C. DETLEF G. MÜLLER

Romances

ROMANCES There are two Coptic romances: the Alexander Romance and the Cambyses Romance. The Alexander Romance All genres of literature—from history to poetry—include chronicles of the life of Alexander the Great of Macedonia (reigned 336-323 B.C.). The most widespread work, the Alexander Romance, is falsely ascribed to the Greek historian Callisthenes (c. 370-327 B.C.). In …

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Saint Zacharias

SAINT ZACHARIAS The eighth-century bishop of Sakha (feast day: 21 Amshir). The son of a presbyter, Zacharias received adequate training in profane and ecclesiastical letters to open for himself a career as secretary of the diwan. Arabic was prescribed for official documents in 706, which would indicate that Zacharias was proficient in Arabic and Greek …

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The Merciful John III

THE MERCIFUL JOHN III A saint and fortieth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (677-686). John was born at Samannud in Lower Egypt on the Damietta branch of the Nile. He was prepared for his position in the Coptic church by his education in ecclesiastical and secular matters, as well as by his purity …

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Benjamin I

BENJAMIN I The thirty-eighth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (622- 661). He was born about 590 at Barshut, a village in the province of Beheirah in the western Delta. Benjamin was undoubtedly one of the greatest patriarchs of the Coptic church. He lived through the tremendous upheavals of the Persian invasion (619-629) and …

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Physiologos

PHYSIOLOGOS This Greek text was begun around 200 B.C. by Paul of Mendes (Augustamnika I), who confused the scientific study of nature with magical traditions. Others continued the work after 200 B.C., although the remote origin of the Physiologos could probably be placed before that date. It is composed of forty-eight short stories, relating to …

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Pisentius, Saint

PISENTIUS, SAINT A seventh-century bishop of Qift who was noted as a preacher, letter writer, administrator, and servant of the poor (feast day: 13 Abib). He is among the most outstanding personalities of the Coptic church. Sources Texts written about Pisentius date from the seventh to the eighteenth centuries. They include three Sahidic Coptic texts …

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Mark II, Saint

MARK II, SAINT A forty-ninth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (799-819) (feast day: 22 Baramudah). He was an important patriarch, a fascinating individual, a master preacher, and an eminent Coptic writer. Mark’s life was closely associated with that of his predecessor, JOHN IV. As a deacon in Alexandria, he became John’s disciple and …

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Agathon Of Alexandria

AGATHON OF ALEXANDRIA Thirty-ninth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (661-677). Before his preferment to the Coptic patriarchate, Agathon was the assistant to BENJAMIN I from 644. During his predecessor’s last illness, he assumed de facto patriarchal authority until his succession to the throne of Saint Mark in 661. He was a fierce fighter …

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