Daniel Of Scetis, Saint

DANIEL OF SCETIS, SAINT

A who lived in the sixth century. The text of his life has come down in Coptic and Ethiopic. It is made up of fourteen episodes, which were originally separate. Eleven are, in fact, found scattered in Greek in collections of   Apophthegmata   (sayings of the   Fathers)   and   Gerontika (anecdotes of the old monks), and correspondingly in and Arabic. The Coptic text is found in Bohairic and in only one codex.

Internal examination of the texts leads one to deduce that various anecdotes, some of them concerning other monks of the same name, were collected around the historical figure of one Daniel of Scetis, who lived in the first half of the sixth century. Even the anecdotes concerning the “real” Daniel appear to be untrue. Examples include the stories of the noblewoman Anastasia who, in order to escape from court life, seeks refuge at Scetis in men’s clothing; the monk Marcus who as a penance pretends to be mad and is recognized by Daniel; the visit to a convent of nuns in the south, where Daniel discovers the injustice and ill-treatment being inflicted on one nun; and  Daniel’s refusal to support Tomus of Lyons when  Justinian orders him to do so.

The historical information to be drawn from these episodes is exclusively of a and confessional nature, enabling us to date his life to the first half of the sixth century and to conclude that he was one of the figures in anti-Chalcedonian Egyptian monasticism. Nothing can be assumed about the actual events of his life.

  • Cauwenbergh, P. van. sur les moines d’Egypte. Paris, 1914. Clugnet, L.; F. Nau; and I. Guidi. Vie (et récits) de l’Abbé Daniel le Scetiate (VIe  Siècle). Hagiographique Orientale 1. Paris, 1901.
  • Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi ‘n Natrun, 1, New from the Monastery of Saint Macarius. New York, 1926.
  • Garitte, G. “Daniel de Scète.” In Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique, Vol. 14, cols. 70-72. Paris, 1912ff.
  • Guidi, I. “ et récits de l’abbé Daniel de Scété (VI Siècle). III.
  • Texte  copte  publié  et  traduit.”  Revue  de  l’Orient  chrétien  5 (1900):535-64; 6 (1901):51-53.

TITO ORLANDI