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E04839: Coptic Encomion on *Michael the Archangel (S00181), from the Monastery of the Archangel Michael near Hamouli in the Fayum (Lower Egypt), attributed to Eustathius of Thrace, mentioning the feast celebrated at Michael’s oratory built by Eustathius in Thrace, claiming that this foundation was an idea by the late John Chrysostom, and relating the life of a pious woman named Euphemia, a local woman of Thrace, whom Michael protects, after she swore an oath in his name not to remarry upon her husband's death; written supposedly sometime between the 6th and 9th century.

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posted on 2018-02-01, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Encomion on Michael the Archangel, attributed to Eustathius of Thrace

M592, fol. 50r–72v:

The text is introduced as follows:

ⲟⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲟⲩⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲉⲩⲥⲧⲁⲑⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲑⲣⲁⲕⲏ ⲧⲛⲏⲥⲟⲥ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲁⲩⲉⲝⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ
ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲣⲩⲥⲟⲥⲧⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲧⲁⲟⲩⲉ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲇⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡϣⲁ
ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲉϥⲉⲓⲣⲉ ⲙⲡϣⲁ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲉⲩⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲕⲟⲧϥ ⲛⲃⲣⲣⲉ ϩⲛ ⲧⲛⲏⲥⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲉⲡⲣⲁⲛ
ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲥⲙⲛ ⲥⲛⲧⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ϩⲙ ⲡϣⲁϫⲉ ϩⲁⲑⲏ ⲉⲧⲣⲉϥⲕⲁ ⲥⲱⲙⲁ
ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲁϥϫⲉ ϩⲉⲛⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲟⲛ ϩⲛ ⲑⲁⲏ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲡⲉⲭⲣⲩⲥⲟⲥⲧⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲧⲣⲓⲁⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘An encomion which Apa Eustathius, the bishop of the peninsula of Thrace, delivered, the place where the blessed John Chrysostom was exiled and also the place where he died. He delivered this encomion at the feast of the Archangel Michael celebrating the feast in his holy oratory, which he (Eustathius) had built anew on that peninsula in the name of the holy Archangel Michael, this oratory which the blessed John founded by word before leaving the body, saying also a few things at the end of the encomion about the blessed John Chrysostom, the archbishop, in honour of the Holy Trinity. In God’s peace. Amen.’

The homily starts with an invitation to a banquet shared with biblical guests, before narrating the story of Euphemia a devotee of Michael whom he protects against the devil. Euphemia promises her husband never to remarry after his death, and invokes Michael as a witness to her promise. Following her husband’s death, she suffers many advances and attacks by the devil to break her oath, though Michael protects her successfully until she dies. During her funeral service he appears mid-air over the altar and remains there, a miracle many come to see.

(Text and trans. Depuydt 1993, pp. 233-4, 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 Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Balkans including Greece

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hamouli Thrace

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

Hamouli Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Thrace Drizypera Δριζύπερα Drizypera Büyük Karıştıran

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings


This is the last (ff. 50r–72v) 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, E04837,E04838. 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. Four other Coptic manuscripts of this text are known: a Sahidic fragment from Deir el Bala’izah, two fragmentary manuscripts from the monastery of Shenoute near Panopolis, as well as a complete manuscript written in Bohairic Coptic (BL Or. 8784, ed. Budge 1894).


This encomion is part of the works composed and referred to as belonging to the 'cycle of John Chrysostom'. The historical context as presented here stands in clear contrast to John Chrysostom's reported place of final exile and death at Pontus. 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. 233-234. Introduction and codicology: Ibid. pp. 230–235, esp. 233–234. Other editions: Budge, E.A.W., Saint Michael the Archangel: Three Encomiums (London, 1894), 93–135. Campagnano, A., "L’encomio di Michele Arcangelo di Eustazio di Tracia," in: T. Orlandi, A. Maresca, and A. Campagnano (eds.), Quattro omelie copte (Testi e studi per lo studio dell’antichità 60; Milan, 1977), 105–172. Further reading: Esbroeck, M. van, "Michael the Archangel, saint," in: A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1991), 1616–1620. Orlandi, T., "Eustathius of Thrace," in: A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 4 (New York, 1991), 1073. Orlandi, T., "John Chrysostom, Saint," in: A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (New York, 1991), 1357–1359.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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