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E05399: Coptic Sermon attributed to Apa *Psote (ob. 305, S01468), bishop of Psoi/Ptolemais (Upper Egypt), in the early morning before his martyrdom (by beheading), encouraging his congregation to follow a godly path and to celebrate his memory; written most likely prior to the 6th century.

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posted on 2018-05-04, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Celebrating an early morning mass with his congregation, bishop Psote mentions that soldiers are waiting for him outside to take him to the governor Arianus where he will die as a martyr for the name of Christ.

He encourages his congregation to pursue a humble life, free of sin, and in accordance to the will of God, reminding them of the inevitable moment of eternal judgement.

The text is introduced as follows:

Ed. Orlandi, p. 78, lines 1–5:

ⲟⲩⲕⲁⲑⲩⲅⲏⲥⲓⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲓⲱⲧ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲯⲟⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲡⲥⲟⲓ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲛϣⲱⲣⲡ ⲛⲧⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲏ
ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲁⲣⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲛⲑⲩⲃⲁⲉⲓⲥ ⲧⲛⲛⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲥⲱϥ ⲉⲃⲓ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲁⲡⲉ ⲉⲁϥⲡⲁⲣⲁⲕⲁⲗⲓ ⲛⲡⲃⲉⲗⲉⲧⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲡⲣⲣⲟ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲙⲁⲧⲟⲓ
ⲙⲡϩⲏⲅⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩⲕⲁϯⲭⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉⲁϥⲣ ⲧⲉⲩϣⲏ ⲧⲏⲣⲥ ⲉϥϩⲟⲙⲉⲗⲓ ⲉⲡⲗⲁⲟⲥ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘A sermon by our holy father Apa Psote, the great bishop of the city Psoi. He delivered it early on Sunday, when Arianos, the governor of the Thebais, had sent for him, to be beheaded. He asked the messenger of the emperor and the soldiers of the governor to hold back, and he spent the whole night preaching to the community. In peace. Amen.’

Psote reminds his congregation that already as a child he had numerous visions, being approached by the Angel of the Lord foretelling him the future. He is certain now that he will die as a martyr being sentenced to death by the governor Arianos whose soldiers are waiting to arrest him.

Bidding his congregation farewell, bishop Psote asks them to remember him. [Whether this ought to be understood as an encouragement of cult remains debatable, but since this demand is connected with the well-being and salvation of each member of the congregation, Psote’s wish does seem to concern the celebration of his feast day.]

Ed. Orlandi, p. 84, lines 15–17:

ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲁⲓ ϯⲱⲣⲕ ⲉⲣⲱⲧⲛ ⲱ ⲛⲁϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲉⲣⲓⲧ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲧⲉⲧⲛϭⲱ ⲉⲧⲉⲧⲛⲉⲓⲣⲉ ⲙⲡⲁⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲟⲩⲁⲅⲁⲡⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲧⲉⲛⲣ
ⲁⲡⲁⲧⲟⲟⲧⲧⲏⲩⲧⲛ ⲉⲣ ϩⲱⲃ ⲉⲡⲉⲧⲛⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲙⲙⲓⲛ ⲙⲙⲱⲧⲛ ϫⲉ ⲡⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲡⲉ ⲣⲡⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ

‘Therefore, I am invoking you, my beloved children, to ensure that you continue to celebrate my memory according to the love of God, and that you thrive to labour for your own salvation, as the salvation of each person is to follow the law of God.’

(Text: T. Orlandi, trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Psote, Apa Psote, martyr and bishop in the Thebais : S01468

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲯⲟⲧⲉ

Type of Evidence

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)

Psoi Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Soldiers Officials Crowds Angels


Codex BM Or. 7597, fol. 1–8, from Edfu, now in the British Library in London, datable to the second half of the 10th century.


Text and Italian translation: Orlandi, T. Il Dossier copto del martire Psote (Milan, 1978), 77–92. Text and English translation: Budge, E.A.W., Miscellaneous Coptic Texts (London, 1915), 147–155 (text), 1141–1157 (translation). English translation: Alcock, A., "Teachig of Apa Psote, the Great Bishop of Psoi," Overview: Orlandi, T., "Psote of Psoi, Saint," in: A.S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 6 (New York, 1991), 2031–2032.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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