John Of Mayuma


The sixth-century bishop who wrote an anthology of miraculous tales. John of was a monk from the Monastery of Bayt Rufina, whence the name John Rufus, by which he is also known. He succeeded Peter the Iberian as bishop of Mayuma near in Palestine.

Around the year 515, John composed a collection of plerophoriae (anecdotes and brief episodes) of a miraculous nature that were meant to testify to the orthodoxy of the Chalcedonians. The majority of these stories were already in existence and, indeed, had been incorporated in various other compilations and/or texts. However, the anthology of John of was the most widespread, and so by substitution of the name of the contents for the whole work, it gained the title Plerophoriae, by which it is known today.

The original version was certainly written in Greek, but only a few fragments of it have survived. Two complete manuscripts, however, exist in a Syriac translation (Nau, 1912). In Coptic there are only fragments coming from three codices and a fourth manuscript, which we might designate as a “personal” concoction. Two of these fragmentary codices are in Sahidic ( Morgan Library, New York, C13, ed. Crum, 1913; National Library, Vienna, K2502, ed. Orlandi, 1974) and contain an anthology similar to the Syriac translation, though their numberings are different.

Hence, these two codices have many omissions, additions, and a different order for the episodes. The third is in Bohairic (Coptic Museum, Cairo, S. Macar. 12(6)), and it probably contained only those events referring to the life of TIMOTHY II AELURUS, some of which agree with episodes in John’s Plerophoriae. The fourth manuscript (4925 [University of Michigan], ed. Orlandi, 1974) has some excerpts from a collection very similar to the Syriac translation, as well as some additional episodes.


  • Crum, W. E., ed. Theological Texts from Coptic Papyri, pp. 62-64. Oxford, 1913.
  • John Rufus. Plérophorie. PO 7, pt. 1, ed. F. Nau. Paris, 1912.
  • Orlandi, T. Papiri copti di contenuto teologico, pp. 110-17. Vienna, 1974.
  • . “Un frammento delle Pleroforie in copto.” Studi e Ricerche sull’Oriente Cristiano 2 (1979):3-12.