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E04837: Coptic Homily on God’s acts of mercy and the public appearance of *Michael the Archangel (S00181), from the Monastery of the Archangel Michael near Hamouli in the Fayum (Lower Egypt), attributed to Severus of Antioch (459/465-538), narrating the saint’s miraculously interventions in court to settle disputes and avoid injustice, delivered on the saint’s feast day (8 November) during a festive gathering at his shrine; allegedly written in the late 5th/early 6th century and translated presumably sometime between the 6th and the 9th century.

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posted on 2018-02-01, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Homily on the Archangel Michael, attributed to Severus of Antioch

M592, fol. 37v–40v:

The title and summary of the text is presented as follows:

ⲟⲩⲗⲟⲅⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲡⲁⲧⲣⲓⲁⲣⲭⲏⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲛⲧⲓⲟⲭⲓⲁ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲉⲩⲏⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲁϥϫⲟⲟϥ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ
ⲙⲙⲛⲧϣⲁⲛϩⲧⲏϥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲡⲁⲣⲣⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲑⲁⲅⲓⲁ ⲛⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲏ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁⲡϣⲁ
ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁⲛⲧⲁ ⲉⲧⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲏ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲙⲁⲑⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲁⲕⲙⲁⲧⲉⲩⲧⲏⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲉϥⲥϩⲓⲙⲉ
ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϥϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲉⲁϥϫⲱ ⲇⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲇⲓⲁⲗⲟⲅⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲙⲛⲧⲥⲛⲟⲟⲩⲥ ⲛϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲧⲩⲙⲟⲥ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲥⲟⲟⲩϩ ⲉⲩⲉⲓⲣⲉ ⲙⲡϣⲁ
ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘A homily of the holy patriarch and archbishop of Antioch Apa Severus in which he talked about the merciful acts of God and the public appearance of the Archangel Michael, and about the sanctity of Sunday, since the feast of the archangel occurred on Sunday that year, and about the merchant Matthew with his wife and his children, presenting this discourse on day 12 of (the month) Hathyr (8 November), when the entire community was gathered, celebrating the feast of the Archangel at his holy shrine. In God’s peace. Amen.’

Michael is presented as being instrumental in settling disputes, when people are unjustly accused of wrongdoing, such as stealing, owing money, or murder. Through miraculous interventions, Michael brings out the truth.

The full text of this manuscript is still unpublished.

Another manuscript produced around the same time (AD 902/3) from the monastery of the Archangel Michael at Hamouli offers the title as follows:

M603, fol. 1, 24:

ⲟⲩⲗⲟⲅⲱⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲡⲁⲧⲣⲓⲁⲣⲭⲏⲥ ⲥⲉⲩⲏⲣⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲱⲡⲱⲥ ⲛⲁⲛⲇⲓⲱⲭⲓⲁ ⲉϥϣⲁϫⲉ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲙⲙⲛⲧϣⲁⲛϩⲧⲏϥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
ⲙⲛ ⲧⲡⲁⲣⲣⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲁϥϫⲉ ϩⲛⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲧⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲏ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡϣⲁ
ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ϫⲱⲛϥ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲁϥϣⲁϫⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲙⲁⲑⲉⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲁⲅⲙⲁⲧⲉⲩⲧⲏⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲉϥⲥϩⲓⲙⲉ
ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϥϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟ ⲡⲉⲓⲗⲟⲅⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲙⲛⲧⲥⲛⲟⲟⲩⲥ ⲛϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘A homily of the patriarch Severus, the archbishop of Antioch, relating the merciful acts of God and the public appearance of the Archangel Michael. He also said a few things about the holy Sunday, since the feast of the Archangel fell on it (a Sunday) that year. He also spoke about the merchant Matthew with his wife and his children. He delivered this sermon on day 12 of Hathyr (8 November). In God’s peace. Amen.’

(Text and trans. Depuydt 1993, pp. 233 and 219, modified)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hamouli Antioch on the Orontes

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

Hamouli Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Severus of Antioch

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous power through intermediary Other specified miracle Specialised miracle-working


This is the sixth (ff. 37v–40v) of eight homilies all dedicated to the archangel Michael and all contained in the same parchment codex M592. For the other homilies on Michael in M592, see E04640, E04641, E04642, E04835, E04836, E04838, E04839. The production of the codex is datable to the 9th or early 10th century on the basis of securely dated codices (AD 822/3–913/14) found together with it at the monastery of the Archangel Michael near Hamouli in the Fayum. Five other Coptic manuscripts of the same text are known, some fragmentary: M603, fol. 1, 24, a fragmentary parchment manuscript likewise from the monastery of the Archangel Michael near Hamouli, dated to the year AD 902/3. P.IFAO Copte Inv. 133–136, 157–158, a fragmentary parchment manuscript of the 11th/12th century, from the monastery of Shenoute in Atripe, lacking a title. BL Or. 7597, a parchment codex at the British Library, dated to the 10th/11th century (Budge, 1915). BL Or. 8784, a Bohairic Coptic/Arabic paper manuscript of the year 1210 AD (Budge, 1894). BL Or. 3581B (20), a paper leaf at the British Library (Crum, 1905, p. 135 (no. 306)).


For literature and a brief overview of the Christian Egyptian tradition concerning the special sacred status attributed to Michael, see van Esbroeck 1991.


Text and translation: Depuydt, L., Catalogue of Coptic Manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library: Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts (Leuven, 1993), pp. 233 and 219. Introduction and codicology: Ibid. pp. 230-235, and 219-221. Text and translation of other manuscripts: Budge, E.A.W., Saint Michael the Archangel: Three Encomiums (London, 1894). Budge, E.A.W., Miscellaneous Coptic Texts (London, 1915). St Demiana, A., “In Michaelem: The Encomium on Michael the Archangel, Attributed to Severus of Antioch. An Edition of the Coptic Text of P. IFAO Copte Inv. 133-136, 157-158,” Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 113 (2013), 381–431. Further reading: Esbroeck, M. van, "Michael the Archangel, saint," in: A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1991), 1616–1620.

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