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E07053: Coptic Martyrdom of *James/Iakobos the Dismembered (S01660), relating the circumstances of the translation of his remains, first from Persia to Jerusalem, and then, with Peter the Iberian, from Jerusalem via Alexandria to Oxyrhynchos in Middle Egypt, where a martyr shrine is built for his relics that soon becomes a successful healing shrine; most likely written sometime during the 6th century.

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posted on 2018-11-02, 00:00 authored by Bryan
For the Syriac original see $E07154

Cod. Vat. Copt. 59, fols. 156–212:

The title of the manuscript reads as follows:

ⲡⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲗⲟⲅⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲓⲁⲑⲗⲟⲫⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲭⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲡⲓⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲛⲓⲡⲉⲣⲥⲏⲥ ⲉⲧⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲁⲅⲱⲛ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲕⲍ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲃⲟⲧ ⲁⲑⲱⲣ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩϩⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲫϯ ⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘The martyr account of the crown bearer and martyr of Christ, Iakobos, the one from Persia, who completed his contest on day 27 of the month Hathyr [23 November]. In God’s peace. Amen.’

The date of his martyrdom is presented as follows (ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 50, lines 6–10):

ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲉⲡⲓⲥⲏⲟⲩ ⲡⲉ ⲉⲩⲟⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲣⲟ ⲛϫⲉ ⲁⲣⲕⲁⲇⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲟⲛⲛⲟⲩⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲛϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲙⲡⲓⲉⲩⲥⲉⲃⲏⲥ ⲛⲟⲩⲣⲟ ⲑⲉⲟⲇⲟⲥⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲓⲁⲩⲅⲟⲩⲥⲧⲟⲥ
ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲓⲣⲱⲙⲉⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲕⲍ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲃⲟⲧ ⲛⲟⲉⲙⲃⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲁⲑⲱⲣ ⲡⲉ ⲛⲣⲟⲩϩⲓ ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϯⲡⲁⲣⲁⲥⲕⲉⲩⲏ

‘It was the time of the emperors Arcadius [395–408 in the East] and Honorius [395–423 in the West], the sons of the pious emperor Theodosius, the Roman Augustus, on day 27 of the month November, which is Hathor, on Friday evening.’

The Coptic text of this martyr account relates the additional story of how the saint’s relics become buried in a martyr shrine built for him at Paim, a village in the Eastern outskirts of Oxyrhynchos.

Already while imprisoned during his trial, the praying martyr has a vision of Christ accompanied by saints. Christ urges him to remain strong telling him that he will make him famous even in such far away places as Egypt. Afterwards, the saints attend to the martyr’s wounds and his body is healed instantly.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 33, line 31–p. 34, line 9:

ⲟⲩⲟϩ ϯⲛⲁⲑⲣⲉ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁⲛ ⲉⲣⲥⲱⲓⲧ ϧⲉⲛ ⲙⲁⲓ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ϣⲁ ⲉϧⲣⲏⲓ ⲉⲧⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲉⲕⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ⲙⲉⲛⲉⲛⲥⲁ
ⲟⲩⲥⲏⲟⲩ ⲥⲉⲛⲁⲕⲱⲧ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲉⲟⲩⲉⲣⲫⲙⲉⲩⲓ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲫⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ϩⲁⲛⲛⲓϣϯ ⲛϫⲟⲙ ⲛⲉⲙ
ϩⲁⲛϣⲫⲏⲣⲓ ⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲑⲛⲁⲉⲣⲉⲧⲓⲛ ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁⲛ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲁⲩϯ ⲙⲡⲟⲩⲟⲩⲟⲓ ⲛϫⲉ ⲡⲭⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ
ⲁⲩⲑⲉⲕⲉⲙ ⲛⲓⲕⲁϣ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲁϥⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲛϯⲟⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲉϥⲟⲩⲟϫ

‘“I will cause your name to be famous everywhere, as far as the land of Egypt, the place where your body will rest. After a while a martyr shrine (martyrion) will be built there for you in your memory, the place where great miracles and wonders will occur to anyone who will pray to me through your name.”
The chorus of saints made their way and removed all the reeds from his body. He was healed instantly and his entire body became complete.’

