Coptic Encomion on *Abbaton, the Angel of Death (S01947), attributed to Timothy, the archbishop of Alexandria (AD 381–384), delivered on the feast day of Abbaton, relating how Timothy visited the shrine (martyrion) of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) in the Valley of Iosaphat, and how he obtained a book from the library at Jerusalem in which Christ relates the reason for God’s creation of Abbaton to his disciples, from which he then reads or cites to the congregation, explaining to them that honouring the saints is a service to God; written allegedly in the late 4th century.
Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc.
Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts
Timothy of Alexandria
Ms. Oriental no. 7025, fol. 1a–32b
The text is introduced as follows:
Fol. 1a; Budge, p. 225, lines 1–6:
ⲟⲩⲉⲅⲕⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲟϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲡⲉⲛⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲉⲱⲧ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲏⲩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲥⲙⲟⲧ ⲛⲓⲙ · ⲁⲡⲁ ϯⲙⲟⲑⲉⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲣⲁⲕⲟⲧⲉ ·
ⲛⲧⲁϥⲧⲁⲩⲟⲟϥ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲧⲁϩⲟ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲛⲁⲃⲃⲁⲧⲱⲛ ⲡⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲩ ·
‘An encomion which our holy and in every respect honourable father, Apa Timotheos, the archbishop of Alexandria, delivered. He delivered it concerning the installation of Abbaton, the Angel of Death.’
The archbishop addressing the congregation on the feast day of Abbaton, the Angel of Death (9 November), relates to them what Christ had told his Apostles about the installation of Abbaton, created by God as a punishment for the transgression of Adam and Eve. The archbishop claims to have received this information from a book given to him during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, after he visited the shrine of Mary at the Valley of Iosaphat.
Fol. 4a; Budge, p. 228, lines 6–9:
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲧⲉⲓϩⲉ ⲁⲛⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲉⲑⲉⲟⲧⲟⲕⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲁⲣⲁ ⲡⲁ ⲛⲧⲁⲩⲕⲟⲧϥ ⲛⲁⲥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲁ ⲛⲓⲱⲥⲁⲫⲁⲧ ⲁⲛϫ ⲙⲡⲉⲥⲙⲟⲩ
ⲁⲛϣⲗⲏⲗ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲛⲧⲁⲩⲉⲓ ⲉⲡϣⲁ ·
‘And so we went to the shrine of Mary, the holy Theotokos, the one which was built for her in the Valley of Iosaphat. We received the blessing and prayed together with those who had come for the feast.’
The bishop encourages his audience to remain mindful of God and to abide by his laws, and to honour his saints, because a service to his saints is a service to God.
Fol. 3a–3b; Budge, p. 227, lines 17–31:
ⲛⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲥ ⲛⲉ ⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲙ ⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲧⲁϩⲟ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲛⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉⲩⲣⲡⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ·
‘Those who seek God are anyone who enquires after the installation of the angels of God as they appear at their holy commemoration.’
ⲛⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲡⲉ ⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲛϥⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲛⲛⲉⲩϩⲥⲉ · ⲛⲧⲁⲩϣⲟⲡⲟⲩ ⲛⲥⲉⲕⲁⲁⲩ ϩⲛ
‘Those who seek God is anyone who enquires after his saints and who is mindful of their sufferings which they have received and who establishes them in the churches.’
ⲛⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲡⲉ ⲣⲉⲙⲉ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉϥϯⲁⲅⲁⲡⲏ ϩ ⲡⲣⲟⲥⲫⲟⲣⲁ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲩⲣⲡⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ ·
‘Those who seek God is anyone who gives alms and offerings for God at their holy commemoration, each one according to his ability.’
ⲛⲉⲧϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡϫⲥ ⲛⲉ ⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲛⲙ ⲉϥⲟ ⲙⲙⲁϣⲙⲙⲟ · ⲙⲙⲁϩⲏⲕⲉ · ⲉϥϯϩⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲕⲏ ⲕⲁϩⲏⲩ ϩⲙ ⲡϣⲁ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ
ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ ·
‘Those who seek God are anyone who is kind to strangers and to the poor, who clothes those who are naked at the festival of the saints, each one according to his ability.’
ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲁ ϭⲉ ⲛⲁⲥⲛⲏⲩ ⲛⲁⲙⲉⲣⲁⲧⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲛϯ ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ ·
‘Therefore then, my beloved brothers, let us donate on the day of the saints, each one according to his ability.’
Fol. 31b; Budge p. 247, line 34–p. 248, line 3:
ⲧⲉⲛⲟⲩ ϭⲉ ⲛⲁⲙⲉⲣⲁⲧⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲛⲥⲡⲟⲩⲇⲁⲍⲉ ⲉϯⲁⲅⲁⲡⲏ ϩ ⲙⲛⲧⲛⲁ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲣⲡⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲛⲁⲃⲃⲁⲧⲱⲛ ⲡⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲩ · ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ ·
‘Now then my beloved ones, let us be eager to bestow kindness and charity on the day of the commemoration of Abbaton, the Angel of Death, each one according to his ability.’
(Text: E. A. W. Budge; summary and trans.: G. Schenke)
Saint’s feastCult Places
Cult building - monasticPlaces Named after Saint
Cult building - unspecified
Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)
MonasteryNon Liturgical Activity
Prayer/supplication/invocationProtagonists in Cult and Narratives
Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Visiting graves and shrines
Distribution of alms
Composing and translating saint-related texts
Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts
Ecclesiastics - bishopsTheorising on Sanctity
Considerations about the veneration of saints
Considerations about the validity of cult forms
SourceThe colophon of Ms. Oriental no. 7025 located at the British Museum in London, provides 8 September 982 AD as the date of production.
It also mentions the scribe who donated the manuscript to the monastery of saint Merkurios at Edfu (Upper Egypt), for the salvation of his soul and in the hope that Merkurios would invoke Christ on his behalf, bless him in this world and save him from the Devil as well as from evil men; hoping also that Abbaton, the Angel of Death, would show him kindness before God.
BibliographyText and translation:
Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 225–249 (text) and 474–496 (trans.).
|ID||Name||Name in Source||Identity||S00033||Mary, Mother of Christ||ⲙⲁⲣⲁ||Certain||S00518||Saints, unnamed||Certain||S01947||Abbaton, the Angel of Death||ⲁⲃⲃⲁⲧⲱⲛ||Certain|
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Gesa Schenke, Cult of Saints, E05121 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E05121