Sunbat

SUNBAT

The modern name of a town in the Egyptian Delta known in Coptic as tacempo] (Tasempoti) and in Arabic as Sanbat, Sambutiyyah, or Sanmutiyyah. The town is located in the middle of the Delta in the province of Gharbiyyah about 12 miles (19 km) east of Tanta, halfway between Bana and Zifta.

Tasempoti/Sunbat was an important town in martyrdom literature for the period prior to 640. For example, the town figures prominently in the Coptic martyrdom of Piroou and Athom (see MARTYRS, COPTIC). In Tasempoti/Sunbat Piroou and Athom buried the martyr Anoua, and after they themselves had been martyred, they were buried in the same place.

The SYNAXARION relates that /Sunbat was the burial place of the remains of the martyrs Agathon, Peter, John, Amun, Amuna, and Rebecca.

The OF THE PATRIARCHS mentions Sunbat (spelled Sanbut in this instance) as a geographical reference for a place called Shubra where a group of Bashmurites successfully battled against the troops of ‘Abd al-Malik in 751. From the fact that the text says that Shubra is near Sanbut one can deduce that Sanbut was the more important of the two towns.

Around 1186 there was a strong Greek Orthodox minority in Sunbat with its own metropolitan. Markus ibn al- demanded one of Sunbat’s churches from the metropolitan, but the demand went unheeded. Although this report implies that there was more than one church in Sunbat around 1190, mentions for the town only one Coptic church, a Church of the Apostles, at the end of the fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth century.

Each year in the Church of Saint Rebecca (Sitt Rifqah) in Sunbat a feast is held on 17 September in honor of the saint and the martyrs who died with her (Meinardus, 1965, p. 176).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Meinardus, Otto. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965.

RANDALL STEWART