A martyr in the persecution under DIOCLETIAN (feast day: 11 Kiyahk). The text of his Passion has come down to us in two codices in Sahidic (Rossi, 1893, p. 5, in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, M 581, phot. 32). The account found in the Morgan codex, which is also given in the Arabic SYNAXARION (trans. Forget, Vol. 1, pp. 207-210) is derived from a late expansion on the older text that has come down in Coptic.
According to the Synaxarion, Tolemaus is a soldier from Dandarah, who is converted by the famous monk Paphnutius and sent by the latter to Antinoopolis to confess his faith. This part seems to be foreign to the Coptic text, which tells us only of the events at Antinoopolis, where Tolemaus, after refusing to offer sacrifice, has the usual exchange of words with the prefect ARIANUS, is tortured, recovers various times, and is finally put to death.
The original story was probably part of the older nucleus of epic passions built around the figure of the prefect Arianus; the later expansion places the martyr within the cycle of monk-martyrs, one of whom was Paphnutius of Dandarah.
- Rossi, F., ed. “Un nuovo codice copto del Museo Egizio di Torino.” Atti Accademia dei Lincei, ser. 5, 1 (1893).