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E04107: Coptic letter from the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit (Middle Egypt), invoking Apa *Apollo (founder of the monastery, 00160) for protection of the addressee; datable to the 7th/8th century.

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posted on 2017-10-05, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Louvre Bawit 47

This very fragmentary document preserves the beginning of a letter in which the protection of the saint is invoked, not only for individuals but for an entire village.
Lines 2–3 read as follows:

[ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁ]ⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲉⲃⲉϩⲁⲣⲉϩ [ⲉⲣⲱⲧⲛ ]
[ ]ⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲧⲓⲙⲉ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ϫⲛ[ⲉ ⲡⲛⲟϭ ϣⲁ ⲡⲕⲟⲩⲓ

‘[God of saint] Apa Apollo, may he protect [you …] and the entire village from [the greatest to the smallest.’

A similar document is P.Soc. Arch. Copt. 7 (see P.Louvre Bawit, p. 81), likewise from the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit. Lines 22–23 read as follows:

ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲉⲃⲉⲣⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲱⲧⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲥⲛⲏⲟⲩ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲛⲉⲙ̣ⲁ̣ⲧ̣ⲛ̣

‘God of saint Apa Apollo, may he watch over you and all the brothers who are with you.’

(Text: S. J. Clackson/A. Delattre modified; trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet Documentary texts - Letter


  • 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 fragmentary papyrus document is kept as inv. E 27569 at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The dating is based on palaeographical grounds.


For a similar invocation in a different letter from the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit see E04108.


Text and French translation: †Clackson, S.J., and Delattre, A., Papyrus grecs et coptes de Baouît conservés au Musée du Louvre (Bibliothèque d'Études coptes 22; Cairo, 2014), 80–81.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity