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E05372: Coptic Martyrdom of Apa *Til (S02024), a young soldier from the village Sabarou (Lower Egypt) stationed at the garrison in Babylon (Lower Egypt) during the time of Diocletian, presented on his feast day (10 July) relating many miracles and visions which the saint encountered as well as numerous healing miracles he performed while imprisoned, others taking place later at the burial shrine in his home town; written most likely during the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2018-04-25, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Codex Cod. Vat. Copt. 66, fol. 156, preserves a note written in the margins on when and how to present this text. It is to be read out first on day 16 of Epiph (10 July), followed by a reading of the Life of John, the monk with the golden Gospel, see E05120, whose feast day, however, seems to be 29 January.

Cod. Vat. Copt. 66, fol. 156:
ⲱϣ ⲙⲫⲁⲓ ⲛϣⲟⲣⲡ : ⲙⲉⲛⲉⲛⲥⲱϥ ⲱϣ ⲛⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲫⲁⲡⲓⲉⲩⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲛⲟⲩⲃ : ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲓⲋ ⲛⲉⲡⲓⲡ : ⲉϥϧⲉⲛ ⲣⲙⲅ (ⲕⲁⲓ) ϥⲁ // ⲡⲓⲃ ϧⲉⲛ
ⲟⲩⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ

‘Read this one first. Afterwards, read John, the one of the golden gospel, on day 16 of Epiph (10 July), it is in (codex?) number 143 and 91, the two of them on the same day.’

Cod. Vat. Copt. 62, fol. 56/ Cod. Vat. Copt. 66, fol. 156, Balestri/Hyvernat p. 89, lines 1–3:

Ϯⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡϭⲥ ⲓⲏⲥ ⲡⲭⲥ ⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ ⲉⲧⲁϥϫⲟⲕⲥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲉⲧⲅⲉⲛⲛⲟⲥ ⲥⲟⲩ ⲓⲋ
ⲛⲡⲓⲁⲃⲟⲧ ⲉⲡⲏⲡ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩϩⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲫϯ ⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘The Martyrdom of the holy martyr of the Lord Jesus Christ, saint Apa Til. He completed it in a noble manner,
day 16 of the month Epiph (10 July). In God’s peace. Amen.’

Apa Til was the son of a pious presbyter named Soterichos from the small village of Sabarou (ⲥⲁⲃⲁⲣⲟⲩ) located on the island of Pshati. Growing up together with his brother Ioannes, Apa Til was a faithful worshipper who performed many charitable acts to orphans and the poor (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 91).

When he was sixteen years old, he was taken against his father’s will to become a soldier, stationed at a camp in the south of the city called Babylon (ⲃⲁⲃⲩⲗⲟⲛ).

When the governor Arianus arrived at Babylon, Apa Til prayed for the persecution to end and had a vision of the Lord approaching him in the form of a handsome boy encouraging him to rise and compete for his holy name to receive the crown and eternal joy (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 92).

Once the whole unit of soldiers was gathered, the governor read the imperial edict and demanded the worship of the imperial gods. Apa Til refused and as a result suffered many tortures, from which he was miraculously saved each time by an angel of the Lord, sent in response to the saint’s prayers and giving him strength, breaking up his chains, or extinguishing the flames on the stake. These miracles greatly impressed the crowd (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 93–94).

Apa Til, when thrown into prison healed the sick, expelled demons, and cured any illness brought before him. The governor was at a loss what to do with him and decided to send him away to be interrogated elsewhere for fear of other people following his example (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 95).

Apa Til is then sent to Peremoun (ⲡⲉⲣⲉⲙⲟⲩⲛ), possibly Pelusium by the sea, to be dealt with by a different governor. Bound in chains he appears before the governor, refuses to sacrifice to the imperial gods and is tortured again. After praying for strength, he is touched by an angel and immediately healed from all of his wounds to the amazement of the crowds.

Tortures and healing continue, until the saint is thrown into the furnace, from which the angel delivers him unharmed, before being chained and thrown into the sea, from where he likewise reappeared unharmed. At a loss how to deal with these occurrences, the governor throws the saint into prison to gain time (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 96–102).

In prison the saint placed his hand over a blind man’s eyes, made the sign of the cross and the man was able to see. The prison guard then approached him imploring him to help his pregnant daughter who had been unable to give birth for several days (see also the Martyrdom of Apa Epima $E0…). Doctors and exorcists had tried in vain to help the young woman. The prison guard beseeched him to pray to God, believing that he would be able to help his daughter. The saint asked for a bit of oil, prayed over it and gave instructions to apply it onto the woman in labour pains. She gave birth to a son immediately whom she called Apa Til in gratitude to the saint (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 103).

Ed. Balestri/Hyvernat, p. 104, line 1:

ⲁⲥⲙⲟⲩϯ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ ϫⲉ ⲁⲡⲁⲧⲓⲗ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲫⲣⲁⲛ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ

‘She called him Apatil by name, according to the name of the saint.’

The saint’s fame spread quickly and reached the angry governor whom the devil advised to send a dressed up harlot to prison in order to seduce the saint and ruin his sanctity (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 104).

However, as soon as the harlot saw the saint, she venerated him and implored him to pray for her salvation. She left the prison converted and became a devoted Christian instead, in turn causing herself many others to convert (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 105).