After the saint’s martyrdom, his remains including his head and all 32 limbs were retrieved by faithful men and buried in great haste at a secret spot.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 50, lines 19–23:

ⲁⲩ{ⲁⲩ}ϫⲱⲗ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲉϥⲙⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲩⲓⲣⲓ ⲙⲗⲃ ⲙⲙⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲧⲉϥⲁⲫⲉ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲁⲩⲕⲟⲥϥ ϧⲉⲛ
ⲟⲩⲛⲓϣϯ ⲛⲥⲡⲟⲩⲇⲏ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲭⲱⲡ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲡⲉϥⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲉⲧⲁⲣⲟⲩϩⲓ ⲇⲉ ϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲁⲩⲭⲁϥ ⲉϧⲣⲏⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉⲙⲛⲟⲛ

‘They gathered the body of the saint together with all his limbs, making 32 limbs, as well as his head and his body and buried him in great haste and concealment as befitted him. When it was evening they placed him inside a sacred shrine (topos).’

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 51, lines 2–6:

ⲁⲩⲕⲱⲥ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲅⲉⲛⲛⲉⲟⲥ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲧⲁⲓⲟ ⲁⲩⲭⲁϥ ϧⲁⲧⲉⲛ ⲛⲉⲛⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛϩⲁⲛⲕⲉⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ
ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲁⲩⲉⲣⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ϩⲱⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲥⲏⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲥⲁⲃⲱⲣ ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟ ⲛⲛⲓⲡⲉⲣⲥⲏⲥ

‘The body of the holy and noble man, saint Jakobos, was buried honourably. It was buried beside the bodies of the other holy martyrs, those who had also endured martyrdom at the time of Shapur the Persian king.’

Once his relatives heard about his martyrdom, they arrived and brought proper garments and gifts to his burial site. They gave goods to the saints buried there and took care of his remains, building him a martyr shrine (martyrion) in which the faithful would gather singing hymns.

When the king heard about the worship for these martyrs, he gave orders to burn and destroy any such cult places. As a result, faithful people secretly removed the bodies of the saints at night and brought them to Jerusalem.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 52, lines 19–28:

ⲁⲩⲃⲟⲣⲃⲉⲣ ⲛⲛⲓⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲟⲩⲁⲓ ⲟⲩⲁⲓ ⲁⲩⲧⲁϫⲣⲱⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ϩⲁⲛⲥⲟⲕ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲁⲩϣⲓⲃϯ ⲙⲡⲟⲩⲥⲭⲏⲙⲁ ⲁⲩϯϩⲓⲱⲧⲟⲩ
ⲙⲡⲥⲭⲏⲙⲁ ⲛⲛⲓⲙⲁⲅⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲓⲡⲉⲣⲥⲏⲥ ⲁⲩⲧⲁⲗⲟ ⲉⲣⲱⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲓⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲓⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲉⲛⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲛⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ
ⲁⲩⲙⲟϣⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲱⲓⲧ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲛⲉⲙⲱⲟⲩ ⲛϩⲙ ⲛⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲙⲟϣⲓ
ⲁⲩⲓ ⲉⲓⲗⲏⲙ ⲁⲩⲭⲱ ⲛⲛⲓⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲓⲅⲉⲛⲛⲉⲟⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲛϧⲣⲏⲓ ϧⲉⲛ
ⲟⲩⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲩⲙⲟⲩϯ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲫⲁⲛⲓⲩⲃⲉⲣⲓⲟⲥ

‘They pulled the martyrs’ bodies forth, one by one, and fastened them in bags. They changed their dress and put on the dress of the Persian Magi. They loaded the body of the blessed Iakobos and the bodies of the holy martyrs onto themselves and walked with them on a direct route for a 40 days journey. They came to Jerusalem and deposited the bodies of the saints and the body of the noble, holy martyr Iakobos in a monastery called Phaniuberious ('that of the Iberians').’

