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E00179: Coptic child donation document of 19 August 775, certifying the gift of a male child to Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) at Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt), after the child's healing at the shrine and monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme. The parents had pledged the boy to the saint at birth, but had failed to honour the agreement, leading to his severe illness.

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posted on 18.11.2014, 00:00 by Bryan
P.KRU 96

Phoibamon, the son of Athanasios, donates his son whom he had originally pledged to the saint at birth. He broke his oath when the boy was growing up. Thus, the boy falls ill and the parents realise their sinful act of dishonouring an agreement with the saint. They bring the child to the saint’s shrine at the monastery and pray for the healing of their son, promising that if the saint will grant him healing, they will donate him as a servant to the saint at the monastery. The legal document drawn up confirms and regulated this gift of the boy.

Full text and translation:

+ ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ θεοῦ το παντοκράτωρω̣
ἐγρ(άφη) μ(ηνὶ) Μεσορη κ̣ϛ [ἰν]δ(ικτίωνος) ιγ
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲡϣⲛ ⲛⲁⲑⲁⲛⲁⲥⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧϯ̣
ⲛⲟⲩϩⲩⲡⲟⲅⲣⲁⲫⲉⲩⲥ ⲉⲧⲣⲉϥϩⲩⲡⲟⲅⲣⲁⲫⲉ ϩⲁⲣⲟϥ ⲁⲩ[ⲱ]
5 ⲉϥⲁⲓⲧⲓ ⲛϩⲉⲛⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲝⲓⲟⲡⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲍ[ⲉ]
ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲇⲱⲣⲉⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲟ(ⲛ) ⲛⲁⲧⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲁ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲁⲧⲕⲁ-
ⲧⲁⲗⲩ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲁⲧⲃⲟⲗϥ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧⲟⲩ
ⲛⲛⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲕⲏ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ + ⲉⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲙⲡⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲛ
ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱⲛ
10 ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟⲧⲕ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ
ⲡⲉⲩⲗⲁⲃⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ϩⲓⲧ-
ⲛ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉϥⲛⲁⲟⲓⲕⲟⲛⲟⲙⲉⲓ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲕ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲓ-
ⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱⲛ
ϫⲉ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲇⲏ ⲡⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ
15 ⲁⲩⲱ ϥⲡⲣⲟⲧⲣⲉⲡⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲡⲟⲩⲁ
ⲣⲡⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲛⲟⲩϥ ⲉⲧⲉϩⲛⲁϥ
ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲧⲉ ⲡⲱϥ ⲡⲉ ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲣⲉⲡⲛⲁⲏⲧ ⲛⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
ⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲉ ⲛⲥⲉϫⲡⲟ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲙⲡⲁϣⲏⲣⲉ
ⲁⲓⲣⲡⲙⲉⲉⲩⲉ ⲛⲛⲁⲛⲟⲃⲉ ⲁⲓϩⲟⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ
20 ϫⲉ ⲉϥϣⲁⲛⲱⲛϩ ϣⲁⲓⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏ-
ⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱⲛ ϩⲁ ⲧⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲓⲁ
ⲛⲧⲁⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲇⲉ ⲁⲁⲓ ⲁⲩ-
ⲱ ⲛϥⲡⲣⲟⲕⲟⲡⲧⲉ ⲁⲓⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲁ
ⲙⲡⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲓⲥⲙⲛⲧϥ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
25 ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲁⲡ-
ϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ϩⲉ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛϣⲱⲛⲉ
