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E05275: The Coptic Encomion on *Makarios (bishop of Tkow/Antaeopolis (Upper Egypt), ob. mid-5th c., S02004), attributed to Dioskoros of Alexandria, relates, among many other things, miracles performed by the bishop as well as his gift of prophecy and miraculous events taking place at his burial in the shrine of *John the Baptist (S00020) and the prophet *Elisha (S00239) at Alexandria; most likely written not before the end of the 6th century.

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posted on 2018-03-28, 00:00 authored by gschenke
The encomion attributed to Dioskoros of Alexandria (444–451) is said to have been delivered while Dioskoros was in exile at Gangra in Paphlagonia (where he died in 454 AD), when he was visited by Egyptian monks and clergy. The reason for this encomion was the recent death of bishop Makarios, of which Dioskoros had just been informed by Paphnutios, the Pachomian abbot at Canopus in the Nile Delta.

The text is introduced as follows:

Ed. Johnson, p. 1, col. II, lines 1–21:

[ⲟ]ⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ [ⲛ]ⲧⲉ ⲡⲡⲁⲧⲣ[ⲁ]ⲣⲭⲏⲥ [ⲉⲧⲟ]ⲩⲁⲁⲃ [ⲁⲡ]ⲁ ⲇ[ⲟⲥ]ⲕⲟⲣⲟⲥ [ⲡⲁⲣ]ⲭⲏⲉⲡⲥⲕⲟ[ⲡⲟⲥ] ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ ⲣⲁ[ⲕⲟⲧⲉ] ⲉϥⲧⲁ[ⲟ]ⲩⲟϥ
ⲉⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓ[ⲟⲥ ⲡⲉ]ⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ [ⲛⲧ]ⲕⲱⲟⲩ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲥ [ⲙⲡ]ⲉⲟⲩⲟ[ⲉϣ] ⲛⲧⲁ[ⲙⲁⲣ]ⲕⲁⲛⲟ[ⲥ] ⲡⲉⲣⲟ [ⲉ]ⲝⲱⲣ[ⲍ]ⲉ [ⲙ]ⲙⲟϥ
[ⲉⲅ]ⲁ<ⲛ>ⲅⲣⲁ ⲧⲛⲏⲥⲟⲥ ·
[ⲛ]ⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲡ[ⲛⲟⲩ]ⲧⲉ ⲃⲱⲕ ϣⲁⲣ[ⲟϥ ⲉ]ϭⲉⲙ ⲡⲉϥϣⲛⲉ · ⲁϥⲧⲁⲙⲉ [ⲁ]ⲡⲁ ⲇⲟⲥⲕⲟⲣⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ ⲛϭⲓ ⲁⲡⲁ
ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲟⲥ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲛⲧϩⲟⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲓⲧⲏⲥ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲉ ⲡⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲩϩⲙⲟⲟⲥ ϩⲁϩⲧⲏϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲟⲩⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲕⲗ[ⲏⲣⲟ]ⲥ [ⲙ]ⲛⲛ ϩⲁϩ
ⲙⲙ[ⲟⲛ]ⲁⲭⲟⲥ ·

‘An Encomion by the holy patriarch Apa Dioskoros, the archbishop of the city Alexandria which he delivered concerning saint Apa Makarios, the bishop of the city Tkow, at the time when the emperor Marcianos had exiled him to Gangra, the island. When Apa Papnoute went to visit him, he informed Apa Dioskoros that Apa Makarios had died at Alexandria as a confessor. As he delivered this encomion, a crowd of clergy and many monks were sitting before him.’

Dioskoros begins by claiming that Apa Makarios, during his lifetime, was pure and was counted among the martyrs.

Chapter II
Ed. Johnson, p. 2, col. II, lines 12–19:

ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲇⲉ ϩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲡⲉⲉ[ⲛ]ⲉ [ⲛ]ϣⲁϫⲉ ⲛⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲧⲁϫⲟⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ϫⲓⲛ ⲧⲙⲛⲧⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲟⲥ ⲟⲩⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲧⲧⲱⲗⲉⲙ ·
ⲁⲩⲱ ϩⲛ ⲧⲉϥⲙⲛⲧϩⲗⲗⲟ ⲟⲛ ⲁϥⲱⲡ ⲉⲧⲏⲡⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ·

‘But I myself shall change the words a little and say that: “Since the childhood of Apa Makarios, he was an unpolluted virgin. In his old age then, he counted in the number of the martyrs”’

Dioskoros then relates the preparation undertaken to attend the council of Chalcedon in 451, reminding his audience that Makarios was one of the 634 bishops and that travelled with him to Constantinople.

Already on board the ship, Makarios, gifted with prophetic abilities, has visions foreseeing the outcome of their mission.

