Serapion of Thmuis’s Memory in Egypt throughout the Ages


Youhanna Matta


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Serapion of Thmuis (†362) is a disciple of St. Antony and a friend of St. Athanasius, who was ordained as a bishop sometime before 340 AD. He could be the first to be ordained as a bishop among the monks, and played a vital role in the theological controversies of the fourth century. Many works are attributed to him, among them a liturgy. This saint is commemorated in the Coptic Church, as well as in the other traditional churches. However, no Lives written about him are preserved. Nonetheless, he is cited in the Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates and Sozomen, in the Illustrious Men of Jerome, and in other works as well. This paper hopes to shed some light on the cult of Serapion bishop of Thmuis, throughout the ages in Egypt and beyond, through a survey of the following themes: His commemoration in the Coptic liturgical calendar; was there a church dedicated to him in Alexandria? His works; did they circulate and spread? His Liturgy; was it used and was its usage spread? Its rediscovery in Mt. of Athos; the later works attributed to him; his wall paintings in St. Antony and St. Paul monasteries in the Red Sea; his commemoration and iconography abroad, beyond local Coptic borders.

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