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E05975: Coptic ostracon from Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt) with a letter addressed to a presbyter mentioning the celebration and the canon of Apa *Shenetom/Senetom (S02241), as well as an institution dedicated to Apa *Theodore (possibly the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita , S00480), in which a judgement was to be made; datable to the 7th century.

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posted on 2018-07-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Crum 105

In this letter addressed to the presbyter Ioannes, the sender is telling him that two people have been appointed to celebrate the feast at the place of Apa Shenetom and to receive a canon. Something or someone is also going to be judged inside the church of saint Theodore.

Lines 3–6 of the front of the ostracon read as follows:

ⲉⲓⲥ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲕⲟⲛⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲇ̣ⲓ̣ⲁ̣ⲕ̣(ⲟⲛⲟⲥ?) ⲁⲓⲧⲟϣⲟⲩ [ⲉⲧⲣⲉ]ⲩⲣϣⲁ ⲉⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ϣ[ⲉ]ⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ ⲛⲥⲉϫⲓ ⲡ[ⲉⲩ]ⲕⲁⲛⲟⲛ

'Behold, Ioannes and Konarios, the deacons (?), I have appointed them [to have] them celebrate the feast at the place of Apa Shenetom and to have them receive [their?] canon.'

Lines 1–2 and 6–7 of the reverse read as follows:

[ⲉ]ⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲕⲁⲛⲟⲛ ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲉⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ

'Concerning the canon from Apa Senetom, …'

ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲑⲉⲟ[ⲇ]ⲱⲣⲟⲥ

'… in (the church of) saint Apa Theodore.'

(Text: W. E. Crum; trans.: G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480 Shenetom, Apa Shenetom/Senetom, saint with cult in the area of Hermonthis : S02241 Apa Shenetom of Luxor : S01220

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲑⲉⲟ[ⲇ]ⲱⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ϣ[ⲉ]ⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ / ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲉⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ ⲁⲡⲁ ϣ[ⲉ]ⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ / ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲉⲛⲉⲧⲱⲙ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Ostracon/Pot-sherd Documentary texts - Letter


  • 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

Deir el-Bahari

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

Deir el-Bahari Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Church


This ostracon was found at Deir el-Bahari and is kept at the British Museum in London, inv. 32865. The text has been dated on palaeographical grounds.


Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), p. 18 and 23. = O.Crum

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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