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E06907: Coptic Encomion on *John the Baptist (S00020), from Edfu (Upper Egypt), attributed to John Chrysostom; allegedly originally written in the early 5th century and translated presumably sometime between the 5th and 9th centuries.

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posted on 2018-10-17, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Brit. Mus. Ms. Oriental 7024:

ⲟⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲉⲛⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲱⲧ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲏⲩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲥⲙⲟⲧ ⲛⲓⲙ · ⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ
ⲛⲕⲱⲥⲧⲁⲛϯⲛⲟⲩⲡⲟⲗⲥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲉⲭⲣⲩⲥⲟⲥⲧⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ · ⲉⲡⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲧⲁⲟ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡϯⲥⲧⲏⲥ · ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲇⲣⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲥⲩⲅⲅⲉⲛⲏⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲭⲥ · ⲡⲉⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ ϩⲛ ⲡⲉϫⲡⲟ ⲛⲛⲉϩⲟⲙⲉ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲉⲧⲟ ⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ·
ⲡⲉⲛⲧⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϫⲁⲥⲧϥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲁⲟ · ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲟⲟⲩ · ⲡⲁⲣⲁ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ · ⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲟⲧⲃ ⲉⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲃⲃⲟ ·

‘An encomion which our holy and in every respect honourable father, saint Apa John, the archbishop of Constantinople and holy Chrysostom, delivered concerning the glory and honour of saint John the Baptist, the holy forerunner and kinsman of Christ, he who no one born from women is greater than him, he whom God exalted through honour and glory beyond all the saints, he who surpasses the angels in purity.’

The text claims that the name of John the Baptist has healing powers working like a medicine. It relates the circumstances of the murder of John and Christ's reaction when hearing about it. Christ departs into the desert and there celebrates a funerary meal for John with thousands of men, women and children, as one does, when a family member dies.

Relating episodes of John's life, the story of Elisabeth fleeing with John into the desert to avoid Herod's killing is presented, and the way they both lived without trouble among the rocks in the wilderness elaborated.
A large part of the encomion is then spent on the question how the exquisite purity of John was determined.

(Text and trans. E. A. W. Budge, slightly modified; summary G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡϯⲥⲧⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • 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

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings


The parchment manuscript Brit. Mus. Ms. Oriental 7024 is kept at the British Library in London. The colophon gives AD 985 as the date of manuscript production. The finished manuscript, containing also other texts, was then donated by the scribe to the Monastery of Saint Merkourios on the mountain of Edfu.


Text and Translation: Budge, E.A.W., "An Encomion on Saint John the Baptist, by Saint John Chrysostom," in: Idem, Coptic Apocrypha in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, London 1913, 128–145 (text) and 335–351 (trans.).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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