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E00180: Coptic child donation document of 765/785, certifying the gift of a male child to Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) at Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt), after his healing at the shrine and monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme. It is one of nine child donation documents reporting a child growing up, falling fatally ill and being miraculously healed through the power of the saint.

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posted on 18.11.2014, 00:00 by Bryan
P.KRU 79

Kalisthene, a widow, donates her son Merkoure (Mercurius) as a servant to the saint at the monastery. After the child fell ill, his mother entreated the saint to grant her son healing on the condition that she would then donate him to the place where he received healing. When the boy reaches legal age, he agrees to his donation.

Full text and translation:

+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲕⲁⲗⲓⲥⲑⲏⲛⲉ ⲧϣⲏⲣⲉ vac. ⲧⲣⲙⲛⲉϩⲃⲁⲃⲉ
ϩⲙ ⲡⲧⲟϣ ⲡⲣⲓⲙⲓⲇⲉ ⲉⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲃ-
ⲃⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ
ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ϩⲓⲧⲱⲧⲕ ⲡⲉⲩⲗⲁⲃⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛ̣ⲁⲃⲃⲁ
5 ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ ⲡⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲉⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲙⲟ-
ⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉⲧ[ⲙⲙ]ⲁⲩ ⲁⲩⲱ ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ
ⲉⲧⲛⲁ̀ⲥⲩⲛ ́ϩⲓⲥⲧⲁ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱϥ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲭⲁⲓⲣⲉⲓⲛ
ⲡⲛⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲣⲱⲧⲣⲓⲡⲏ ⲙⲡⲅⲉⲛⲟⲥ ⲧⲏⲣϥ
ⲛⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲩⲣⲡⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲣⲁⲛⲁϥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
10 ⲉⲩⲟⲩⲫⲓⲗⲓⲁ ⲛⲧⲉⲩⲯⲩⲭⲏ ϫⲓⲛ ⲉⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲉⲝⲟⲩⲥⲓⲁ
ⲕⲱⲗⲉ ⲛⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲣⲡⲉⲧⲉϩⲛⲁϥ ϩ̣ⲙ
ⲡⲉⲧⲉ ⲡⲱϥ ⲡⲉ ⲁⲓⲙⲁϣⲧ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϫⲉ ⲁⲛⲅ ⲟⲩⲣⲉϥⲣⲛⲟⲃⲉ
ⲉⲓⲕⲁⲗⲱⲟⲩ ϩⲓϫⲙ ⲡⲕⲁϩ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲑⲉ ⲛⲛⲁⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ
ⲁⲓϩⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲓⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲁⲙⲉⲣⲓⲧ ⲛϣⲏⲣⲉ
15 ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲉ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉⲩⲉⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ
ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ⲉⲧⲣⲉϥ-
ϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲉϥⲱ ⲛϭⲁⲩⲟⲛ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲁ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϣⲁ
ⲉⲛⲉϩ ϩⲁ ⲡⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛⲣⲉϥⲣⲛⲟⲃⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲁ-
ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛϩⲁⲓ vac. ⲧⲓⲛⲁⲧⲁⲙⲱⲧⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲁⲕⲗⲓⲃⲓⲁ
20 ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡϣⲁⲛϩⲧⲏϥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲛⲁⲏⲧ
ⲧⲓ ⲡⲕⲟⲩⲓ ϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲕⲟⲩⲓ ̀ϣⲏⲙ ́ ⲉⲓ
ⲉⲡⲧⲏ ⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ ⲉⲓⲛⲉ ⲉϫⲱϥ ⲛⲟⲩ-
ϣⲱⲛⲉ ⲉϥϩⲁⲣϣ ⲉⲙⲁⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉϥⲛⲁϣⲧ
ϩⲱⲥⲧⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲕⲱ ⲧⲱⲧ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ϫⲉ ϣⲁϥⲙⲟⲩ
25 ⲗⲟⲓⲡⲟⲛ ⲁⲛⲡⲁⲣⲁⲕⲁⲗⲉ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ
ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ̀ϫⲉ ⲉⲕϣⲁⲛ ́ⲭⲁⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲛⲁϥ ⲙⲡⲧⲁⲗϭⲱ ϣⲁⲓ-
ⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡ ̀ⲉⲕ ́ⲑⲩⲥⲓⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ
ⲛϥⲣϭⲁⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁ ⲧϣⲃⲃⲓⲱ ⲛⲙⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁ-
ⲛⲟⲩϥ ⲛⲧⲁⲕⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲓ ⲁⲓϩⲗⲱⲗⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲓϣⲏⲣⲉ
30 ϣⲏⲙ ⲛⲧⲓⲙⲓⲛⲉ ⲁⲓⲏⲛⲧϥ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲓⲧⲁⲥⲃⲱ ⲛ-
ⲧⲉⲣⲉϥⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲛⲑⲓⲗⲓⲕⲓⲁ ⲁϥⲟⲩⲱϣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲁϥⲥⲓⲛⲭⲱⲣⲉⲓ ⲛⲁⲓ ̀ⲉⲃⲟⲕ ́ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ
ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ϩⲁ
ⲡⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲛϫⲟⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲟⲩⲙⲁ
35 ⲛϫⲁⲓⲉ ⲡⲉ ⲉϥⲣⲭⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲡⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲛⲧⲓⲙⲓⲛⲉ ⲁⲥⲣⲁⲛⲁⲛ̣
ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲓⲙⲓⲛⲉ ⲉⲡⲱⲣϫ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡⲉⲓ-
ⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲓⲧⲓ ⲡⲁⲟⲩⲟⲓ ⲉⲡⲉⲓ-
ⲇⲓⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲱⲛ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲧⲁⲗⲓⲧⲥⲏⲛⲉ ⲧϣⲏⲣⲉ
vac. ⲧⲉⲛⲧⲁⲥϣⲣⲡⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ ⲉⲓⲟⲩⲱϣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲉⲓ-
40 ⲡⲓⲑⲉ ⲭⲱⲣⲓⲥ ⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲕⲣⲟϥ ϩⲓ ϩⲟⲧⲉ ϩⲓ ϫⲓⲛϭⲟⲛⲥ
ϩⲓ ⲁⲡⲁⲧⲏ ϩⲓ ⲥⲩⲛⲁⲣⲡⲁⲅⲏ ⲉⲙⲛ ⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲁⲛⲁⲅⲕⲏ ⲕⲏ
ⲛⲁⲛ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ϩⲛ ⲧⲛⲡⲣⲱϩⲉⲣⲓⲥⲓⲥ ⲧⲱⲛ ⲙⲙⲓⲛ ⲉ-
ⲙⲙⲟⲛ ⲧⲓϩⲟⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲉⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲓⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲁⲙⲉⲣⲓⲧ
ⲛϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲉ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲙⲟⲛⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ
45 ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ
ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ⲧⲁⲣⲉϥϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲉϥⲱ ⲛϭⲁⲩⲟⲛ ⲉⲣⲟϥ
ⲉⲡⲉϥⲥⲱϩⲣ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲛⲟⲩϫⲕ ⲙⲛ ϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲛⲭⲣⲓⲁ
ⲉⲛⲁⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲧⲉⲡⲉⲓⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏ-
ⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲣⲡⲉϥϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲙⲛ ⲡϩⲓⲥⲉ
50 ⲛⲛⲉϥϭⲓϫ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲙⲓⲥⲑⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲉⲓⲇⲉ
ⲉϥϩⲛ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲓⲇⲉ ⲉϥⲏⲛ ⲡⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲙⲟ-
ⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲡⲣⲟⲥ ⲧⲕⲉⲗⲉⲩⲥⲓⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲡⲣⲱⲉⲥⲧⲟⲥ
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲩⲕ ⲉⲝⲓⲥⲧⲁⲓ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ⲛⲁⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ
ⲉⲡⲱⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ϩⲱⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲡⲁⲡⲁ-
55 ⲧⲓⲙⲉ ⲡⲉ ⲉⲓⲧⲉ ⲛⲟϭ ⲉⲓⲧⲉ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲉⲓⲧⲉ ⲛⲉⲧⲁⲣⲭⲉⲓ ⲉⲓⲇⲉ
ⲛⲉⲧⲛⲁⲁⲣⲭⲏ ⲉϫⲱⲛ ⲉϣⲉⲓ ⲛϥⲏⲛⲉⲓⲅⲏ ⲉⲡⲉⲓⲙⲟ-
ⲛⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϩⲁ ⲡⲉⲓϣⲏⲣⲉ ϣⲏⲙ ⲛⲧⲓⲙⲓⲛⲉ
ⲉⲓⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲉⲥⲙⲛ ⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲟⲥⲉⲗⲓⲥⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϩⲁϩ-
ⲧⲏⲛ ⲁⲣⲭⲏ ϩⲓ ⲉⲝⲟⲩⲥⲓⲁ ⲕⲟⲩⲓ ϩⲓ ⲛⲟϭ ⲉⲉ̣ⲣⲡⲁⲓ
60 ⲡⲣⲱⲧⲟⲛ ⲛⲛⲉϥⲱⲫⲩⲗⲉⲓⲁ ⲛⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ⲉⲣⲉ-
ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲁⲧⲁϩⲟϥ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲉⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲟⲩ-
ⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁϫⲓ ϩⲁⲡ ⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ ⲛϥⲧⲓ ⲗⲟⲅⲟⲥ
ϩⲙ ⲡⲃⲏⲙⲁ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁ ⲡⲉⲛⲧⲁϥⲁⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲁϥ-
ϩⲓⲧⲟⲧϥ ⲉⲧⲁⲕⲱ ⲡⲉⲓⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲉⲡⲣⲟⲥⲫⲟⲣⲁ
65 ⲡⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲓⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛϥⲥⲱⲕ
ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲁ ⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲥⲁϩⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲉⲅⲣⲁⲫⲏ ⲛⲉⲧϩⲛ ⲡⲧⲉⲩ-
ⲇⲓⲣⲱⲙⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲙⲱⲏⲥⲏⲥ ⲛϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲙⲡⲛ-
ⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲥⲟⲩⲏⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲥⲉⲕⲱⲗⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉⲧⲙⲃⲟⲕ
ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲡⲉⲕⲱⲣϫ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲁⲓⲥⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲓⲇⲓⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕ(ⲟⲛ)
70 ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲓⲥⲧⲟⲓⲭ(ⲉⲓ) ⲉⲣⲟϥ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲑⲉ ⲉⲧⲉϥⲥⲏϩ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ +
++ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲙⲁⲅⲁⲣⲣⲉ ⲡⲣⲙⲥⲛⲏ ⲧⲓⲱ ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲥⲧⲉⲭⲏ̣ +
+ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲡⲣⲙⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ⲧⲓⲱ ⲙⲧⲣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲥⲧⲏ ̀ⲭⲉ ́
ⲉⲡⲉⲇⲱⲣⲓⲁⲥⲧⲓⲕⲟⲛ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲱ ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉ +

'I, Kalisthene, the daughter of NN (space left on the papyrus for the father’s name to be added later), resident of Nehbabe in the district of Primide, write to the holy place (topos) of Apa Phoibammon, the holy martyr, on the mountain of Jeme, represented through you, the most pious Apa Sourous, the deacon and superior (proestos) of that holy monastery, and through anyone who will ever be established after him; greetings.
The law of God encourages all of humankind to let them do the good deed, which is pleasing to God, as a benefit to their souls, while no authority hinders anyone to do what he wants with that which is his own.
I considered that I am a sinner, dwelling on earth like all my ancestors, and so I decided and donated my beloved son Merkoure to the holy oratory of saint Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme, to let him live there as a servant in the holy place eternally for the salvation of my sinful soul and of my blessed husband (space left on the papyrus for name).
But I will tell you precisely: When God, the compassionate and merciful, gave the young child to me, afterwards, when the tiny youngster grew up, God, the good one, brought a very difficult and severe illness upon him, so that I gave up on him, since he was to die. Now, we implored the God of saint Apa Phoibammon, “If you grant him healing, I will donate him to your altar and he will serve God in exchange for the kindness you have bestowed upon me.” I nurtured this aforementioned young child and brought him up in my knowledge. When he came of age, he wished and agreed to go into the holy monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme, for the salvation of his soul. We said that it is a desert place, needing this kind of oath. We were pleased with this kind of good deed.
With respect to the security for this holy monastery, I have proceeded concerning this donation document for eternity. It is I, Talistene (i.e. Kalistene), the daughter of (space left blank for the father’s name to be added), who was mentioned above, I am willing and I am convinced without any guile, fear, force, deceit, or deception, while there is no pressure on us, but through our very own decision, I declare that I donated my beloved son Merkoure to this holy monastery of saint Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme, so that he be a servant for it, for its sweeping and its sprinkling and for any necessary thing for those of the holy monastery, and so that this holy monastery be his master eternally, and (master over) the work of his hands and the wages of his body, whether he be in the monastery or outside of the monastery, in accordance with the demand of this superior (proestos, i.e. Sourous).
It is not possible for me or for anyone of my family members, nor for anyone at all from the people of my village, neither old nor young, neither those who rule (now), nor those who will rule over us, to be able to come and to take action against this holy monastery with respect to this particular young son, nor to file any complaint against it before a power or an authority, small or great, to do this. First, he shall not gain anything, but God will place him at his holy oratory together with me, and I will litigate with him, and he will testify on the tribunal of God to that which he has done, that he has attempted to destroy this oath and offering, this one which I have made to God, and he shall attract the great curses of the scripture, the ones in the Deuteronomion of Moses, and he shall see the kingdom of God open, but shall be prevented from entering it.
Thus, for your security, I have produced this donation document and I agree to it according to what is written in it.
I, Magarre, resident of Sne, I bear witness and I agree.
I, Papnoute, resident of Hermonthis, I bear witness and I agree to this donation document and I bear witness.'

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

History

Evidence ID

E00180

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

ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Donation document

Language

Coptic

Evidence not before

765

Evidence not after

785

Activity not before

765

Activity not after

785

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Jeme Ne(i)hbabe Primide Sne Hermonthis

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

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Ne(i)hbabe Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Primide Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Sne Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Hermonthis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Consecrating a child, or oneself, to a saint

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

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

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - water and other liquids

Source

P.KRU 79, complete papyrus document housed in the British Museum, Or. 72, 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. This document belongs to a group of nine child donation documents, which report a child growing up and falling fatally ill. Apa Phoibammon is entreated to intervene and grant healing, in return for which he is promised that the child in question will be given to him and his holy place. It is made explicit in these donation documents that the boys are being given, not in order to become monks, but to be servants at the saint’s holy oratory, in this document here to be responsible for its sweeping and its sprinkling and whatever else might be needed. P.KRU 78, 81, 84, 88, 91, 93, 98, and 102 also belong to this category of documents: severe childhood illness, saint entreated for help, child healed and donated to the saint at the monastery in return. Here exceptionally the donation is made not only for the salvation of the donors' souls, i.e. the mother and her deceased husband, but also for the salvation of the donated, as the boy donated is by now grown up enough to agree to his donation.

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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