Saints Apaiule And Tolemaeus


A monk and a soldier martyred under DIOCLETIAN (feast day: 21 Tubah). The text of their Passion exists in only one in Sahidic dialect (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, M 583), edited by E. A. E. Reymond and J. W. B. Barnes (1973, pp. 131-37). As usual, it begins with the edict of being sent to the provinces of the empire. After receiving it, the dux Sebastianus sets out on the Nile and reaches the village of Psutumet near Hnes. He orders sacrifice here, but the soldier Tolemaeus refuses to carry out the order. This is followed by the traditional scenes of discussion with the dux, imprisonment, and the vision of Jesus. At this point the monk Apaiule is introduced; he goes to visit Tolemaeus in prison, is recognized as a Christian, and is in turn tortured by Sebastianus. Finally both are martyred.

The text is part of the Cycle of the martyrs and seems to date to the period of true Coptic production (see HAGIOGRAPHY) and is thus late (seventh century). However, its shortness, its disappearance in later tradition, and its remaining in the Sahidic dialect would lead one to conclude that it dates to the beginning of that period and remained isolated in local tradition.

  • Baumeister, T. Martyr Invictus. Der Märtyrer als Sinnbild der Erlösung in der Legende und im Kult der frühen koptischen Kirche. Münster, 1972.
  • Reymond, E. A. E., and J. W. B. Barnes. Four Martyrdoms from the Pierpont Morgan Coptic . Oxford, 1973.