ISIDORUS, SAINT, (Isidore of )

A martyr under (feast day: 19 ). He is known in both the Greek and the Coptic tradition, but his legend in the Coptic tradition has been completely refurbished. The text of the Coptic Passion is preserved in in a complete in the in Cairo (Munier, 1918, pp. 97-190) and in fragments from another codex (Till, 1935; von Lemm, 1913).

The Coptic Passion claims to be composed by an eyewitness named Sotericus, who is named only at the end of the text. The opening scene is in Antioch, where Diocletian promulgates his famous edict demanding worship of pagan gods. The governor, Pantaleon, with his wife, Sophia, and his son, Isidorus, remains faithful to Christianity. , the future emperor, takes refuge with them. At this point, the general and Victor, two characters from the cycle of , are also named.

The archangel MICHAEL appears to Isidorus to announce his forthcoming , which will take place after he has been killed and brought back to life five times. Then follows a lengthy description of the six martyrdoms, in which Diocletian plays a direct part as a judge. The devil appears frequently, and there are accounts of every type of miracle being performed by the saint and of visions of angels and of Jesus.

At a certain point, the scene moves to Seleucia and then to Rhodes, but from there the saint returns to Antioch, where he suffers final martyrdom. The last part of the text describes the end of Diocletian and the of Constantine, and the translation of the relics of Isidorus to .

The redaction of this Passion seems to be very late, even compared to others of the cycle type. In particular, it presupposes the Passion of , as well as those of George and Victor.


  • Baumeister, T. Martyr Invictus. Der Märtyrer als Sinnbild der Erlösung in der Legende und im Kult der frühen koptischen Kirche. Münster, 1972.
  • Bollandiani, Socii, ed. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. , 1909; 3rd ed., 1957, p. 960.
  • Lemm, O. E. von. Bruchstücke koptischer Märtyrerakten I-IV. Saint Petersburg, 1913.
  • Munier, H. “Les Actes du martyre de Saint Isidore.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 14 (1918):97-190.
  • Till, W. C. Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrerlegenden, Vol. 1. Orientalis Christiana Analecta 102. Rome, 1935.

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