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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Coptic agreement from Jeme (Upper Egypt) settling a dispute over inheritance, listing among the witnesses a deacon of a local church dedicated to the *Apostles (S00084), as well as a deacon and a priest of the local church of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033); dated 26 February 738.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet

Documentary texts - Other private document

P.KRU 38:

At the end of this settlement of dispute follows a list of witnesses, of which one is a a deacon of the church of the Apostle, while two other are clergymen of the church of Mary.

Lines 67–70 and 73–75 read as follows:

+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲑⲓ[ⲟⲥ] ⲡⲉⲗⲁⲭ(ⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ) ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟ(ⲛⲟⲥ) ⲙⲡⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥ ϯⲟ ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲗⲁⲭ(ⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ) ⲛⲡⲣⲉⲥⲃⲩ(ⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ) ⲛⲑⲉⲱⲇⲟⲕ(ⲟⲥ) ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ ϯⲟ ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲁⲛⲁⲥⲧⲁⲥⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲗⲁⲭⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕ(ⲟⲛⲟⲥ) ⲛⲑⲉⲱⲇⲟⲕ(ⲟⲥ) ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲁⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ϩⲁ ⲡⲉⲓⲙⲁⲣⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲱ ⲙⲙⲛⲧⲣⲏ

'I Papnouthios, the least deacon of the Apostle, I act as a witness.
I, Paulos, the least priest of the Mother of God Maria, I act as a witness.

I, Anastasios, the least deacon of the Mother of God, Maria, I have written for this witness and I act as a witness.'

(Text: W. E. Crum and G. Steindorff, German trans. W. C. Till, Engl. trans. G. Schenke)

Cult Places

Cult building - unspecified
Cult building - independent (church)


The papyrus document, BM Ms Add. 31290, fol. 281, is described in the British Museum catalogue, no. 424. The original is now housed at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, as Ms Copt a 6 (p).


The church of the Apostle(s) is also mentioned in another document from Jeme, P.KRU 36, where a different deacon of this church acts as a scribe for one of the witnesses mentioned, see E04023.


Edition and Translation:
Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 130–133.

Till, W.C.,
Erbrechtliche Untersuchungen auf Grund der koptischen Urkunden (Vienna, 1954), 121–123 (German Translation).

Record Created By

Gesa Schenke

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of Christⲑⲉⲱⲇⲟⲕ ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁCertain
S00084Apostles, unnamed or name lostⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Gesa Schenke, Cult of Saints, E04025 -