Peter, the bishop of Gaza (c. 417-491), a descendant of Iberian kings, was a monk at that monastery, he was referred to as 'Abba Peter, the lover of martyrs' (Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 53, lines 6–7: ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ

Because of his anti-Chalcedonian position, Peter the Iberian left Jerusalem and went to Alexandria.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 53, lines 8–18:

ⲁⲥϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲇⲉ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲥⲏⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲛⲁⲣⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲕⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲟⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲣⲟ ⲉⲛⲓⲣⲱⲙⲉⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲁϩⲥⲁϩⲛⲓ ⲉⲉⲣⲇⲓⲱⲕⲓⲛ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲓⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ
ⲛⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ ⲉⲑⲃⲉ ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲟⲩⲟⲩⲁϩⲟⲩ ⲛⲥⲁ ϯⲥⲩⲛⲟⲇⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲁⲥϣⲱⲡⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲭⲁⲗⲕⲏⲇⲱⲛ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲓⲧⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲗⲉⲱⲛ ⲗⲟⲓⲡⲟⲛ
ⲁⲩϭⲟϫⲓ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ ϩⲱϥ ⲡⲓⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲓ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ ϯⲙⲏⲧⲣⲟⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲃ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲙⲁⲑⲏⲧⲏⲥ
ⲉϩⲁⲛⲓⲉⲣⲟⲥⲟⲗⲟⲙⲓⲧⲏⲥ ⲛⲉ ⲁⲩⲱⲗⲓ ⲛⲛⲓⲗⲩⲙⲯⲁⲛⲟⲛ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲭⲏ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲕⲁⲯⲁ ⲛϩⲁⲧ ⲁⲩⲉⲛⲟⲩ
ⲉⲟⲩⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲕⲱϯ ⲛⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ ⲁⲩⲭⲁⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ

‘And it happened at that time that Markianos was the Roman emperor [450-457]. He demanded to prosecute the orthodox bishops, because they did not follow the synod that had taken place in Chalcedon and the tome of Leo. Thus, Abba Peter himself was pursued. He reached Alexandria, the Egyptian metropolis. Two of his disciples, men from Jerusalem, collected the holy relics of saint Iakobos, lying in a silver casket, went to a monastery near Alexandria and deposited them there.’

But because Proterios, the archbishop of Alexandria, had orthodox (non-Chalcedonian) monks rounded up and ejected from their monasteries, Peter the Iberian decided to leave the monastery near Alexandria to return to Gaza, when Iakobos appeared to him in a vision asking him to go to Oxyrhynchos instead.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 54, lines 2–14:

ⲛⲁⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲉϥⲙⲟⲕⲙⲉⲕ ⲉⲣⲱⲟⲩ ϩⲏⲡⲡⲉ ⲓⲥ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲣϣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲉϯⲡⲁⲗⲉⲥⲧⲓⲛⲏ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲁϣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉϯⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲙϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛⲧⲉⲕϣⲱⲡⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲁⲓⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲅⲁⲣ ⲉⲟϩⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ
ⲫⲣⲏϯ ⲉⲧⲁ ⲡⲟⲥ ⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉⲕⲱⲧ ⲛⲏⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲅⲁⲣ ⲡⲉⲑⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲛϭⲁⲩⲙⲱⲓⲧ ϧⲉⲛ ⲙⲱⲓⲧ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲧⲉⲕⲛⲁϣⲉ ⲛϧⲏⲧⲟⲩ ϣⲁⲧⲉⲕⲧϩⲉⲙⲥⲟ ⲛⲛⲁⲕⲁⲥ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉϯⲛⲁⲧⲁⲙⲟⲕ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛⲭⲱⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲥⲁ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲃⲧ ⲛϯⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲡⲉⲙϫⲉ ⲛⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲥⲧⲁⲇⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲁⲓⲙ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲁⲥⲡⲓ ⲛⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙ ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ

‘While he (Peter) was considering these things, behold, saint Iakobos appeared to him. He said to him: “Do not go to Palestine, but rise and make your way to the city of Pemje [Oxyrhynchos] in Egypt, that place where you have been (all along). For I wish to stay there, just as the Lord wished to build a martyr shrine for me there. For it is I who shall be your guide on any path you shall walk, until you deposit my bones at the place which I will point out to you, in a small village east of the city of Pemje, about five stadia, called Paim in the Egyptian language.”’