ⲉϥⲛⲁϣⲧ ⲉⲙⲁⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉϥϫⲁϫⲱ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲁⲛϭⲱ ⲉⲛⲙⲏⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲗⲩ-
ⲡⲏ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲛⲕⲱϩ ⲉⲛ-
30 ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲛϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲟϫ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲉⲩϣⲟⲟⲡ ⲛⲥⲟⲗⲥⲗ ⲛⲛⲉⲩⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲁⲛϫⲓ
ϣⲟϫⲛⲉ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲙⲛ ⲧϥⲙⲁⲁⲩ ϫⲉ ⲙⲉϣⲁⲕ
ⲛⲧⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲣⲡⲁⲓ ⲛ-
ⲁⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁⲛⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲁ ⲛⲛⲥⲩⲛⲑⲏⲕⲏ
35 ⲛⲧⲁⲛⲥⲙⲛⲧⲟⲩ ⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ ⲁⲛϫⲓ ϣⲟϫⲛⲉ
ⲁⲛⲟⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲛⲉⲣⲏⲩ ϫⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲛⲧⲱⲟⲩⲛ
ⲛⲧⲛϫⲓ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲧⲛⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲡⲙⲟ-
ⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲧⲛⲡⲁⲣⲁⲕⲁⲗ-
ⲉⲓ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϫⲉ ⲕⲱ ⲛⲁⲛ
40 ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲧⲟⲗⲙⲏⲣⲓⲁ ⲛⲧⲁⲛⲁⲁⲥ ⲙⲉϣ-
ⲁⲕ ⲛϥⲡⲁⲣⲁⲕⲁⲗⲉⲓ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛϥϯ
ⲡⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲙⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲁⲛϫⲓ ⲟⲩⲛ
ⲙⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲁⲛϫⲓⲧϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲟ-
ⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲛϭⲱ ⲉⲛⲥⲟⲡⲥⲡ
45 ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲡⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ
ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲉⲛⲣⲓⲙⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲛⲡⲁⲣⲁ-
ⲕⲁⲗⲉⲓ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲕⲱ ⲛⲁⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ
ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲃⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲛⲁⲁϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲛϭⲱ ⲉⲛϫⲓ
ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲛⲙⲩⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲛ
50 ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ϣⲁ ⲡϫⲱⲕ ⲛⲟⲩⲉⲃⲟⲧ
ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲁⲡⲉⲛⲧⲁϥⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲡⲥⲟⲡⲥ ⲛⲧ-
ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲁⲛⲛⲁ ⲧⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲥⲁⲙⲟⲩⲏⲗ
ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ ⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲣⲟⲛ ϩⲱⲱⲛ
ⲁϥⲭⲁⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲙⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ
55 ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲛⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲡⲉⲛⲏⲓ ⲉⲛϯ ⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲛ-
ⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁⲛⲙⲟϣⲧⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲡⲉⲓϣⲏⲣⲉ
ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲏⲡ ⲉⲛⲉⲧⲙⲟⲟⲩⲧ ϩⲁⲑⲏ ⲙⲡⲁⲧϥ-
ⲙⲁⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲧⲁⲗϭⲟ ⲧⲉⲛⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲁϥⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ
ⲙⲁⲣⲉϥϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲉϥⲟ ⲛϭⲁⲩⲟⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏ-
60 ⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲁϥϫⲓ ⲙⲙⲡⲧⲁⲗ-
ϭⲟ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲛⲉⲓ ⲟ̣ⲩ̣ⲛ̣ ⲉ̣ⲡⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲁⲛⲙⲟϣ-
ⲧⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ [ⲙⲏ]ⲡⲱⲥ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲙⲡⲉⲛ-
