Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Greek amulet from Oxyrhynchos (Middle Egypt), invoking the help of *Mary (Μother of Christ, S00033), *John (the Εvangelist, S00042), *Serenos/Sirenos (probably a martyr of Oxyrhynchos, S00134), *Philoxenos (saint with cult at Oxyrhynchos, S00443), *Viktor (presumably the Egyptian martyr, son of Romanos, S00749), *Ioustos/Justus (presumably the soldier and martyr of Antinoopolis, S01172), and all saints (S01151), datable to the 5th century.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Amulets

Liturgical texts - Invocations, prayers and spells

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet

P.Oxy. 8 1151

This text was created for a woman named Ioannia to ward off fever and all other illnesses and evils. It cites the beginning of the Gospel of John and alludes to other New Testament passages, before invoking the power of a selection of saints.

Lines 38–52 read as follows:

κ̣α̣ὶ πρεσβίαις τῆς
δεσποίνης ἡμῶν τῆς
θεοτόκου καὶ τῶν
ἐνδόξων ἀρχαγγέ-
λων κ(αὶ) τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ ἐν-
δόξου ἀποστόλου κ(αὶ)
εὐαγγελιστοῦ κ(αὶ) θεο-
λόγου Ἰωάννου κ(αὶ) τοῦ
ἁγίου Σερήνου κ(αὶ) τοῦ
ἁγίου Φιλοξένου κ(αὶ) τοῦ
ἁγίου βήκτωρος κ(αὶ) τοῦ
ἁγίου Ἰούστου κ(αὶ) πάντων
[τῶ]ν ἁγίων.

'Pray through the intercession of our lady the mother of God (
Theotokos) and the glorious archangels and Saint John, the glorious apostle and evangelist and divine, and saint Serenos and saint Philoxenos and saint Viktor and saint Justos and all the saints.'

(Text and trans: A. S. Hunt)

A complete record of the text can be found at:;8;1151

Non Liturgical Activity



The papyrus was found at Oxyrhynchos folded and bound with a string. It is now housed at Glasgow, University MS Gen. 1026/12. The text of the amulet has been dated on palaeographical grounds.


Hunt, A.S., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol. VIII, Published by the Egypt Exploration Society in Graeco-Roman Memoirs (London, 1911), 251–253.

See further literature at:;8;1151

Record Created By

Gesa Schenke

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of Christδεσποίνη ἡμῶν ἡ θεοτόκος Certain
S00042John, the Apostle and EvangelistἸωάννηςCertain
S00134Sirenos/Serenos, probably a martyr of OxyrhynchosΣερῆνοςUncertain
S00443Philoxenos, saint with cult at OxyrhynchosΦιλόξενοςCertain
S00518Saints, unnamedCertain
S00518Saints, unnamedCertain
S00749Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr of Egypt, and companion martyrsβήκτωρCertain
S01151All SaintsCertain
S01172Ioustos, soldier and martyr of Antinoopolis ἸούστοςUncertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Gesa Schenke, Cult of Saints, E02285 -