Peter the Iberian left Alexandria accompanied by men carrying the bones of the saint. When he reached Oxyrhynchos, he stayed with a rich politeuomenos of the city, called Moyses, who hosted him with joy.

When Proterius, the patriarch of Alexandria, heard that Peter the Iberian was staying with Moyses at Oxyrhynchos, he sent soldiers to arrest him. Moyses then told Peter to hide at Paim, a place East of Oxyrhynchos owned by Moyses. The travellers took the martyr’s bones there and celebrated masses around him, when they had another vision of the martyr Iakobos and his companions, all in Persian dress resembling depictions of the prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Children, standing with the travellers and singing psalms.
Saint Iakobos told them that this was the place that was appointed to him as his burial site. He asked them to come a little further south of the village, where the promised martyr shrine should be built for him.

Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 56, lines 1–12:

ⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲥⲁⲣⲏⲥ ⲙⲡⲓϯⲙⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛⲧⲉⲕϣⲗⲏⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ϩⲱϯ ⲅⲁⲣ ⲡⲉ ⲉⲑⲣⲟⲩⲕⲱⲧ ⲛⲏⲓ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ
ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲛⲥⲉⲭⲱ ⲙⲡⲁⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ϫⲉ ϩⲓⲛⲁ ⲉϥⲉϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲑⲉⲣⲁⲡⲓⲁ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲑⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲙⲡϭⲥ ⲛϧⲣⲏⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧϥ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲥⲉⲧⲱⲃϩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲛ
ⲁϥⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛϫⲉ ⲡⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲓⲥⲛⲏⲟⲩ ⲁⲩϣⲗⲏⲗ ⲁⲩⲉⲣⲥⲫⲣⲁⲅⲓⲍⲓⲛ ⲙⲡⲓⲕⲁϩⲓ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲛϫⲉ ⲡⲉⲛⲱⲧ ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ
ⲁϥⲭⲁ ⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲙⲙⲁⲛϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲉⲙⲡⲁⲧⲟⲩⲕⲉⲧ ⲡⲓⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲅⲁⲣ
ⲡⲉ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ

‘Arise and come a bit south of the village where you have prayed. For it is fitting to have a martyrion built there for me and to have my body placed in it, so that it shall become a cure for anyone who will come there in the Lord and will pray in my name.”
The saint came forth with the brothers. They prayed and our father Abba Peter made the sign of the cross over the earth of that place and put the body of the holy martyr Iakobos in that spot as a short term dwelling place, since the shrine (topos) had not yet been bu


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Jacob/James the Dismembered, martyr of Persia under Bahram V, ob. 421 : S01660

Saint Name in Source

ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲡⲓⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲛⲓⲡⲉⲣⲥⲏⲥ

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 name in other Language(s)

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Officials Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - bishops


The text forms part of a larger codex, Cod. Vat. Copt. 59, fols. 156–212, kept at the Vatican Library in Rome. The colophon dates the manuscript to the year AD 824.


Text and translation: Balestri, I., and Hyvernat, H., Acta Martyrum, vol. 2, CSCO 86 (Paris, 1924; repr. Leuven, 1953), 24–61. Alcock, A., "James the Persian" : (accessed 09/08/2019). Further reading: O’Leary, De Lacy, The Saints of Egypt (London, 1937), 161.