ϯⲙⲉ ϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲛⲉϫ ϩⲓⲥⲉ ⲉϫⲙ ⲡϣ-
ⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲁⲓϯ ⲡⲁⲟⲩⲟⲓ ⲁⲓⲥⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲓⲇⲱⲣ-
65 ⲉⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲟⲛ ⲁⲓⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲙⲡⲉⲛⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲡⲉⲡⲓ-
ⲥⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲟⲓⲕⲟⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲧⲁⲣⲉϥⲕ-
ⲁⲁϥ ϩⲛ ⲧⲃⲓⲃⲗⲓⲱⲑⲏⲕⲏ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣ-
ⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϫⲉⲕⲁⲥ ⲉⲩϣⲁⲛⲕⲱⲗⲩ ⲙ-
ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲣϭⲁⲩⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏ-
70 ⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲥⲉⲉⲙⲫⲁⲛⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ
ⲉⲩϣⲁⲛⲟϣϥ ⲛⲥⲉⲥⲁϩⲱⲟⲩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉⲕ-
ⲣⲓⲙⲁ ⲛⲟϭ ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲧⲟⲗⲙⲁ ⲇⲉ ϩⲛ ⲛⲉ-
ⲭⲣⲓⲥⲧⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲉϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲉⲓϣⲏⲣⲉ
ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲙ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩ-
75 ⲁⲁⲃ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲛⲁⲥ-
ⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲁ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲓⲙⲁ ⲛⲧⲁⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ
ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲧⲧⲁⲡⲣⲟ ⲙⲡϩⲓⲉⲣⲟⲫⲁⲛⲧⲏⲥ ⲙⲱ-
ⲩⲥⲏⲥ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲛⲉⲧⲛⲁⲕⲱⲗⲩ ⲙⲡⲉⲣⲏⲧ
ⲙⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲛ ⲉⲣϣⲁⲛ ⲡⲉⲓϣⲏⲣⲉ
80 ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲉⲧⲙⲣϭⲁⲩⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏ-
ⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡⲉⲧϥⲛⲁϫⲡⲟϥ ⲧⲏ-
ⲣϥ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲉⲣⲅⲱⲭⲉⲓⲣⲱⲛ ⲉϥⲛⲁⲧⲁⲁϥ
ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ
ⲡⲣⲟⲥ ⲑⲉ ⲉⲧϥⲛⲁⲡⲱⲗⲕ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲕⲁ-
85 ⲧⲁ ⲕⲁⲓⲣⲱ ⲟⲓⲕⲟⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲱⲣϫ ⲙⲡ-
ⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁ-
ⲃ ⲁⲓⲥⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲓⲇⲱⲣⲉⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲟⲛ ϥⲟⲣ-
ϫ ⲁⲩⲱ ϥϭⲙϭⲟⲙ ϩⲙ ⲙⲁ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲩⲛⲁⲙ-
ⲫⲁⲛⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ ⲁⲩⲟϣϥ ⲉⲣⲟⲓ
90 ϩⲓⲧⲙ ⲡⲛⲟⲙⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲣⲁⲛⲁⲓ ⲁⲓⲧⲁϫⲣⲟϥ
ⲛϩⲩⲡⲟⲅⲅⲣⲁⲫⲉⲩⲥ ϩⲓ ⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲁ-
ⲝⲓⲟⲡⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲁⲓⲕⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲁⲕⲟ-
ⲩⲗⲗⲟⲑⲓⲁ ⲛⲛⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ + + ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲧⲗⲱⲗⲉ
ⲡϣⲛ ⲡⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ) ⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ ϩⲛ ⲉⲡⲟⲓⲕ(ⲓⲟⲛ) ⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲉⲁⲥ) ⲧⲉⲓⲱ ⲙⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ +
95 + ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲕⲟⲩⲙⲏⲧⲉ ⲛⲡⲁⲫⲟⲣⲁ ⲧⲉⲓⲱ ⲙⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ +
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲓⲱⲁⲛ(ⲛⲏⲥ) ⲥⲁⲛⲁⲅⲁⲡ ϩⲛ ⲉⲡⲟⲓⲕ(ⲓⲟⲛ) ⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲉⲁⲥ) ⲧⲉⲓⲱ ⲙⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ +
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲥⲉⲛⲟⲩⲑⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲁⲕ(ⲓⲥ) ϩⲛ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲑ ⲧⲓⲟ ⲙⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ +
+ δι’ ἐμοῦ Ἠλισαῖος ἐλαχ(ίστου) πρε(σβυτέρου) ἀπὸ Ἑρμώνθ(εως)
ἐγένετο +

