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E05112: Coptic Martyrdom of *Viktor (son of Romanos, S00749), the second Martyrdom, relating the saint’s imprisonment and trial at Alexandria under Armenios, his tortures and miraculous recoveries, a journey into heaven to be greeted by the saints, as well as his eventual transport to the south of Egypt for further trial south of Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt); written presumably in the 6th/7th century.

online resource
posted on 21.02.2018, 00:00 by gschenke
Brit. Mus. MS. Oriental, No. 7022, fol. 11b–15a

The second martyrdom is introduced as follows:

ⲧⲙⲉϩ ⲥⲛⲧⲉ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ · ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲁⲉⲓ
ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϫⲱⲛ · ⲛⲧⲛⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲧⲏⲣⲛ ϩⲓ ⲟⲩⲥⲟⲡ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ

‘The second martyrdom of saint Apa Viktor Stratelates. In God’s peace. His holy blessings shall come down upon us and we shall be well all at once. Amen.’

The account begins with the comes/dux Armenios holding trials in the praetorium and passing sentences on soldiers refusing to sacrifice.

The next day, trials were held on the market place at Alexandria where the dux had Viktor brought before him. He threatened him with death by fire in the fiery furnace of the city’s bath if Viktor would not abide by the law to sacrifice to the imperial gods. They argued back and forth, with Viktor being subjected to various tortures and thrown back into prison.

No torture had any effect on him, as the saint’s heart and soul already ventured into heaven to be greeted by the saints and instructed by the archangel Michael.

Fol. 12b–13a; Budge, p. 22, lines 14–p. 23, line 5:

[ⲁ]ⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲇⲉ ⲁⲩϥⲓ ⲡⲉϥϩⲏⲧ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲛⲉⲡⲟⲩⲣⲁⲛⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ · ⲁⲩⲧⲥⲁⲃⲟϥ ⲉⲙⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ · ⲙⲛ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲛⲛⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲥ ·
ⲁⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲥⲡⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ · ⲁⲁⲃⲉⲗ ϯⲡⲉϥⲟⲩⲟⲓ ⲙⲛ ⲍⲁⲭⲁⲣⲓⲁⲥ · ⲡⲉϫⲁⲩ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲙⲓⲱⲕ ⲧⲱⲛⲟⲩ ⲱ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ · ⲡⲉϫⲉ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ
ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ϩⲩⲡⲟⲙⲉⲓⲛⲉ ⲱ ⲡϣⲟⲉⲓϫ ⲛϫⲱⲱⲣⲉ · ⲙⲡⲣⲣϩⲟⲧⲉ ϩⲏⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲇⲩⲣⲁⲛⲛⲟⲥ · ϫⲉ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ · ⲉⲓⲛⲟⲩϩⲙ ⲙⲙⲟⲕ ·
ϯϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲕ · ϫⲉ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲉⲧⲉϣⲁⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲟⲛⲟⲙⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲁⲛ ⲛⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ϣⲁⲩⲟⲛⲟⲙⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲕ ⲙⲛ ⲡϣⲟⲙⲛⲧ
ⲛϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲛⲁⲛⲓⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲍⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲓⲍⲁⲏⲗ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲕⲑⲣⲟⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲟⲣϣ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ ϩⲁϩ ⲡϫⲥ ⲓⲥ · ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ϭⲉ ⲉϣⲁⲕϥⲓ ⲛⲛⲉⲕϭⲓϫ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲡⲉ ·
ϣⲁⲩⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲙⲟⲧ ⲛⲧⲉⲥⲫⲣⲁⲅⲓⲥ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ · ⲉⲩⲣⲟⲩⲟⲉⲓⲛ ⲙⲡϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡⲕⲁⲧⲁⲡⲉⲧⲁⲥⲙⲁ · ⲙⲡⲙⲧⲟ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉⲑⲩⲥⲓⲁⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϣⲁⲣⲉ
ⲟⲩⲥϯⲛⲟⲩϥⲉ ⲉⲛⲁϣⲱϥ ϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲙⲧⲟ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲱⲧ · ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲧⲙⲟⲧⲛⲉⲥ ⲛⲛⲉⲧϩⲏⲛ ⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϣⲁⲣⲉ ⲟⲩⲙⲟⲧⲛⲉⲥ ⲧⲁⲣⲉ
ⲛⲉⲧϩⲛⲛⲕⲟⲗⲁⲥⲓⲥ ·
ⲁⲩⲱ ϣⲁⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲩⲫⲣⲁⲛⲉ ⲉϫⲱⲕ · ⲛⲧⲉ ⲓⲥ ⲧⲉⲗⲏⲗ ϩⲓϫⲙ ⲡⲉϥⲑⲣⲟⲛⲟⲥ · ⲛⲧⲉ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲣⲁϣⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲕ · ⲙⲛⲛⲥⲱⲥ
ⲁⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲕⲱ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲧⲉⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ · ⲁⲥⲉⲓ ⲁⲥⲃⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲥⲱⲙⲁ ⲛⲕⲉⲥⲟⲡ · ⲉϥⲧⲁⲗⲏⲩ ⲉⲡϩⲉⲣⲙⲉⲧⲁⲣⲓⲟⲛ · ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲁⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲟⲩⲱ ⲉϥⲧⲁⲙⲟ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ·

