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E04038: Coptic document from the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit (Middle Egypt), concerning an agreement over responsibilities for monastic property, ensuring the validity of the agreement with an oath sworn by the throne of *Mark, the Evangelist (S00293), and mentioning a church/shrine (topos) dedicated to Apa *Apollo (founder of the monastery, S00160). An agreement reached in this document is confirmed by a oath; datable to the 8th century.

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posted on 2017-09-15, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Mon.Apollo 25 (KSB 1 49):

This document is one of many associated with the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit, see $E04037.
It concerns the renunciation of responsibility for monastic property by a monk who feels he has been given too heavy a burden. The document is addressed to the legal body (dikaion) of the monastery under its current abbot Daniel. The introductory phrase of the document suggests that there was a shrine associated with the monastery of Apa Apollo.

Lines 1–3 read as follows:

+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲥⲟⲛ ⲥⲁⲕ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲉⲥϩⲁ ⲙⲡⲇⲓⲕⲁⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ
ϩⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲱⲧ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲇⲁⲛⲏⲗ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲙⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲓⲧⲏⲥ) ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲓ[ⲱⲧ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ]

‘I, brother Isak, the monk of the monastery (topos) of Apa Apollo, am writing to the legal body (dikaion) of the monastery at the shrine (topos) of Apa Apollo, under the pious and holy father Apa Daniel, the archimandrite and father [of the monastery (topos)].’

The validity of the agreement reached in this document is confirmed by an oath sworn by the throne of Mark, the Evangelist.

Lines 9–10 read as follows:

ⲉⲱⲣⲕ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ <ⲡ>ⲡⲁⲛⲧⲱⲕⲣⲁⲧⲟⲣ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲕⲁⲑⲟⲗⲓⲕⲏ ⲛⲉⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲩϫⲁ ⲙⲡⲉⲑⲣⲟⲛ[ⲟⲥ] ⲙⲡⲉⲛⲉ̣ⲓⲱⲧ̣ ⲙⲁⲣⲕⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲩⲁⲛⲕⲉⲗⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ ϫ<ⲉ> ⲛⲛⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲡⲓϩⲱⲃ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ

‘I swear by God, the Almighty, and by the Catholic church, and by the well-being of the throne of our father Mark, the Evangelist, that I shall never proceed against this matter.’

(Text: M. Hasitzka/S. J. Clackson, trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Apa Apollo (founder of the monastery at Bawit, 4th century ) : S00160 Mark the Evangelist : S00293

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲙⲁⲣⲕⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲩⲁⲛⲕⲉⲗⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet Documentary texts - Other private document


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Bawit Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



The papyrus document P.Würzburg 43 is housed at the Würzburg University Library. The document is believed to come from Bawit and has been dated to the 8th century on palaeographical grounds.


It is of course quite possible that the phrase ⲡⲇⲓⲕⲁⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ was intended to mean 'the legal body of the monastery at the monastery (topos) of Apa Apollo', though this would be quite unusual. We could also simply be dealing with a scribal error. On the other hand, it is not inconceivable and rather to be expected that the monastery of Apa Apollo was located by a church or shrine (topos) dedicated to its patron saint.


Text and Translation: Clackson, S.J., Coptic and Greek Texts Relating to the Hermopolite Monastery of Apa Apollo (Oxford, 2000), 80–85. Hasitzka, M.R.M., Koptisches Sammelbuch I (KSB I) (Vienna, 1993), 37–38.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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