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E05117: Coptic Encomion on *Demetrios (bishop of Alexandria, ob. 232, S01935), attributed to Flavianus, bishop of Ephesos, and presented on his feast day, discussing the saint’s combat against sinful behaviour and the miraculous protection of his and his wife’s body against fire; relating also the story of *Martyria, a native of Antioch who travelled with her two young sons Eutropius and Philopator (martyrs at Antioch, S01936) to Alexandria to have them baptised by *Petros (bishop and martyr of Alexandria, S00247); allegedly written in the late 4th or mid 5th century.

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posted on 2018-02-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Brit. Mus. Ms. Oriental no. 6783, fol. 30b–45b

The text is introduced as follows:

Fol. 30b; Budge, p. 137, lines 1–16:

ⲟⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲉⲛⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲫⲗⲁⲃⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲫⲉⲥⲟⲥ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲟϥ ⲉⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ
ⲇⲩⲙⲏⲧⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲣⲡⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲩ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲥⲟⲩ ϫⲟⲩⲧⲏ ⲡⲉ · ⲙⲡⲉⲃⲟⲧ ⲑⲱⲑ · ⲁϥϣⲁϫⲉ
ⲇⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛⲉϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁⲁⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟϥ ⲁϥϣⲁϫⲉ ⲇⲉ ⲟⲛ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲉⲃⲧⲉ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲙⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉⲓⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲑⲁⲅⲓⲁ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲧⲣⲙⲧⲁⲛϯⲟⲭⲓⲁ
ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲥϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲥⲛⲁⲩ ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲡⲁⲧⲱⲣ ⲙⲛ ⲉⲩⲧⲣⲟⲡⲓⲟⲥ ·

‘An encomion which our holy father Flavianos, the bishop of the city of Ephesos, produced, presenting it about saint Demetrios, the archbishop of Alexandria, on the day of his glorious commemoration, which is day twenty of the month of Thoth (17 September). He spoke also in this same encomion about the miracles, which God worked through him (Demetrios). And furthermore, he spoke in this same encomion about the holy martyr and virgin Apa Petros, the archbishop of the same city of Alexandria. And (he spoke) about the holy martyr from the city of Antioch with her two children, Philopator and Eutropios.’

The encomion appears embedded in a sermon focusing mainly on sinful sexual behaviour leading to men’s ruin. While the protagonist Demetrios, archbishop of Alexandria, urges his congregation to refrain from any sexual activity, his critics bemoan the fact that he himself is married to a beautiful woman. As the attacks on his character increase, he has a vision in which an angel of God tells him to gather the clergy and reveal to them the nature of his marital relationship. Demetrios follows this divine request and when the clergy is gathered impresses them by making a large fire and walking into it. Standing in the fire his body remains unharmed. He then asks his wife to do the same, and she likewise remains completely unaffected by the fire. As the clergy marvel at both of them, Demetrios explains that they were married young and secretly decided never to consummate their marriage, but to remain pure in the hope of reaching the heavenly Jerusalem together. At night they would receive a vision of an eagle above their bed, placing one of them under each of its wings until the morning when it would disappear.

Following this miraculous account, the bishop Flavianus begins to relate the story of Martyria, the wife of Sokrator, who wished to have her two sons, Philopator and Eutropius, baptised. When her husband refused to allow their baptism due to the ongoing persecution of Christians, she decided to travel secretly to Alexandria by boat to have the boys baptised there by the archbishop Peter. While sailing, a storm arose and Martyria, fearing for her sons’ lives, performed an emergency baptism for them by cutting into her body to draw blood and to make the sign of the cross with it on the forehead and the breast of her sons. Afterwards, she dipped them into sea three times. Following this display of her faith, the wind calmed and the ship reached Alexandria safely. When the archbishop Peter later tried to baptise the boys, the water in the basin turned to stone, signalling that they had already been baptised by the Lord himself.

Martyria then returned back safely to Antioch, but her husband was furious, accusing her of adultery and handing her over to the emperor Diocletian. When Diocletian heard that Peter was baptising in Alexandria, he sent a tribune and soldiers to Alexandria to behead the archbishop. Martyria and her two young sons were burned together, fulfilling their martyrdom in the city of Antioch.

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Demetrios, archbishop of Alexandria (189–232) : S01935 Petros, bishop and martyr of Alexandria, and Companions : S00247 Martyria and her two son Philopator and Eutropius, martyrs at Antioch : S01936

Saint Name in Source

ⲇⲩⲙⲏⲧⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ, ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲡⲁⲧⲱⲣ, ⲉⲩⲧⲣⲟⲡⲓⲟⲥ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc. Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Esna Edfu

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

Esna Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Edfu Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

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 Miracles experienced by the saint Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Bodily incorruptibility

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Monarchs and their family


The parchment codex Ms. Oriental no. 6783 is housed at the British Museum. The manuscript was produced by a man name Viktor, deacon of the church of *Merkurios, the General (S01323) at Latopolis/Esna (Upper Egypt) and completed on day 23 of Mesore (16 August) of the year 1003 AD. The expense of copying and producing the manuscript was paid by Zacharias, a deacon and monk at the monastery of Merkurios the General at Apollinopolis/Atbo/Edfu (Upper Egypt), where he donated the manuscript to the saint’s shrine, so that Merkurios as well as all the other saints appearing in this book would intercede on his behalf for the salvation of his soul. The codex includes the following texts: 1. Fol. 1a–22b: Life of Eustathios, the General, and his family (E05115) 2. Fol. 23a–30a: Life of Apa Kyros/Apakyros, the perfect monk (E05116) 3. Fol. 30b–45b: Encomion on Demetrios, archbishop of Alexandria, attributed to Flavianus, bishop of Ephesos 4. Fol. 45b–63a: The ascetic life of Apa Ephraim (E05118) 5. Fol. 63b–67b: An Epistle of Apa Ephraim to a beloved disciple (E05119) 6. Fol. 67b–83a: Life of John the Monk (E05120) 7. Fol. 83a–84a: Colophon and Prayer


Bishop Flavianus of Ephesos seems to be unknown and was most likely intended to be either Flavian of Antioch (381–404) or Flavian of Constantinople (446–449). The text in its present form seems to have been a later combination of two individual texts, an encomion on the archbishop Demetrios and a martyrdom of Martyria with her sons. Both parts have nothing to do with each other apart from both being examples of strong Faith.


Text and translation: Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 137–156 (text) and 390–408 (trans.).

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