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E05114: Coptic Martyrdom of *Viktor (son of Romanos, S00749), the fourth Martyrdom, relates the saint’s interaction with the dux Sebastianos, his miraculous strength during tortures, his contest with a magician who converts to Christianity, and his eventual beheading causing miracles; written presumably in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2018-02-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Brit. Mus. MS. Oriental, No. 7022, fol. 20a–26a

The account is introduced as follows:

Fol. 19b; Budge, p. 34, lines 1–3:

ⲡⲙⲉϩ ϥⲧⲟ · ⲇ · ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ · ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕ(ⲧⲱⲣ) ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲣⲟⲛ · ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ ⁖

‘The fourth martyrdom of Apa Biktor. In peace of God. Bless us. Amen.’

When the dux Sebastianos arrived, he set up trial in the middle of the castron and had Viktor placed before him. Refusing to sacrifice, Viktor is subjected to many tortures and a contest with a magician who loses and converts to Christianity. The numerous tortures, including another fire in a furnace, leave the saint unharmed, but when a young girl of 15 named Stephanou (ⲥⲧⲉⲫⲁⲛⲟⲩ), the wife of a soldier, witnessed the trial, she became a martyr immediately.

Prior to his death, Viktor announces what he had been told about his future cult and asks the soldiers to hand over his body to the people who will come looking for it. He makes it clear that there will be two different shrines in which miracles will take place. One where is body will be placed, and one where his head will be located.

Fol. 25b; Budge, p. 43, line 25–p. 44, line 7:

ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ ⲙⲏⲧ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ · ⲛⲁⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲁⲉⲓ ⲉⲩϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲁⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲩ · ⲁⲓⲟⲩⲱ ⲅⲁⲣ ⲉⲓϣⲱⲡ ⲛⲧⲁⲕⲁⲓⲥⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲁⲧⲏⲃⲉ · ϫⲉⲕⲁⲥ
ⲛⲛⲉⲩⲕⲟⲥⲧ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲕⲁⲓⲥⲉ ⲛϣⲙⲙⲟ · ⲙⲟⲛⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲣⲕⲱⲗⲩ ⲙⲡⲁⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲩϣⲁⲛϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲱϥ · ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲉⲙⲁⲁⲧⲉ ⲡⲉ
ⲡⲉⲥⲕⲩⲗⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲑⲁⲗⲁⲥⲥⲁ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲁϣⲉ ⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁⲕⲁ ⲡⲁⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲉⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲛⲏⲩ
ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲁⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϩⲉⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁϥⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲁⲡⲉ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲉⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲛⲏⲩ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ
ⲙⲡⲁⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ · ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁⲛⲅ ⲟⲩϣⲏⲣⲉ ϣⲏⲙ ⲉⲓϩⲛ ϫⲟⲩⲱⲧⲉ ⲛⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ · ϯϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲉⲣⲱⲧⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲧⲛ
ⲛⲁϣⲃⲏⲣ ⲙⲁⲧⲟⲓ · ϫⲉ ⲉⲓⲛⲁⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲁϫⲥ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲭⲣⲥ ϫⲉ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲉⲓϭⲱϣⲧ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲉⲓⲥ ϩⲏⲏⲧⲉ ⲁϥⲧⲁϩⲟⲓ ⲙⲡⲟⲟⲩ ·

‘After ten days, my people will come looking for my body. Give it to them. For I have already obtained my burial shroud and my coffin, so that they shall not bury me in a foreign shroud. Only do not prevent my body to be given to them, if they are looking for it, since it is a very long sea journey (from Antioch). Many are the miracles that will take place at the spot where my body will be laid. All the countries (will) come to my shrine. Great miracles will take place in the place where my head will be placed. All the countries (will) come to my shrine because of the miracles that will take place there.

Because I am a young man, being twenty years of age, I am greeting you all my fellow soldiers, so that I will go to my Lord Jesus Christ, since this is the day for which I have been looking out. Behold it has come upon me today.’

When the decapitation goes wrong and the saint’s head is not fully cut off, he begs Horion, a reluctant fellow soldier, to do it properly for him.

