩⲧⲁⲉⲟ ·:·
ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲉ ϩⲱⲣⲟⲛ ⲡⲕⲟⲩ[ⲓ ⲛ]ⲥⲱⲛ · ⲁⲓ[ⲥ]ϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲛⲉϩⲓⲥⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡⲙⲁⲕ[ⲁ]ⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲧ[ⲉ]ⲗⲉⲙⲏ ϣⲟⲡ[ⲟⲩ] ⲉⲩⲛⲟⲃⲣⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲟⲩϩⲏⲩ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲛ
ⲛⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲥⲉϯⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϫⲛ ⲛⲉⲛⲟϭ ⲛϩⲓⲥⲉ ⲛⲧⲁϥϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲓⲛⲏ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁ ⲉϫⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ
ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ·

‘After the body of the holy martyr Apa Pteleme was provided with these things, he stopped speaking. The crowd at [the palace? by] the pasture for the horses (Tohe-nnehtoor/Tuh-el-hel), took his body and buried it with glory and honour.
I, Horion, the young brother, wrote down the sufferings which the blessed Apa Pteleme endured, for the benefit and the good of anyone who will hear them, and they will glorify God on account of these great sufferings which he endured for his holy name.’

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML 2, 27–45; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ptolemaios/Pteleme, monk and martyr near Antinoopolis (Upper Egypt), son of Nestorios, the councillor (politeuomenos) of Dendera (Upper Egypt) : S01473 Ptolemaios/Pteleme, monk and martyr near Antinoopolis (Upper Egypt), son of Nestorios, the counci

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲧⲉⲗⲉⲙⲏ ⲡⲧⲱⲗⲟⲙⲁⲓ

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

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 experienced by the saint Miracles causing conversion Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Torturers/Executioners Officials


Fragments of two former parchment codices are known at papyrus collections in Manchester (Ryl. 92, pages 83–90), Paris (P 12916, fol. 49–52, pages 81–82, 91–92, 111–112, and 119–120 (end); P 1315, fol. 61, pages 173–174), and Vienna (K 9481, pages 65–66). Layout and script suggest a production of most of these codices between the 9th and 11th century.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 2 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1936), 27–45.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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