‘But Apa Viktor, his heart was taken up to the heavenly dwellings. He was instructed about the heavenly kingdom and the city of the righteous. The saints greeted him. Abel came up with Zacharias and they said to him: “Hail to you truly, Apa Viktor!” Michael said to him: “Endure, strong contestant. Do not fear this tyrant, for I am with you, protecting you. I am telling you that just as the angels call out the name for all the saints, they called out you together with the three saints Anania, Asaria and Misael. Your throne is prepared in heaven by the Lord Jesus. Now then, when you lift your hands up to heaven, they shall be like a heavenly seal illuminating the interior of the curtain near the altar. A heavy sweet smell exists in the presence of the father for the pleasure of those in heaven. And pleasure rises for those in chains. The angels rejoice over you and Jesus is jubilant on his throne and all the saints are thrilled with you.” Afterwards Michael returned the soul of Apa Viktor and it came and returned back into his body again, as he was hanging on the hermetarion. And Michael finished telling him everything that would happen to him.’

Once thrown into the furnace of the bath, Viktor prays to Christ. Michael descends and crushes the flames in the furnace freeing the saint and letting him appear to the dux, just as he was about to take a hot bath.

Fol. 14a; Budge, p. 24, lines 19–29:

ϩⲛ ⲧⲉⲩⲛⲟⲩ ⲇⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ · ⲁϥⲉⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲉ ⲛϭⲓ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ · ⲁϥⲃⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲙⲧⲱⲕ ⲛⲧⲥⲓⲟⲟⲩⲛ · ⲁϥⲡⲱⲣϣ ϩⲁⲣⲟϥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲛⲧⲉϥⲥⲧⲟⲗⲏ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁϥⲧⲣⲉ ⲡϣⲁϩ ⲙⲡⲕⲱϩⲧ ϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲏⲩ ⲙⲡⲛⲁⲩ ⲛϣⲱⲣⲡ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁϥⲧⲁⲗⲟϥ
ⲉϫⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲧⲛϩ ⲛⲟⲩⲟⲉⲓⲛ · ⲛⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲛϩ ⲉⲓⲣⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲥϯⲱϩⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲁⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲃⲱⲗ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲙⲡⲉⲛⲓⲡⲉ ⲉⲧⲙⲏⲣ ⲉⲛⲉϥϭⲓϫ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲟⲩⲣⲏⲏⲧⲉ ·
ⲁⲩϭⲱ ⲉⲩϣⲁϫⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲩⲉⲣⲉⲩ ϩⲛ ⲙⲙⲏⲥⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲛⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲛⲛⲇⲓⲕⲁⲓⲟⲥ ·

‘And at that moment, Michael, the holy archangel, came out from the heaven and entered the furnace of the bath. He wrapped Apa Viktor in his holy garment and let the flame of the fire become like an early morning breeze. He lifted him onto his shining wings and the wings were a field. Michael loosened the iron which was binding his hands and feet. They continued conversing with each other about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the city of the righteous.’

