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Book

“And from his side came blood and milk”: The Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch in Coptic Egypt and Beyond

Gorgias Press, 2019.

My book examines the function and development of the cult of saints in Coptic Egypt. For this purpose I focus primarily on the material provided by the texts forming the Coptic hagiographical tradition of the early Christian martyr Philotheus of Antioch, and more specifically – the Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch (Pierpont Morgan M583). This Martyrdom is a reflection of a once flourishing cult which is attested in Egypt by rich textual and material evidence. This text enjoyed great popularity not only in Egypt, but also in other countries of the Christian East, since his dossier includes texts in Coptic, Georgian, Ethiopic, and Arabic. This work examines the literary and historical background of the Martyrdom of Philotheus and similar hagiographical texts. It also explores the goals and concerns of the authors and editors of Coptic martyr passions and their intended audience. I am arguing that these texts were produced in order to perform multiple functions: to justify and promote the cult of a particular saint, as an educational tool, and as an important structural element of liturgical celebrations in honour of the saint.

“And from his side came blood and milk”: The Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch in Coptic Egypt and Beyond