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E05113: Coptic Martyrdom of *Viktor (son of Romanos, S00749), the third Martyrdom, relates the saint’s transport to the south of Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt) for further trial, as well as his final banishment to an abandoned former military camp at Hierakonpolis (Upper Egypt) where he receives a visit from Christ who lays out the saint’s future cult; written presumably in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 21.02.2018, 00:00 by gschenke
Brit. Mus. MS. Oriental, No. 7022, fol. 15a–19b

The account is introduced as follows:

Fol. 15a; Budge, p. 26, lines 1–3:

ⲧⲙⲉϩ ϣⲟⲙⲧⲉ · ⲅ · ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ · ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ ·

‘The third martyrdom of saint Apa Viktor. In God’s peace. Amen.’

Four soldiers accompany the chained saint to Antinoopolis, but upon arrival find that Eutychianus, the dux/hegemon of the Thebais, has set sails to travel further south. They follow him and when they meet his boat midstream, they hand over the saint and the letter of instructions from Armenios at Alexandria.

Eutychianus then sets up trial at the riverbank and accuses Viktor of being a magician. When Viktor refuses to sacrifice, numerous brutal tortures are inflicted on him. As they seem to have no effect on him, the decision is reached to banish Viktor to a former castron at Hierakion/Hierakonpolis, south of Thebes.

Viktor is brought to the deserted castron by four soldiers and left there to die of starvation. The saint, however, remembered his carpentry skills, producing chairs and lamp stands to sell and live off. Leading the life of a hermit, he prays and keeps alive, until one day, Christ comes to visit him disguised as an old man. They prayed together and spent much time together until at last Christ revealed his true identity, telling the saint that he was before and would always be by his side during the suffering that still awaited Viktor. He then laid out the parameters of the saint’s future cult, before leaving him to carry on as before. Viktor then made preparations for his burial by acquiring the necessary material, fasted and prayed extensively, and was joined by many soldiers who admired his conduct.

Fol. 19a–19b; Budge, p. 32, line 29–p. 33, line 13:

Christ addresses Viktor:

Ϯϫⲱ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲕ ϫⲉ ⲕⲛⲁϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲓ ϩⲛ ⲑⲓⲉⲗⲏⲙ ⲛⲧⲡⲉ ⲧⲁⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲙⲙⲉⲣⲓⲧ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲑⲉ ⲉϣⲁⲓϩⲙⲟⲟⲥ ϩⲓ ⲡⲁⲑⲣⲟⲛⲟⲥ ·
ⲕⲛⲁϩⲙⲟⲟⲥ ϩⲱⲱⲕ ϩⲓϫⲙ ⲡⲱⲕ · ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲧⲣⲉ ⲇⲩⲣⲁⲛⲛⲟⲥ ⲛⲓⲙ · ϩⲓ ⲁⲣⲭⲏ ⲛⲓⲙ · ⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲧⲃⲉ ⲡⲉⲕⲣⲁⲛ ⲛⲥⲉⲣϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ · ⲁⲩⲱ
ϯⲛⲁⲧⲣⲉⲩⲉⲓ ⲉⲣⲁⲧϥ ⲙⲡⲉⲕⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ · ⲛⲥⲉⲛ ⲇⲱⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲁⲕ ϩⲙ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲛ · ϯⲛⲁ ⲧⲣⲉ ϩⲉⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲛ ϩⲉⲛⲙⲁⲉⲓⲛ ⲟⲩⲱⲛϩ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ
ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲕⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ · ⲟⲩⲟⲛ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉⲧⲛⲁⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲉⲕⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛϥⲉⲣⲏⲧ ⲛϥⲧⲙⲧⲁⲁⲩ · ϯⲛⲁ ϫⲓ ϩⲁⲡ ⲛⲙⲙⲁϥ ϩⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩ⁖
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲉⲓⲡⲩⲣⲅⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲕⲟⲩⲏⲏϩ ⲛϩⲏⲧϥ · ⲥⲉⲛⲁⲱϫⲛ ⲁⲛ ⲛϭⲓ ⲙⲙⲏⲏϣⲉ ⲉⲧⲛⲏⲩ ⲉⲣⲁⲧⲕ ⲛⲉⲕⲡⲟⲗⲩϯⲁ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲕⲙⲛⲧϫⲱⲱⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲃⲱⲕ
ϣⲁ ⲁⲣⲏϫϥ ⲙⲡⲕⲁϩ · ⲕⲛⲁⲣ ⲧⲉⲓⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ϩⲛ ⲧⲉⲝⲱⲣⲓ[ⲥ]ⲧⲉⲓⲁ · ϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲛ ⲧⲕⲉⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ ⲥⲉⲛⲁϥⲓ ⲛⲧⲉⲕⲁⲡⲉ ϩⲛ ⲧⲙⲏⲏⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲕⲁⲥⲧⲣⲟⲛ ϩⲛ
ⲧⲥⲏϥⲉ · ⲕⲛⲁϣⲉⲡ ϩⲉⲛⲕⲉⲕⲟⲩⲓ ⲅⲁⲣ ⲛϩⲓⲥⲉ ⲉϫⲙ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲛ · ϯⲛⲏⲩ ⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲁϯϭⲟⲙ ⲛⲁⲕ ϣⲁⲛⲧⲕϯϣⲓⲡⲉ ⲙⲡⲇⲟⲩⲝ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϥⲃⲁⲍⲁⲛⲟⲥ ·

‘I am telling you that you will be with me in the heavenly Jerusalem, my beloved city. Just as I am sitting on my throne, so you yourself will be sitting on yours. I will let every tyrant and every ruler hear about your name and they will marvel. I will let them come to your shrine and they will bring gifts for you in my name. I will let great miracles and wonders appear at your shrine. Anyone who will come to your shrine and who will make an oath and will not deliver on it, I shall judge him for it.

This tower in which you are living, the multitudes that come to you will not destroy it. Your ways of conduct and your strengths will advance to the end of the earth. You will spend this year in banishment. Next year, your head will be cut off by the sword in the middle of this castron. For you will endure a few more sufferings for my name. I will come again and I will give you strength, until you shame the dux with his tortures.’

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

History

Evidence ID

E05113

Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr in Egypt : S00749 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲓⲱ(ϩⲁⲛⲛⲏ)ⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ

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 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), 26–33 (text) and 279–286 (trans.).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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