Shocked by his appearance, the dux accuses the saint of being a magician and sentences him to be beheaded. But in order to avoid uproar in Alexandria, Viktor is sent south, further into Egypt to be executed there. For this reason, Armenios writes a letter to Eutychianos , the comes/dux of the Thebais, asking him to examine the delinquent and either to make him sacrifice or to execute him. Viktor is handed over to soldiers who bring him south into the Thebais.


(Text: E. A. W. Budge; summary and trans.: G. Schenke)

History

Evidence ID

E05112

Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr in Egypt : S00749 John the Baptist : S00020 Michael, the Archangel : S00181 Saints, unnamed : S00518 Three Hebrew Youths of the Old Testament Book of Daniel : S01198

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲓⲱ(ϩⲁⲛⲛⲏ)ⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ⲁⲛⲁⲛⲓⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲁⲍⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲓⲍⲁⲏⲗ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc.

Language

Coptic

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

900

Activity not before

303

Activity not after

900

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Edfu

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

Edfu Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

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 during lifetime Miracles experienced by the saint Assumption/otherworldly journey Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Soldiers Torturers/Executioners

Source

The parchment manuscript BM Ms. Oriental No. 7022 is housed at the British Museum. According to the colophon, the codex dates to the year 951. Other martyr stories concerning Viktor and an encomion dedicated to him are included in the same parchment codex. The codex is composed of the following: 1. The martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05111) 2. The second martyrdom of saint Viktor 3. The third martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05113) 4. The fourth martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05114) 5. The Encomion on saint Viktor attributed to Celestinus, archbishop of Rome (see E04643) 6. Colophon and date 7. Drawing of tamed lioness The colophon (fol. 59b) provides the date and purpose of the manuscript. It mentions 13 April 951 as the date of production for the entire codex dedicated to Viktor. The codex was originally donated to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou belonging to a monastery dedicated to the same saint. The donor of the book was a deacon named Pourot, who at the time of the colophon was deceased and expected to bring blessing onto the monastery together with all the saints. The scribe of the codex was a monk named Joseph, son of an archdeacon of the church of John the Baptist in Sne/Esna/Latopolis (Upper Egypt). He mentions Apa Abraham, the head of the monastery of Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou and expresses hopes for his own salvation and the forgiveness of his sins, as well as for the salvation of all the monks associated with this monastery. ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲥⲡⲟⲩⲇⲏ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲙⲛⲧϥⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲑⲉⲟⲫⲓⲗⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ · ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲁϥϥⲓ ⲡⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲉⲓϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ · ⲁϥⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲃⲱ · ⲧⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲁⲥⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲓⲛⲟⲥ) · ⲡϫⲥ ϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲡⲱⲛϩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲁ · ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲓⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲧ(ⲁⲓⲏⲩ) ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲛϥⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲙⲧⲉⲩⲫⲣⲟⲥⲩⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲛⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ · ⲛϥϫⲟⲕϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲙ ⲡⲃⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲫⲟⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ · ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲛⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲟⲡⲁⲧⲱⲣ ⲛⲧⲕⲟⲓⲛⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲛϥⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϫⲱⲛ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ ‘Through zeal and the care of the most pious deacon Pourot, he took care of this book and donated it to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo, i.e. Apollonia according to the Alexandrian language. May the Lord protect the life and salvation of the pious and honourable brother Pourot, and may he make him worthy of the happiness in the kingdom of the heavens, and may he make him complete through the angelic life which he has led, just as our forefathers in the community, and may he bring his blessing over us together with all the saints. Amen.’ (trans. G. Schenke)

Discussion

The martyrdom account of Viktor is presented as four separate accounts, suffering trial and tortures under four different authorities (Diocletain, Armenios, Eutychianos, and Sebastianos) in four different locations (Antioch, Alexandria, (south of) Antinoopolis, and Hierakonpolis). Although the story continuous from one part to the next, the separate titles underline the importance of this far travelled martyr saint in accordance with evaluations of early church fathers, such as John Chrysostom, who claim that the status of the Apostles is higher than that of martyrs, because the latter only suffered in one place, while the former did so in multiple places; see E01925.

Bibliography

Text and translation: Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 20–25 (text) and 272–278 (trans.).

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