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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

Coptic funerary inscription with a long invocation to a large number of saints including *Michael (the Archangel, S00181),*Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), *Adam and *Zoe/Eve (S00772), the Prophets, the Apostles (S00084), the Martyrs and Confessors, and Apa *Apollo (founder of the monastery at Bawit, 4th century, S00160), Apa *Anoup, and Apa *Phib (S00774), as well as a long list of holy monastic figures. The inscription on a limestone stele presumably dates to the 6th/9th century, and most likely comes from Bawit (Middle Egypt).

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

KSB 1 792

ⲡⲓⲱⲧ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ [ⲡⲡⲛⲁ ⲉ]ⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡ[ⲉⲛⲓⲱ-]
ⲧ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲧⲉⲛⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲡⲉⲛⲓⲱⲧ [ⲁⲇⲁ-]
ⲙ ⲧⲉⲛⲙⲁⲩ ⲍⲱⲏ ⲡϫⲟⲩⲧⲁϥⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲉ[ⲥⲃⲩ-]
ⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲣⲏⲧⲏ ⲙⲡⲉⲡⲛⲁ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙ-
ⲡⲁⲧⲣⲓⲁⲣⲭⲏⲥ ⲛⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲟ[ⲥⲧⲟ-]
ⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛϩⲟⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲓⲧⲏⲥ [ⲛⲛⲟϭ]
ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲛⲟⲩⲡ ⲁ[ⲡ-]
ⲁ ⲫⲓⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲧⲉⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲣⲟⲟⲩ ⲁ-
ⲡⲁ ⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲭⲣⲓⲥⲧⲟⲧⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲧⲱ-
ⲟⲑⲉ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲁⲣⲓ ⲡⲙⲉⲩⲉ ⲛ-
ⲁⲡⲁ ⲗⲉⲟⲛⲧⲥⲉ ⲡⲣⲉⲙ ⲙⲡⲁⲛⲁⲁϩⲟⲥ̣ ⲁϥ-
ⲙⲧⲟⲛ ⲙⲟϥ ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ⲙⲏⲧ ⲛⲭⲓⲁϩⲕ ⲁⲡⲁ
[ⲙ]ⲁⲕⲁⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲉⲣⲏⲙⲓⲁⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ϩⲱⲣ ⲁ-
[ⲡⲁ] ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛⲏⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲥⲏⲫ
[ⲁ]ⲡⲁ ⲡϣⲟⲓ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ
[ⲁ]ⲡⲁ ⲟⲩⲉⲛⲛⲟϥⲣ ⲁⲡⲁ ϩⲗⲟ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲓⲗⲃ-
ⲁⲛⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲉⲩⲇⲉⲙ[ⲱⲛ]
ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲙⲱⲛⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ
[ⲓⲥ]ⲁⲕ ⲡⲣⲉⲙ ϩⲁϭⲟⲟⲩⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ϯⲟⲥⲕⲣⲉ ⲁ-
[ⲡⲁ] ⲫⲓⲗⲉⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲥⲭⲓⲣⲱⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲡ-
[ⲁ ϩⲁ]ⲧⲣⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲙⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲥⲁⲛⲁ ⲙⲛ . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

'Father, Son, (and) Holy [Spirit. Our father] Michael, our mother Mary, our father [Adam], our mother Zoe, the twenty-four excellent presbyters of the Holy Spirit, the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, the confessors, [the great] men, Apa Apollo, Apa Anoup, Apa Phib, Apa Patermoute, Apa Proou, Apa Amoun, Apa Christotre, Apa To(r)othe, (and) all the saints, remember Apa Leontse, the man from Panaahos! He has gone to rest on day 10 of the month Choiak.
Apa Makare, Apa Jeremias, Apa Hor, Apa John, Apa Jacob, Apa Joseph, Apa Pshoi, Apa Paule, Apa Sourous, Apa Ounnophre, Apa Hlo, Apa Silvane, Apa Pamoun, Apa Eudemon, Apa Amone, Apa Phoibamon, Apa Isaac, the man from Hagooure, Apa Dioscre, Apa Phileas, and Apa Ischiron with Apa Hatre and Ama Susana, and …'

Translation: G. Schenke.

Non Liturgical Activity



The grave stele JE 60560 is kept at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.


The invocation in two parts, lines 1–10 and 12–22, is far longer than the actual mention of the deceased and his details. It seems to divide 'saints' listed in the first part of the invocation, from 'holy figures' in the second.


Hasitzka, M.R.M., Koptisches Sammelbuch I (KSB I) (Vienna, 1993), 266-267.

Record Created By

Gesa Schenke

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of Christⲧⲉⲛⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁCertain
S00084Apostles, unnamed or name lostⲛⲁⲡⲟ[ⲥⲧⲟ]ⲗⲟⲥCertain
S00181Michael, the Archangelⲡ[ⲉⲛⲓⲱ]ⲧ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗCertain
S00772Adam and Zoe/Eveⲡⲉⲛⲓⲱⲧ [ⲁⲇⲁ]ⲙ, ⲧⲉⲛⲙⲁⲩ ⲍⲱⲏCertain
S00774Apollo, Phib, and Anoup, monks and monastic founders[ⲛⲛⲟϭ]ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲛⲟⲩⲡ ⲁ[ⲡ]ⲁ ⲫⲓⲃCertain
S01584Sourous, Apa Sourous, superior and holy man at the monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jemeⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥCertain

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Gesa Schenke, Cult of Saints, E01251 -