VICTOR OF

An early-fourth-century saint. Victor was born in Asyut. He served as a soldier in the fortress of Shu (Qasr Shu) south of Asyut, at the age of twelve. In accordance with the rescript of Diocletian, he was asked to offer sacrifice to the idols, but refused. His superior tried to persuade him kindly, but since he remained adamant, Victor was cast into the jail of the fortress, where his parents visited him and encouraged him to remain dauntless. His superior, unable to persuade him to follow instructions, sent him to the governor in Asyut. The governor attempted to gain the cooperation of Victor by making lavish promises, which Victor refused, bringing upon himself severe tortures.

Finally, after he prayed and an angel comforted him, he was thrown into the furnace of the baths at Mushah, south of Asyut. Christians came to take away his body, which they found intact. At Mushah they built over the body a church, which was still in existence in the thirteenth century as the Synaxarion states. Many miracles were worked there.

A more detailed account of the martyrdom of Saint Victor of Shu, for 5 Kiyahk, is found in a manuscript copied in Cairo around 1370 by Jirjis Abu al-Barakat ibn Rizqallah, great-grandson of the Coptic Abu al-Barakat IBN KABAR (d. 1324). Since this text is unique and as yet unpublished, the incipit, after the conventional preface, may be translated as: “It came to pass that, under the reign of the impious king Diocletian and Maximian, . . . orders were sent to all the places subject to their rule, to close the churches.”

The same copyist transmitted another manuscript copied in 1360-1363, with an anonymous homily on the invention of the body of Saint Victor of Shu, on the building and dedication of his church in Mushah, and on the miracles that occurred there on 5 Ba’unah. This dedication is not mentioned in the Synaxarion. The incipit may be translated as: “It came to pass that, after the martyrdom of the holy and glorious martyr Mar Buqtur and the building of his church at Mushah to the South of Asyut, people came in great numbers and from all parts on account of the powers and miracles. . . .”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de L’Egypte. Paris, 1893.
  • Graf, G. Catalogue de manuscripts arabes chrétiens conservés au Caire, City, 1934.
  • Simaykah, M., and Y. ‘Abd al-Masih. Catalogue of the Coptic and Arabic Manuscripts in the Coptic Museum, Vol. 1. Cairo, 1939.

KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.