Dioskoros then relates two miracles from among the many performed by Makarios, one healing the sight of a partially blind Egyptian sailor on board the ship by making the sign of the cross over each of his eyes. The sailor was blind in one eye, while his other eye was infected. As soon as Makarios had made the sign of the cross on the blind eye, the man was able to see pointing out that it was in fact the other eye that had troubled him with pain. Makarios then repeated his action on the infected eye, and immediately, the man was able to see with both eyes to the amazement of passengers and crew alike (chapter III).

The other miracle involved the punishment for a tunic stolen from one of Makarios’ spiritual brothers who was accompanying him. The slave of a businessman on-board the ship had stolen the tunic, but was frightened that he would be found out, when he overheard Makarios consoling his friend over the loss saying that the garment will reappear and all would be revealed. In fear, the thief threw the garment overboard into the sea. However, it appeared the following day among the man’s other garments. When the thief kept on mistreating the companion of Apa Makarios, the saint exposed his theft and he confessed (chapter III).

The text largely emphasises the fight for Egyptian orthodoxy against the Chalcedonian creed; Dioskoros relates many of his own experiences and the tribulations he faced, before eventually returning to the scene of Makarios’ death in Egypt about which he had heard from Paphnutius. When asked to subscribe to the Tome of Leo like the other bishops assembled at Alexandria, Makarios refused to do so and condemned such an act. For this he is kicked in the groin so hard by the imperial courier that he died on the spot, his body giving off a sweet smell.

Chapter XV
Ed. Johnson, p. 123, col. II, lines 12–24:

ⲛⲁⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉϥ[ⲥⲱ]ⲧⲙ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϭ[ⲓ] ⲥⲉⲣⲅⲟⲥ ⲡⲃⲉⲗ[ⲉ]ⲧⲁⲣⲟⲥ · ⲁϥⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛϭⲱⲛⲧ · ⲁϥⲁⲙⲁϩⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ
ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲟⲥ ⲁϥϯ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛⲟⲩϣⲥⲉ ⲛⲗⲁⲕⲧⲏⲥ ϩⲁ ⲛⲉϥⲁⲛⲁⲅⲕⲉⲟⲛ · ⲁϥϩⲉ ⲁϥⲙⲟ[ⲩ] ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ · [ⲁⲩ]ⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲥϯ[ⲛⲟ]ⲩⲃⲉ ϣⲱϣ [ⲉⲃ]ⲟⲗ ϩⲙ
ⲡⲉϥⲥⲱ[ⲙ]ⲁ ⲁϥⲙⲟⲩϩ ⲙⲡ[ⲙ]ⲁ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ·

‘And when Sergius, the courier, had heard these things, he rose up with exceeding wrath. He seized the saint Apa Makarios, and gave him a kick in his genitalia. He collapsed and died immediately. A strong perfume spread forth from his body and filled the whole place.’

A festive funeral was then held for him and he was brought for burial into the martyr shrine of John the Baptist and the prophet Elisha, fulfilling a former prophecy Makarios had received in a vision when he arrived at Constantinople. Both saints had appeared to him praising Makarios and promising that he would be buried next to them.

Chapter XVI
Ed. Johnson, p. 123, col. II, line 27–p. 124, line 4:

[ⲛ]ⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲩⲉ [ⲉⲃ]ⲟⲗ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲇⲩ[ⲙⲟⲥ] ⲛⲉⲛⲣⲉⲙⲣⲁ[ⲕⲟ]ⲧⲉ · ⲁⲩⲕⲱ[ⲧⲉ] ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ [ⲡⲉ]ϥⲉⲙⲡϣⲁ ϩⲛ [ϩ]ⲛϩⲃⲟⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲧⲁ[ⲓⲏ]ⲩ ·
ⲁⲩⲧⲁ[ⲗⲟϥ] ⲁⲩϫⲧϥ ⲉⲡ[ⲙ]ⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲛ ⲙⲡ[ϩⲁ]ⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲱϩⲁⲛ[ⲛⲏ]ⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲥ[ⲧⲏ]ⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲉⲗⲥⲥⲉ[ⲟⲥ] ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏ[ⲧ]ⲏⲥ ·

‘Immediately, the community of the people of Alexandria came forth and wrapped him in precious burial clothes in accordance with his standing (i.e. that of a bishop). They lifted him up and took him to the martyr shrine of saint John the Baptist and Elisha the prophet.’

Objections made by Timothy Salophacialius to his burial ad sanctos result in his immediate punishment by being struck dead.

