Author Topic: Name the saint  (Read 3602 times)

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Offline Robert W

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Name the saint
« on: September 02, 2009, 02:45:37 AM »
I got this icon as a present from my sister. The icon is obviously Coptic and it came with a note calling the icon "Friendship of Christ". The note also said that the saint depicted together with Christ is nameless.



I really do not believe this saint to be nameless or unknown, especially since there is an inscription besides his head. ::)

Could someone more knowledgeable than me name the saint? ...please?  ;D

« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 02:47:31 AM by Robert W »

Offline Salpy

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 03:01:42 AM »
I think this icon was used by EA in his recent thread here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23039.0.html

Hopefully he'll know the identity of the saint.  I'm sure the saint is one of the desert fathers.



You know, the funny thing is that when I saw the title I thought this was going to be one of those threads where someone gives clues about a saint and you have to answer who the saint is.  Like:  "Which saint(s) washed the feet of Christ?"  And then someone gives the answer.  A thread like that would be fun.   :)

Offline LBK

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 03:29:15 AM »
If memory serves, the saint is Apostle Peter.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 03:54:28 AM »
According to the Coptic inscription, the Saint is St. Mina (the Egyptian / Miracle-Performer)--one of the most popularly venerated martyrs in the Coptic Church today; up there with Sts George, Theodore and Abu Sefein (Philopateer Merkourios).
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 03:56:48 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 04:04:58 AM »
Thanks for that.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Robert W

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 04:49:24 AM »
Thank you EkhristosAnesti for the information.

I am somewhat offended that those who sold this icon to my sister tried to pass off St. Mina as "the unknown friend of Christ".

Thanks again for the information! ;D

Offline Father Peter

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 07:11:57 AM »
My understanding is that is Abbot Menas of the Monastery of St Apollo at Bawit.

According to the reproduction of this image in Coptic Egypt: The Christians of the Nile which I have in my hand.

It could be wrong.

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Offline Robert W

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2009, 08:38:01 AM »
My understanding is that is Abbot Menas of the Monastery of St Apollo at Bawit.

According to the reproduction of this image in Coptic Egypt: The Christians of the Nile which I have in my hand.

It could be wrong.

Father Peter

Mina is also called Menas.

While we shouldn't trust wikipedia with out lives, their article on st Menas includes a picture of this icon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Menas

Can anyone else comment of the identity of the saint?

Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2009, 10:01:56 AM »
Ah, Fr Peter, that indeed seems to make more sense given that St Mina's name is preceded with 'Apa' which is a monastic title. I simply assumed it was St Mina the Coptic Martyr, mainly because he is really the only known St Mina today amongst Copts. St Mina the Abbot is practically unheard of (does he even have his own entry in the Synaxarion? I'll have to check). It is also quite known that St Mina the Coptic Martyr lived a solitary ascetic life in the desert for some time prior to his martyrdom, so I assumed the 'Apa' title was placing emphasis on this aspect of his life. The word qualifying the actual name is incomprehensible to me. It would certainly shed some light on this matter though. Does your book give a translation of the complete inscription?
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Offline Father Peter

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2009, 10:03:07 AM »
No, no other info. It is not really academic.

I tried to understand the text next to St Mina. Is it not comprehensible Coptic?

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Offline Father Peter

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2009, 10:10:29 AM »
The recent volume...

Coptic Christology in practice: incarnation and divine participation

has this icon on the cover and describes it as...

Icon of Christ accompanying a Coptic monk named Menas.

The volume ... The icon in the life of the church describes it as ..

Christ with Abbot Menas.

The volume ... Jesus: the complete guide describes it as ....

Christ and the Abbot Mena.

So I wonder if it is not indeed Christ with a later Abbot of the Monastery. What tell tale symbols would we expect to see if it were of St Menas the soldier? Do other early icons show the camels, or him as a soldier saint?

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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2009, 10:18:23 AM »
Not as far as my Coptic knowledge is concerned (and my Sahidic has faded dramatically since I took classes on it three years ago, since we don't use it liturgically and I have not had much time to engage in much Sahidic reading).

My first problem is being certain of what the letters are. The first letter preceding his name is clearly pi (which is the "the" introducing the qualification--"Apa Mina the..."), followed by ro; I can't tell if the next letter is theta or eey; next letter is yota; can't tell if next letter is seema or o...Assuming one letter or another for those of which I am not certain, the closest word I can think of is the Sahidic verb roeis, which means, "to be vigilant."
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 10:18:59 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline Robert W

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2009, 02:19:51 AM »
Thank you peterfarrington and EkhristosAnesti for helping identify the saint. (And thanks to ialmisry for the PM)

Now comes step two  ;D; where can I find some information about the holy Abbot Menas?

EDIT:

The story is that my sister had been travelling around Europe with her friend from Poland. They where both visiting when my sister gave me the icon. Her Polish friend told me that they have the same icon on one side of the altar painting in her (catholic) church at home. She had also been told that the icon is of "Christ and an unnamed friend".

I would like find some information about the saint to be able to give to the friend of my sister. She is after all looking at this icon every time she goes to church at home. She should not be unaware of who the "friend of Christ" is.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 02:28:07 AM by Robert W »

Offline Robert W

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2009, 05:36:16 AM »
..oh, and post information about the Abbot Menas in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13801.0.html

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2009, 10:12:03 AM »
The inscription reads "Apa Mena, Superior", i.e. the Abbot of the monastery. It's from the monastery of Bawit, founded in the fourth century, but abandoned under the Muslims. Today, it's one of those archeological sites that anyone writing about early Christian art always mentions. It was full of decorations, many of which were taken by the French archeologists who excavated the site. This particular icon is in the Louvre in Paris. At the Louvre, they have an entire room that recreates one of the monastery's churches.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2009, 02:28:35 PM »
I got this icon as a present from my sister. The icon is obviously Coptic and it came with a note calling the icon "Friendship of Christ". The note also said that the saint depicted together with Christ is nameless.



I really do not believe this saint to be nameless or unknown, especially since there is an inscription besides his head. ::)

Could someone more knowledgeable than me name the saint? ...please?  ;D


Absolutely beautiful. I wonder where one could find a copy of this icon.
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Offline Robert W

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2009, 01:39:11 PM »
Absolutely beautiful. I wonder where one could find a copy of this icon.

I believe she bought it while visiting the taize community. It is being marketed as the icon of "the friendship of Christ" by them.
http://www.taize.fr/

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Name the saint
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2009, 02:20:32 PM »
Ah, Fr Peter, that indeed seems to make more sense given that St Mina's name is preceded with 'Apa' which is a monastic title. I simply assumed it was St Mina the Coptic Martyr, mainly because he is really the only known St Mina today amongst Copts. St Mina the Abbot is practically unheard of (does he even have his own entry in the Synaxarion? I'll have to check). It is also quite known that St Mina the Coptic Martyr lived a solitary ascetic life in the desert for some time prior to his martyrdom, so I assumed the 'Apa' title was placing emphasis on this aspect of his life. The word qualifying the actual name is incomprehensible to me. It would certainly shed some light on this matter though. Does your book give a translation of the complete inscription?

Some people say that this comes from an accidental mixing together of the stories of St. Menas the monk and St. Menas the martyr (or wonder-worker), a confusion because of the shared name. Everything got attributed to one St. Menas, and the other was forgotten...