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Saint NameGeorge, soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda : S00259
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after900
Activity not before500
Activity not after900
Place of Evidence - RegionEgypt and Cyrenaica
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Hermopolis
SourceAt 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.
DiscussionA 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.
BibliographySahidic Text and German translation:
Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 2 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1936), 82–126.
Balestri, I. and Hyvernat, H., ‘Miracula a Deo patrata per s. Georgium’, in: Acta Martyrum II, CSCO 86, t. 6 (Louvain, 1953), 311–360.