Chapter XVI
Ed. Johnson, p. 124, col. I lines 5–9:

ⲥⲁⲗⲱⲫⲁⲕⲓⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁⲩ ϫⲉ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲧⲉⲧⲛⲣⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲉⲕⲩⲡⲧⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲅⲁⲑⲁⲣⲧⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲉⲧⲛⲧⲱⲙⲥ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ϩⲙ ⲡϩⲉⲣⲁⲧⲟⲛ
ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ :

‘But Salophacialius said to them: “Men, what are you doing with this unclean Egyptian? Are you burying him in the shrine of the saints?”’

After witnessing the critic’s punishment, the faithful crowd then moves on to deposit the saint’s body on top of the older saints in the shrine.

Chapter XVI
Ed. Johnson, p. 124, col. I lines 24–29:

ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟⲩϥⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ · ⲁⲩⲧⲁⲗⲟϥ ⲉϫⲛ ⲧⲧⲁϥⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ :

‘After they had taken the body of saint Apa Makarios into the martyr shrine, they put him on top of the coffin of the saints.’

At this moment, the eyes of a mute boy, twelve years of age, opened and he had a vision of John the Baptist and the prophet Elisha embracing Apa Makarios and greeting him. The mute boy miraculously began to speak telling his father what he saw and the father cried out in joy. The crowd wanted to know what had happened and whom he had seen, and the boy described the saints he saw:

Chapter XVI
Ed. Johnson, p. 126, col. I, lines 4–20:

ⲧⲟⲧⲉ ⲁⲩϫⲛⲉ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ϣⲏⲙ ⲉⲧⲁⲗⲏⲑⲁ · ϫⲉ ϩⲛⲁϣ ⲙⲙⲛⲉ ⲛⲉ ⲛⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲕⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ : ⲛⲧⲟϥ ⲇⲉ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ · ϫⲉ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲉⲣⲉⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ
ⲛⲃⲱ ϩϫⲱϥ ⲉϥⲛⲏⲩ ⲉⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲉϫⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲛⲁϩⲃⲉ · ⲙⲛⲛ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲙⲙⲟⲣⲧ : ⲡⲕⲉⲟⲩⲁ ⲟⲩϭⲁⲗⲡ ϩⲣⲁϥ ⲡⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϥϣⲟ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲩⲉⲓⲙⲉ ⲛϭⲓ
ⲡⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲧⲏⲣϥ · ϫⲉ ⲡⲉⲧⲉⲣⲉⲡⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲃⲱ ϩⲓϫⲱϥ ⲡⲉ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲉⲧⲟ ⲛϭⲁⲗⲡ ϩⲣⲁϥ ⲡⲉ · ⲉⲗⲓⲥⲥⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ : ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲛⲉⲩⲡⲏⲧ ⲡⲉ ⲉϫⲉⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲗⲯⲁⲛⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲁⲃ · ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉϫⲓⲥⲙⲟⲩ :

‘Then they asked the young boy for the truth: “What type of men have you seen?” And he said: “One has long hair going down onto his shoulders with a full beard, the other is a bald one and he is tall.” The whole crowd then knew that the longhaired one was John the Baptist and that the hairless one was Elisha the prophet. At once, they were rushing towards his holy relics wishing to receive a blessing.’

A hunchback who was caught in the middle of the pushing and rushing crowd was accidentally pushed onto the body of the saint [Makarios] and healed immediately, standing up straight and crying out:

Ed. Johnson, p. 127, col. II lines 5–6:

ⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲓϩⲉⲗⲗⲟ ⲛⲉⲕⲉⲡⲧⲟⲥ ·

“One is the God of this Egyptian elder!”.

A long prayer to saint Apa Makarios then follows, asking him to pray for the gathered community, so that God may protect them in their holy orthodox faith.

(Text and trans. D. W. Johnson, modified)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 Makarios, bishop of the city Tkow/Antaeopolis (Upper Egypt) : S02004 Elisha, Old Testament prophet : S00239

Saint Name in Source

ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲉⲗⲓⲥⲥⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Hamouli Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Dioskoros of Alexandria

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Uncertainty/scepticism/rejection of a saint

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Verbal images of saints

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Miracles experienced by the saint Punishing miracle Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous sound, smell, light Miraculous protection - of people and their property

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Officials Slaves/ servants Crowds

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Unspecified relic


Two nearly complete Sahidic manuscripts come from the monastery of the Archangel Michael at Hamouli in the Fayum, M 609 (late 9th century), now at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and Cairo Hamouli B (AD 903/4) at the library of the Coptic Museum in Cairo. Other fragments of the same texts are known in Sahidic as well as in Bohairic Coptic.


Text and translation: Johnson, D.W., A Panegyric on Macarius, Bishop of Tkow, Attributed to Dioscorus of Alexandria, CSCO 415/41 (text) and 416/42 (translation) (Louvain, 1980).

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