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E03586: Coptic Miracles of *George (soldier and martyr, S00259), relating the building of his martyr shrine, the city of numerous healing and punishing miracles taking place, including the punishment for a promised, but undelivered donation to his shrine; written most likely not before the 7th century. Skeleton entry

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posted on 21.08.2017, 00:00 by gschenke
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History

Evidence ID

E03586

Saint Name

George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda : S00259

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Coptic

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

900

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

900

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Source

At least two fragmentary Sahidic parchment codices are known to have included both the martyrdom and the miracles of George centred around his martyr shrine. The pages of these codices are dispersed over collections in Cairo, London, Manchester, Naples, Paris, and Vienna. The range of the dates for the manuscripts seems to be the 10th–12th century according to layout and script. The collection of Sahidic miracles seems to differ widely from their Bohairic versions.

Discussion

A complete collection of Coptic miracles in the Bohairic dialect is known through a paper codex of the second half of the 14th century in the Bodleian Library (Oxford). This collection presents nine complete miracles. All of the known Coptic miracle collections record posthumous miracles connected to the saint’s shrine in Lydda (Diospolis, Palestine) where George was buried. The first one of the nine known Bohairic miracles deals with the construction of this shrine, the last one with its attempted destruction under Diocletian at the hands of his general Euchios. Both are punished severely for this, Euchios dies a painful death, Diocletian goes blind and is replaced by Constantine. These punishments are instigated through the saint, accompanied by Michael the archangel. The miracles presented in between these two (construction of shrine and attempted destruction) are of the usual range: miracle 2, 4, and 6 are healing miracles, miracle 3 and 7 are punishing miracles, and miracle 5 and 8 are miracles rescuing people out of dangerous situations. Unlike the accounts of the martyrdom of George, which appear to have circulated in broadly similar form throughout the Christian world, very different collections of the posthumous miracles of George seem to have existed. For instance, the known miracles recorded in Coptic differ completely from the thirteen miracles known thus far in Greek, which in their present form appear to be of a much later compositional date (not before the 9th/10th century) and exist only in manuscripts of the 11th–18th century. The most numerous collections of George’s miracles are those known from later Ethiopic manuscripts, which include 12, 42, 79 and 80 individual miracles. For this see also E00663.

Bibliography

Sahidic Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 2 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1936), 82–126. Bohairic text: Balestri, I. and Hyvernat, H., ‘Miracula a Deo patrata per s. Georgium’, in: Acta Martyrum II, CSCO 86, t. 6 (Louvain, 1953), 311–360.

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