Fol. 26a; Budge, p. 45, lines 1–12:

ⲁⲡⲕⲁⲥⲧⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲟⲉⲓⲛ ⲛϣⲟⲙⲛⲧ ⲛⲥⲟⲡ · ⲁϥϥⲓ ϭⲉ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲁⲡⲉ ⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ · ϩⲟⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲁϥϥⲓ ⲛⲉϥⲃⲁⲗ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲡⲉ ·
ⲁϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲧⲉⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ · ⲉⲁⲩⲥⲟⲩⲉⲗ ⲟⲩⲱⲗⲥ ϩⲛ ϩⲉⲛⲙⲁⲡⲡⲁ ⲛϣⲛⲥ · ⲁⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲥⲡⲁⲍⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ·
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲩϥⲓ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲁⲡⲉ · ⲁⲩⲥⲛⲟϥ ⲉⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲣⲱⲧⲉ · ⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲩ · ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ϫⲟⲩⲧⲥⲁϣϥⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲃⲟⲧ ⲡⲁⲣ{ⲡⲁⲣ}ⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ⲛϫⲡ ⲙⲏⲏⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ :- ⲁⲩⲱ ϣⲁϫⲉ ⲛⲙ ⲛⲧⲁϥϫⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲁⲧⲟⲩϥ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲁⲡⲉ · ⲁⲩϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲙⲉ ·

‘The castron shook three times. He (Horion) then took off his head and he (Viktor) completed his martyrdom. But Horion lifted his eyes up to heaven and saw the soul of Apa Viktor as Ausouel was holding it in linen clothes. The saints greeted the soul of Apa Biktor. When his head was taken off, blood and milk came forth. He completed his glorious martyrdom on day 27 of the month Parmouthe (22 April) at the tenth hour of the day. Every word he said before his head was taken off became true.’

(Text: E. A. W. Budge; summary and trans.: G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr in Egypt : S00749 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲓⲱ(ϩⲁⲛⲛⲏ)ⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc.


  • 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)

Edfu Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle at martyrdom and death Miracles experienced by the saint Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Soldiers Torturers/Executioners Officials Other lay individuals/ people


The parchment manuscript BM Ms. Oriental No. 7022 is housed at the British Museum. According to the colophon, the codex dates to the year 951. Other martyr stories concerning Viktor and an encomion dedicated to him are included in the same parchment codex. The codex is composed of the following: 1. The martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05111) 2. The second martyrdom of saint Viktor 3. The third martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05113) 4. The fourth martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05114) 5. The Encomion on saint Viktor attributed to Celestinus, archbishop of Rome (see E04643) 6. Colophon and date 7. Drawing of tamed lioness The colophon (fol. 59b) provides the date and purpose of the manuscript. It mentions 13 April 951 as the date of production for the entire codex dedicated to Viktor. The codex was originally donated to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou belonging to a monastery dedicated to the same saint. The donor of the book was a deacon named Pourot, who at the time of the colophon was deceased and expected to bring blessing onto the monastery together with all the saints. The scribe of the codex was a monk named Joseph, son of an archdeacon of the church of John the Baptist in Sne/Esna/Latopolis (Upper Egypt). He mentions Apa Abraham, the head of the monastery of Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou and expresses hopes for his own salvation and the forgiveness of his sins, as well as for the salvation of all the monks associated with this monastery. ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲥⲡⲟⲩⲇⲏ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲙⲛⲧϥⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲑⲉⲟⲫⲓⲗⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ · ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲁϥϥⲓ ⲡⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲉⲓϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ · ⲁϥⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲃⲱ · ⲧⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲁⲥⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲓⲛⲟⲥ) · ⲡϫⲥ ϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲡⲱⲛϩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲁ · ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲓⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲧ(ⲁⲓⲏⲩ) ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲛϥⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲙⲧⲉⲩⲫⲣⲟⲥⲩⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲛⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ · ⲛϥϫⲟⲕϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲙ ⲡⲃⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲫⲟⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ · ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲛⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲟⲡⲁⲧⲱⲣ ⲛⲧⲕⲟⲓⲛⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲛϥⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϫⲱⲛ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ ‘Through zeal and the care of the most pious deacon Pourot, he took care of this book and donated it to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo, i.e. Apollonia according to the Alexandrian language. May the Lord protect the life and salvation of the pious and honourable brother Pourot, and may he make him worthy of the happiness in the kingdom of the heavens, and may he make him complete through the angelic life which he has led, just as our forefathers in the community, and may he bring his blessing over us together with all the saints. Amen.’ (trans. G. Schenke)


The martyrdom account of Viktor is presented as four separate accounts, suffering trial and tortures under four different authorities (Diocletain, Armenios, Eutychianos, and Sebastianos) in four different locations (Antioch, Alexandria, (south of) Antinoopolis, and Hierakonpolis). Although the story continuous from one part to the next, the separate titles underline the importance of this far travelled martyr saint in accordance with evaluations of early church fathers, such as John Chrysostom, who claim that the status of the Apostles is higher than that of martyrs, because the latter only suffered in one place, while the former did so in multiple places; see E01925.


Text and translation: Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 34–45 (text) and 287–298 (trans.).

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