The enraged governor commands Apa Til to be tortured and thrown in front of a lioness who had just given birth. Instead of attacking the saint, the lioness, however, bowed down and licked the saint’s wounds. In despair, the governor finally gave orders for the beheading of the saint (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 106).

Apa Til then uttered his final prayer, lacking a layout of his future cult, before hearing a heavenly voice addressing him as martyr and inviting him to join the rank of saints (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 107–108).

Balestri/Hyvernat p. 107, line 26–p. 108, line 3:

ⲁⲟⲩⲥⲙⲏ ϣⲱⲡⲓ ϩⲁⲣⲟϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲧⲫⲉ ⲉⲥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲁⲙⲟⲩ ϯⲛⲟⲩ ⲱ ⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲭⲥ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ
ⲙⲧⲟⲛ ⲙⲙⲟⲕ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ

‘A voice was above him from heaven, saying to him: “Come now, O holy martyr of Christ, saint Apa Til, and rest together with all the saints.”’

Apa Til then eagerly rejoined the soldiers for his beheading.

Afterwards, his body was buried locally next to other martyrs. But when his father and brother heard of his death, they came to retrieve his body and return it to their hometown Sabaru, where they built him a martyr shrine, placing his bones in it on day 16 of the month Epiph, a location where great miracles took place. (Balestri/Hyvernat p. 108).

Balestri/Hyvernat p. 108, lines 17–22:

ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϫⲓⲛⲑⲣⲟⲩⲉⲣⲁⲛⲁⲭⲱⲣⲓⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲛϫⲉ ⲛⲓⲙⲁⲧⲟⲓ ⲁⲩⲓ ⲛϫⲉ ϩⲁⲛⲣⲱⲙⲓ ⲙⲡⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲁⲩϫⲱⲗ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ
ⲡⲭⲥ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ ⲁⲩⲕⲟⲥϥ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲟⲩⲧⲓⲙⲏ ⲁⲩⲭⲁϥ ϧⲁⲧⲉⲛ ⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲛⲕⲉⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲁⲩϫⲱⲕ
ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲁϫⲱϥ

‘After the soldiers had withdrawn, faithful people came and wrapped the body of the holy martyr of Christ, saint Apa Til, and buried him in a worthy and honourable manner. They placed him near the body of other holy martyrs, those who had died before him.’

Balestri/Hyvernat p. 108, lines 23–31:

ⲙⲉⲛⲉⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲥⲱⲧⲉⲙ ⲛϫⲉ ⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲓⲭⲟⲥ ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲁⲓⲃⲓⲟⲥ ⲁϥϩⲱⲗ ⲛⲑⲟϥ ⲛⲉⲙ
ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲉϥϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲁϥⲓⲛⲓ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲥⲁⲃⲁⲣⲟⲩ ⲡⲟⲩϯⲙⲓ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲉⲧⲁⲩϫⲓⲙⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲥⲏⲟⲩ ⲛϩⲓⲣⲏⲛⲓⲕⲟⲛ
ⲁⲩⲕⲱⲧ ⲉϫⲱϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉⲙⲛⲟⲛ ⲁⲩⲭⲁ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲓⲋ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲃⲟⲧ ⲉⲡⲏⲡ ⲫⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲁ ϩⲁⲛⲛⲓϣϯ ⲙⲙⲏⲓⲛⲓ
ⲛⲉⲙ ϩⲁⲛⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲉⲩⲟϣ ϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ⲉⲩⲱⲟⲩ ⲛϯⲧⲣⲓⲁⲥ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲉⲩϣⲟⲩϣⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲙⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲉⲛϭⲥ ⲓⲏⲥ ⲡⲭⲥ

‘Afterwards, when Soterichos, the father of saint Apa Til, heard that he had completed this life, he went, together with Ioannes, his son, and brought the body of saint Apa Til back to their village Sabarou. When they found a peaceful period, they built a sacred shrine (topos) for him and placed his holy body in it on day 16 of the month Epiph, this (shrine) where great signs and numerous healings took place for the glory of the holy Trinity, making the holy martyr of our Lord Jesus Christ famous.’

At the end of the text, the saint is invoked as follows:

Balestri/Hyvernat p. 109, line 9:

ⲡⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ ϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲉⲙⲁⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘May the blessing of saint Apa Til be with us all! Amen.’

(Text: I. Balestri and H. Hyvernat, trans. A. Alcock, modified)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Til, Apa Til, young soldier from Sabaru in Lower Egypt : S02024 Saints, unnamed : S00518 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲓⲗ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • 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)

Sabarou Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Miracles experienced by the saint Miracles causing conversion Miracle with animals and plants Healing diseases and disabilities Fertility- and family-related miracles (infertility, marriages) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Relatives of the saint Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Soldiers Officials Torturers/Executioners Prisoners The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves) Other lay individuals/ people Demons Angels Animals

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


This Bohairic text is preserved in two codices, Cod. Vat. Copt. 62, fol. 56–172, and Cod. Vat. Copt. 66, fol. 156–171.


Text and Latin translation: Balestri, I., and Hyvernat, H., Acta Martyrum I, CSCO 43 (Paris, 1907, repr. Leuven, 1961), 89–109; CSCO 44 (Paris, 1908, repr. Leuven, 1960), 6–7 and 61–71. English translation: Alcock, A.,

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