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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Coptic fragments from the Life of Apa *Thomas (presumably the ascetic and patron saint at Wadi Sarga (Upper Egypt), S01695), of unknown Egyptian provenance, mentioning a vision of *Mary (Mother of Christ S00033) resulting in the making of a new member of the monastic community; datable to the 7th/8th century.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus codex

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives

Pushkin Museum in Moscow, I.1.b.274; 630; 633 (5664, 5744, 5711)

Fragment 633, col. 2:

ⲛⲁ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉⲥϫⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲁϥ ⲛϭⲓ ⲧⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ ⲁⲥϩⲟⲡⲥ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ · ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓ̣ⲱ̣ϩⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲇⲉ ⲁϥϣⲱϥ̣ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲁⲡⲉ · ⲁϥⲧⲣⲉⲩϯ ⲙⲡⲉⲥⲭⲏⲙⲁ
ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉϫⲱϥ ⲁϥⲕⲁⲁϥ ϩⲁⲧⲏ̣ϥ ϩⲛ ⲧⲉⲥ̣ⲟ̣ⲟ̣ⲩ̣ⲁ̣ϩ̣ⲥ̣ (?) ⲙⲡⲓⲱⲧ ⲙ[ⲡ]ⲁⲩⲏⲧ

‘After the Virgin said these words, she hid herself from them. Apa Ioannes shaved his head. He had the holy garment put on him and placed himself within the congregation of the father of the community.’

(Text and translation:
A. I. Elanskaya, slightly modified)

Cult Places

Cult building - monastic

Places Named after Saint



Apparition, vision, dream, revelation


These papyrus fragments at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, I.1.b.274; 630; 633 (5664, 5744, 5711), are dated on palaeographical grounds to the 7th/8th century.


Text and translation:
Elanskaya, A.I., The Literary Coptic Manuscripts in the A. S. Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum in Moscow (Leiden, 1994), 131–135.

Record Created By

Gesa Schenke

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristCertain
S01695Thomas, Apa Thomas, patron saint at Wadi Sargaⲁⲡⲁ ⲑⲱⲙⲁⲥCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Gesa Schenke, Cult of Saints, E07041 -