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E05119: Coptic Letter by Apa Ephraim, presumably the ascetic and founder of a monastery at Fargout, instructing a younger monk on the importance of humility and the proper way of monastic life, listing the essential monastic rules and urging him to seek the approval of the Lord and his angels; presumably written in the early 6th century.

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posted on 2018-02-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Brit. Mus. Ms. Oriental no. 6783, fol. 63b–67b:

The text is introduced as follows:

Fol. 63b; Budge, p. 179, lines 1–3:

ⲛⲧⲟϥ ⲟⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲉⲫⲣⲁⲙ ⲉϥⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲉⲣⲓⲧ ⲛⲧⲁϥ ⲉϥϫⲓⲥⲃⲱ ⲛⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ

‘But again Apa Ephraim writing to a beloved one of his who receives instructions from him.’

The letter stresses the importance of humility.

Fol. 64a; Budge 179, line 23–p. 180, line 1:

ⲟⲩⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉϥⲑⲃⲃⲓⲏⲩ ⲡϩⲏⲧ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲟⲧⲛ ⲛⲧⲟⲟⲧϥ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ·

‘A man who is humble, the heart of God is at ease with him and (so are) his angels.’

Very precise instructions follow on how to walk, eat, drink, sleep and so forth, laying out the rules for monastic life and encouraging the young monk to follow them closely.

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Angels, unnamed or name lost : S00723

Type of Evidence

Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc. Literary - Letters


  • 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


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 (E05117) 4. Fol. 45b–63a: The ascetic life of Apa Ephraim (E05118) 5. Fol. 63b–67b: An Epistle of Apa Ephraim to a beloved disciple 6. Fol. 67b–83a: Life of John the Monk (E05120) 7. Fol. 83a–84a: Colophon and Prayer


Text and translation: Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 179–183 (text) and 431–435 (trans.).

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