ABĀMŪN OF TŪKH, SAINT
A martyr known only from the brief note dedicated to him by MĪKHĀ’ĪL, bishop of Atrīb and Malīj, around 1240, in the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION (feast day: 13 Abīb).
He was from Tūkh in the diocese of Banā, known today as Abūsīr Banā (cf. E. AMÉLINEAU, 1893, pp. 84-85), a town situated about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Mahallah al-Kubrā, in the province of al-Gharbiyyah. He was informed in a vision of the angel MICHAEL that he would suffer martyrdom at ANTINOOPOLIS. He therefore went there. The governor Eukhious made him suffer all kinds of tortures (the rack, fire, red-hot iron, flogging, furnace, flaying) and finally had him beheaded. Julius of Aqfahs (Kbehs) took his body, wrapped it in cloths, and had it carried to his homeland, as was the customary practise of this saint (Basset, p. 76, “He worked great miracles”).
Mīkhā’īl, bishop of Atrīb and Malīj, adds an interesting detail: “His body is at present in the Sa‘īd,” which R. Basset mistakenly translated as “His body is still to-day in Upper Egypt” (“Son corps est encore aujourd’hui dans la Haute-Egypte”). This sentence was correctly translated by I. Forget (Vol. 2, p. 218, ll. 33-34) as “et illud corpus nunc in Egypto superiore asservatur.” In fact, his body had been carried to his homeland, that is, to Tūkh, and probably transferred to Upper Egypt at the beginning of the thirteen century. The indication is vague, typical of someone from the Delta, for whom the South is all simply “Sa‘īd Misr.”
However, ABŪ SĀLIH THE ARMENIAN, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, records that one of the churches of al-Bahnasā was dedicated to Abamūn (with a short a) (cf. Abū Salih, fol. 73b, Arabic p. 93/8). Evetts, in a note (cf. English translation, p. 210), does not know whether this church is to be ascribed to Abāmūn of Tūkh or to his namesake of 27 Abīb.
There are several reasons to suppose that the dedication is to Abāmūn of Tūkh. The first is that Julius of Aqfahs, who was from this same region of al-Bahnasā, personally took care of this martyr and not of the other. The second is the information given in the Synaxarion that the martyr’s body was at that time in the Sa‘īd, which entails a cult around a church. Finally, the Synaxarion states that he worked many miracles, and this, too, is always linked to the existence of a church dedicated to the martyr.
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 84-85 (Banā) and 522-524 (Tūkh). Paris, 1893.
- Delehaye, H. “Les Martyrs d’Egypte.” Analecta Bollandiana 40 (1922):107.
KHALIL SAMIR, S. J.