Continued Description

ilt there.’Afterwards, Peter the Iberian decided to return to Gaza, but his companions who had carried the relics did not wish to part with the saint Iakobos, and wanted to take him with them. They took his remains back and put them in a drinking trough made of stone. While they looked for a boat on the river bank, the saint appeared to them demanding to be left at Paim where the Lord had intended his body to be deposited.Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 57, lines 23–26:ⲛⲁⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲧⲁϥϫⲟⲧⲟⲩ ⲛⲱⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲝⲁⲡⲓⲛⲁ ⲁⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲙ ϯϫⲱⲧ ⲛⲱⲛⲓ ⲁⲩϩⲟⲗⲙⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲁⲏⲣ ⲁⲩⲭⲁⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲟⲩⲁⲛ ⲥⲁⲣⲏⲥ ⲙⲡⲁⲓⲙ ⲙⲡⲓⲉϫⲱⲣϩ‘After he had said these things to them, suddenly the body of the saint and the drinking trough made of stone were seized into the air and deposited on the dyke south of Paim at night.’A pious virgin from that village (Paim) named Theodora then had a vision of Iakobus in Persian dress who told her who he was and asked her not to be afraid of him. He informed her that he would become a strength and support for herself as well as for her whole town. He then asked her to inform the local priest and retrieve the stone trough with his remains. When she had told the priest, he came with the clergy and the townsfolk, holding candles and incense, and singing psalms; they took the trough with the remains of the saint and brought it into the church of the town.Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 58, lines 23–26:ⲁⲩⲉⲣϩⲏⲧⲥ ⲛⲕⲱⲧ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ϩⲓϫⲉⲛ ⲡⲓⲟⲩⲁⲛ ⲥⲁⲣⲏⲥ ⲙⲡⲓϯⲙⲓ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲁⲩϫⲟⲕϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ϩⲁⲛⲕⲟⲩϫⲓ ⲛⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ϣⲁ ⲥⲟⲩ ⲅ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲃⲟⲧ ⲙⲉⲭⲓⲣ ⲟⲩⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲙⲡⲁⲓⲣⲏϯ ⲉⲥⲧⲁⲓⲏⲟⲩⲧ‘They began to build a martyr shrine (martyrion) for him on the dyke, south of the village. It was completed within a few days, by day 3 of the month Mecheir [28 January], a church of the noble kind.’ Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 59, lines 1–3:Ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϫⲓⲛⲑⲣⲟⲩϫⲱⲕ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲁⲩⲓⲛⲓ ⲙⲡⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲙⲫⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲉⲩⲉⲣⲯⲁⲗⲓⲛ ϧⲁϫⲱϥ‘After the holy martyrion was completed, the body of the saint was brought forth to the accompaniment of psalms.’ Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 59, lines 10–24:ⲓⲥϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲟⲩⲁⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲣⲁⲛⲧⲓⲗⲉⲅⲓⲛ ⲉϥϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲉⲧⲁ ⲡⲁⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲁϣ ⲛⲣⲏϯ ϧⲉⲛ ⲧⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲉⲟⲩⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲡⲉ ϧⲉⲛ ⲧⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲛⲛⲓⲡⲉⲣⲥⲏⲥ ⲫⲁⲓ ⲙⲁⲣⲉϥⲉⲙⲓ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲫⲏ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲓⲛⲓ ⲛⲓⲱⲥⲏϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲕⲁϩⲓ ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲙⲉⲛⲉⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲉϥⲙⲟⲩ ⲁⲩϭⲓⲧϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲕⲁϩⲓ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲧⲉϥⲕⲗⲏⲣⲟⲛⲟⲙⲓⲁ ⲛⲑⲟϥ ⲟⲛ ⲡⲉⲧⲁϥϭⲓⲙⲱⲓⲧ ⲙⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲉⲛϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲑⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲟⲩϣⲉⲙϣⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧⲥ ⲙⲡⲓⲥⲱⲛⲧ ⲡⲁⲣⲁ ⲫⲏ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲥⲱⲛⲧ ⲉⲁϥⲉⲛϥ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲁ ϩⲁⲛⲙⲏϣ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ϫⲱⲕ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲟⲩⲁⲑⲗⲏⲥⲓⲥ ⲁⲩϭⲓ ⲙⲡⲓⲭⲗⲟⲙ ⲛⲁⲑⲗⲱⲙ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲁⲩⲑⲱⲟⲩϯ ⲉⲛⲟⲩⲉⲣⲏⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ϯⲭⲱⲣⲁ ⲧⲏⲣⲥ ⲉⲁⲩⲓ ⲉⲡⲓⲁⲓⲕ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲓⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲫⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲁⲩⲕⲟⲧϥ ⲛⲁϥ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲁⲩⲙⲟϣⲓ ϩⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲉⲙⲁϥ ⲉⲩⲱⲗⲓ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲉⲩⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲡⲓⲙⲏϣ ϫⲉ ⲛⲛⲉ ⲡⲇⲓⲁⲃⲟⲗⲟⲥ ⲫⲱⲗϩ ⲛⲟⲩⲁⲓ‘If someone objects, saying: “Why did this saint appear in the land of Egypt when he was from Persia?” Let him know that He who brought Joseph forth from Egypt after his death and took him to the land of his heritage, it is also He who guided saint Iakobos and brought him from a country where one worships the creation more than the creator, bringing him to Egypt, the place where multitudes of martyrs have completed their contest and received the incorruptible crown. These then, who have been gathered together in the entire land, having come for the consecration of the shrine (topos) which was built for him, they accompanied him, taking him to his oratory guarding the crowd so that the devil would not wound a single one.’Ed. Balestri–Hyvernat, vol. 2, p. 60, lines 2–19:ϩⲁⲛⲛⲓϣϯ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲁⲩϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲓⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲁⲩϭⲓⲧϥ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲉⲛⲛⲁϣϭⲓⲏⲡⲓ ⲙⲙⲱⲟⲩ ⲁⲛ ⲉⲟⲩⲡⲗⲏⲣⲟⲫⲟⲣⲓⲁ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲟⲩⲑⲱⲧ ⲛϩⲏⲧ ⲛⲛⲁⲡⲓⲙⲁ ⲧⲏⲣϥ ⲉⲧⲉⲙⲙⲁⲩ ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲇⲱⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲁϣ ⲙⲙⲁ⟨ⲓ⟩ⲏ ⲡⲉⲧⲁⲩⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲟϩ ϧⲁⲧⲟⲧⲟⲩ ⲉϥⲟⲓ ⲛⲛⲁϣϯ ⲛⲱⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁⲁⲓⲧⲟⲩ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲁϥϭⲓ ⲙⲱⲓⲧ ϧⲁϫⲱⲟⲩ ϧⲉⲛ ⲙⲱⲓⲧ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲛⲁⲙⲟϣⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧⲟⲩ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲟⲛ ϥⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲛⲛⲏⲉⲧϣⲱⲛⲓ ⲛϧⲏⲧⲟⲩ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ϥⲉⲣⲫⲁϧⲣⲓ ⲉⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲑⲙⲟⲕϩ ϧⲉⲛ ϩⲁⲛϣⲱⲛⲓ ⲉⲩϣⲉⲃⲓⲏⲟⲩⲧ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ϥϩⲓⲟⲩⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲛⲓⲇⲉⲙⲱⲛ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ϥⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲟⲩⲙⲏϣ ⲛⲥⲟⲡ ⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲛⲁⲡⲉϥⲗⲁⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲙⲉⲛⲣⲓⲧϥ ⲁϥϣⲱⲡⲓ ϧⲁⲧⲟⲧⲟⲩ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲑⲟϥ ⲟⲛ ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ ⲁϥϯϩⲟ ⲉⲡⲉⲛϭⲥ ⲓⲏⲥ ⲡⲭⲥ ⲉϫⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲑⲛⲏⲟⲩ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲧⲑⲟⲩⲏⲧ ⲉϧⲟⲩⲛ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ϥϭⲓ ⲛⲧⲟⲧⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲟⲩⲇⲱⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲟⲩⲡⲣⲟⲥⲫⲟⲣⲁ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲟⲩⲁⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏ ⲉϥⲉⲣⲡⲣⲉⲥⲃⲉⲩⲓⲛ ϧⲁⲣⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲉⲛ ⲡⲭⲥ| ⲓⲏⲥ ⲡⲉⲛϭⲥ‘Great healings took place through him on the day when he was taken into his holy martyr shrine (martyrion), healings which we will not be able to count with any certainty or satisfaction, (they occurred) to those of that whole place: What kind of gift it is, of which they had been worthy! He dwelled amongst them as a protector for them in everything they were to do. He was guiding them along every path on which they were to walk. He also still heals all those who are ill among them and cures anyone who suffers from various different illnesses. He expels demons and often appears, blessing those of his people whom he loved. He existed among them. He, saint Iakobos, also entreated our Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of anyone who comes to his holy topos and anyone who gathers inside in his name. He receives from them their gifts, their offerings and their first fruits (aparche), as he intercedes on their behalf with our Lord Jesus Christ.’(Text: Balestri–Hyvernat; trans. A. Alcock, modified)

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