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Article

Диоклетиан и Аполлон в Антиохийском цикле. Источники и методы коптских агиографов

This article discusses one of the most peculiar elements of the Diocletianic tradition in Coptic hagiographical texts which is unattested in any other historical sources — namely, the special connection between Diocletian and his favourite god, Apollo. It appears that the authors of Coptic texts used for re-creating the historical setting of the events of the Great Persecution not only the material provided in the works of Christian historiographers, such as Eusebius, Lactantius and John Malalas, but also homiletic and hymnographic material found in other sources. The descriptions of the Diocletian’s connection with Apollo in the Coptic texts contradict the historical evidence (Diocletian’s tutelary deity was Zeus, not Apollo); however, they evince their authors’ knowledge of the references to the cult of Apollo at Antioch in the works of the two most popular Antiochian authors of later period — John Chrysostom and Severus of Antioch. Their homilies in honour of St Babylas of Antioch have been known in Egypt from the relatively early stage and have obviously influenced the Coptic perception of Antioch as a centre of the cult of Apollo; one might also see the how these later episodes — the story of Julian the Apostate and the relics of St Babylas — were re-imagined and re-introduced by Coptic hagiographers into the martyr passions of the Diocletianic period.