'In the name of God, the Almighty. Written in the month Mesore, on day 26, of the 13th indiction year.
I Phoibamon, the son of Athanasios, who provides a scribe to sign for him and requests trustworthy witnesses to let them witness this inviolable, indestructible, and, through the existing laws, indissoluble donation document.
I write to the legal body (dikaion) of the holy martyr, saint Phoibammon, of the mountain of Jeme, represented through you, Sourous, the most pious deacon, and through anyone who will be in charge after you in this same monastery of saint Phoibammon.
The law of God orders and encourages anyone to let each one do the good and the useful, which he desires with that which is his own.
When the mercy of God commanded and my son was born to me, I remembered my sins and I determined that, if he lives, I will give him to the monastery of Apa Phoibammon for the salvation of my soul.
But when the small child grew up and was progressing well, I wanted to break the oath, the one I had made with God and his saint. Afterwards, the young child fell into a great illness, which was very harsh and severe. We continued to remain in great sadness because of the young child and we were envious seeing all the healthy young children being a consolation to their parents.
We discussed it, his mother and I, that perhaps God and his saint did this to us, because we violated the agreements which we had made with him. We came to the conclusion, "Let us rise and take the young child and go to the holy monastery, and beseech the holy martyr, 'Forgive us the insolence we have done'. Perhaps he asks God and he gives healing to the young child."
So we took the young child and brought him into the holy monastery. We remained entreating God and his saint, the holy Phoibammon, crying and begging the martyr, “Forgive us the sin we have committed.” We remained partaking in the holy mysteries with the young child and by the end of a whole month, he who listened to the prayer of the blessed Anna, the mother of Samuel the prophet, listened to us as well. He granted healing to the young child and we went back home glorifying God. We considered that this young child was counted among the dead, before he gained the healing. And now he is well. "May he live as a servant for the holy monastery, the place in which he received healing."
So when we came today, we considered that perhaps a resident of our village may seek to cause difficulty over the young child, and I went forward and produced this donation document. I gave it to our father, the bishop and oikonomos, so that he will keep it in the library of the holy monastery, so that, if the young child is hindered to be a servant at the holy monastery, it can be presented. If it is read out, one will avoid the great condemnation.
And whoever among the Christians will ever dare to demand this young child back from the holy monastery, will be under the judgement which the Lord (gave) through the mouth of Moses, the hierophant, concerning the ones who will hinder the oath to the Lord. Furthermore, if this young child wishes not to be a servant of the holy monastery, all that he will bring forth from his hands’ work, he shall give to the holy monastery, in the manner in which he will agree with the oikonomos (of the monastery) at the given time.
As security for the legal body (dikaion) of the holy monastery, I have produced this donation document. It is fixed and valid at any place where it will be presented. It was read out to me by the notary and pleased me. I have validated it through a scribe and trustworthy witnesses and have carried it out according to the demand of the laws.
I, Patlole, the son of the blessed Abraham, from the hamlet (epoikion) of And(rew?), I bear witness.
I, Koumete, son of Paphora, I bear witness.
I, John, son of Sanagap, from the epoikion of And(rew?), I bear witness.
I, Senouthios, son of Ioannakis, from Hermonthis, I bear witness.
Done through me, Elisaios, the least presbyter, from Hermonthis.'

