Misa’il, Saint

MISA’IL, SAINT, ascetic.

The principal source for his life is the notice for 13 Kiyahk in the SYNAXARION of the Copts from Lower Egypt; the Synaxarion from Upper Egypt does not refer to him.

The name Misa’il is evidently a borrowing from the Bible, frequent in the Byzantine period, when the cult of the THREE HEBREWS IN THE FURNACE was very popular. Nothing is said of the childhood of this saint. We learn only that his birth was miraculous and that at the age of twelve he entered the monastery of al-Qalamun, very probably the one in the south of the Fayyum. We learn the rites customary for the reception of a candidate. His parents having died when he was still small, the bishop of the place (who is not named) took care of his education.

The superior of the monastery was called Anba Ishaq, but there is nothing to identify him with Isaac, author of the life of Samuel, the famous founder of the monastery of al-Qalamun. Misa’il protected the monastery in a time of famine, which he had predicted to the abbot, against the assaults of the surrounding peasants. Finally, thanks to his inheritance, which Bishop Athanasius (probably of al-Bahnasa) administered for him after the of his parents, he caused a to be built ( at al-Qalamun), which Bishop Athanasius and others consecrated, and which was known by Misa’il’s name.


  • Baumstark, A. “Die liturgischen Handschriften des jakobitischer Markusklosters in Jerusalem.” Oriens Christianus N.S. 1 (1911):103-115; 286-314.
  • Budge, E. A. W. The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church, 4 vols. Cambridge, 1928.
  • Gascou, J. “Notes de papyrologie byzantine (II).” Chronique d’Egypte 59 (1984):333-45.
  • Muyser, J. “Le culte des trois saints jeunes gens chez les Coptes.” Les Cahiers coptes 6 (1954):17-31.
  • Till, W. Datierung und Prosopographie der koptischen Urkunden aus Theben. Österreichische der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Sitzberichte 240, pt. 1. Vienna, 1962.