FLAVIAN OF EPHESUS
The name of a bishop of Ephesus that seems to be a scholarly invention. This person is mentioned only in the title of a Homily, In Demetrium et Petrum Alexandrinos, preserved in the British Museum (Or. 6783; Budge, 1914, pp. 137-56). This homily is, however, the result of a late redaction that made use of two earlier texts, and the name of Flavian, bishop of Ephesus, seems to have been invented for the purpose of attributing the text to a specific author.
The two original texts were very different in character, and it is not at all clear why the need was felt to combine them. The first is an encomium in honor of Saint DEMETRIUS I, patriarch of Alexandria in the third century, and dwells especially on the problem of whether it is legal for a bishop to be married and how it can be justified that Demetrius was indeed married. This suggests origins in an Encratite milieu (see ENCRATITE), which, however, is difficult to situate chronologically.
The second text, which can be fairly easily dated in the seventh century, pretends to offer an encomium in honor of PETER I, patriarch of Alexandria in the early fourth century, but actually recounts a fictional episode derived from the Cycle (see CYCLES) of BASILIDES the General, which occurred during the persecution by DIOCLETIAN in the third century. Martyria, a Christian woman of Antioch, the wife of Sokrator, who, in turn, was a friend of the martyr Ter (see TER AND ERAÏ), betakes herself by sea to Alexandria in order to have her children baptized by Peter. During the crossing, a storm endangers their lives, and she herself baptizes the children. When they arrive in Alexandria, Peter confirms the validity of the baptism. When she returns to Antioch, she is martyred.
The two texts in their separate state, or the homily combining them, were known to SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘, who employed them in two different chapters of his work: one for Damian and one for Peter. Hence, although they now survive in only one manuscript, they probably had a certain importance in Coptic literature.
- Budge, E. A. W. Coptic Martyrdoms . . . in the Dialect of Upper Egypt. London, 1914.