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

History

Evidence ID

E00179

Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier and martyr of Assiut : S00080 Sourous, Apa Sourous, superior and holy man at the monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme : S01584

Saint Name in Source

ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Donation document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet

Language

Coptic

Evidence not before

775

Evidence not after

775

Activity not before

775

Activity not after

775

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Jeme Hermonthis

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Hermonthis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Eucharist associated with cult

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Punishing miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Ecclesiastics - abbots Other lay individuals/ people Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

P.KRU 96, complete papyrus document located at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, 8736. These documents testify, often in great detail, to a healing cult at the monastery of Apa Phoibammon. Patients remain in the holy place (topos) for a period of time, praying and entreating the saint to grant healing, and receiving the eucharist. Holy water in a basin by the altar seems to play an essential role in the healing miracles performed, when poured over the patient.

Discussion

Of the twenty-six child donation documents known so far, P.KRU 78–103 (E00179–E00204), dating from the years 734–786, nearly half are entirely preserved (P.KRU 79–82 86, 88, 91, 93, 96, 99, 100). In these documents parents state their desire to donate their son as a lifelong servant to Apa Phoibammon. The reason stated in these documents is a miraculous healing bestowed upon these children through the intervention of Apa Phoibammon. It is explicitly stated that parents proceed with this donation for the salvation of their own souls. In most documents, fathers are donating the child with the consent of its mother; occasionally, however, this procedure is carried out by mothers acting independently (P.KRU 79, 81, 86, 95), either as widows, or by simply not mentioning a husband. Formally, these donation documents following a successful healing are carried out as legal documents, addressed to the managerial body (the dikaion) of the monastery and/or to its current superior. They are written by a professional scribe, read out by a notary, approved by the donor, and signed by several witnesses. They form the final link in a chain of cult events aiming to secure a miracle healing performed in the saint’s sanctuary and are intended to ensure its lasting effect. Here, Phoibamon donates his son with the consent of his wife, the mother of the boy. This document belongs to a group of seven child donation documents, which report that a child is pledged to the saint at birth, by analogy to 1 Samuel 1, but because the parents fail to honour this agreement they are punished with a severe illness of their child. They beg the saint for forgiveness and promise to donate their child to the monastery, if the saint should grant him healing. This he does, and the boy is donated in return. P.KRU 80, 85, 86, 89, 97, and 100 belong to the same group of documents: child pledged at birth, oath dishonoured, punishment by illness, healing of child, donation. The original pledge, which was then dishonoured, was made explicitly for the salvation of the donor’s soul. This appears to have been a purely private promise between the donor and the saint, without any formal documentation or witnessing. P.KRU 86, a similar document of this kind, however, seems to refer to a written contract (homologia) with respect to such an earlier pledge (P.KRU 86, line 32).

Bibliography

Edition: Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 253–320 (P. KRU 78–103). German Translations: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna: H. Böhlaus, 1964), 149–186. Further reading: Biedenkopf-Ziehner, A., Koptische Schenkungsurkunden aus Thebais: Formeln und Topoi der Urkunden, Aussagen der Urkunden, Indices (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001). Godlewski, W., Deir el-Bahari V: Le monastère de St. Phoibammon (Warsaw: PWN, 1986). Papaconstantinou, A., "Notes sur les actes de donation d’enfants au monastère thébain de Saint-Phoibammon," The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 32 (2002), 83–105. Papaconstantinou, A., "Theia oikonomia. Les actes thébains de donation d’enfants ou la gestion monastique de la pénurie," in: Mélanges Gilbert Dagron (Paris: Association des amis du Centre d'histore et civilisation de Byzance, 2002), 511–526. Richter, T.S., "What’s in a story? Cultural narratology and Coptic child donation documents," The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 35 (2005), 237–264. Schaten, S., "Koptische Kinderschenkungsurkunden," Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 35 (1996), 129–142. Schenke, G., "The Healing Shrines of St Phoibammon. Evidence of Cult Activity in Coptic Legal Documents," Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum (ZAC) 2016, 20(3), 496–523. Schroeder, C., "Children and Egyptian Monasteries," in: C. B. Horn and R. R. Phenix (eds.), Children in Late Ancient Christianity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 317–338. Thissen, H.–J., "Koptische Kinderschenkungsurkunden. Zur Hierodulie im christlichen Ägypten," Enchoria 14 (1986), 117–128. Wipszycka, E., "Resources and Economic Activities of the Egyptian Monastic Communities (4th–8th century)," The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 41 (2011), 159–263, esp. 221–227. For a full range of the documentary evidence on Phoibammon: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 204–214.

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