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Artefact ID358
TM IDTM 33812
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

SB I 2266: Letter to Papnouthios.

The opening greetings of this letter are missing, but the address on the back gives the names of the correspondents: Justinus writes to his "lord and beloved brother Papnouthios Christbearer (χρηστοφόρ[ῳ], l. χριστοφόρ[ῳ])". The object of the letter is mainly a request for Papnouthios' prayers and a gift of oil through the intermediary of their brother Makarios. Final greetings "to all our brothers in the Lord" (ἐν κ(υρί)ῳ) and wishes that the divine providence may protect the addressee "in Lord Christ".

Different elements, like the assertion that Papnouthios' "citizenship is in heaven" (7-8: πιστεύομεν γὰρ | τὴν πολιτία[ν] [σ]ου ἐν οὐρανῷ) and biblical echos, combine to suggest that Papnouthios is a monk of high standing, most likely the same holy man and head of a monastery as the one who receives P.Lond. VI 1923-1929, whereas Justinus would be a lay Christian (Choat 2000: 158, and already Bell 1924: 101-102).

About the mention of the πολιτεία, see also P.Neph. 14.

Recto: along the fibres. Verso: address, along the fibres.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian onomastics, Nomina sacra, Biblical quote or paraphrase
Date from325
Date to375
Dating criteria


Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Acquired in 1897 (Bell 1924: 102).

Accession number

Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie P. Heid. Inv. G. 1355


Reference edition

• Choat, M. 2000. Papnouthios in "SB" I 2266: New Man or New Patron? Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 133, 157-162.

Editio princeps

• A. Deissmann. 1905. Die Septuaginta-Papyri und andere altchristliche Texte. Heidelberg, 94-104 (= Pap.Heid. I 6).

Additional bibliography

Bell, Harold I. 1924. Jews and Christians in Egypt. The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy. London: British Museum.

• Choat, M. 2017. "Monastic Letters on Papyrus from Late Antique Egypt." In Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism, ed. by M. Choat and M. Ch. Giorda. Leiden-Boston, 29-33.

• Llewelyn, Stephen. 1982. New Documents Illustrations Early Christianity, 2. Macquarie University: The Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, §97, 157.

• Naldini, Mario. 1968. Il cristianesimo in Egitto. Lettere private nei papiri dei secoli II-IV. Studi e Testi di Papirologia. 3. Firenze: Le Monnier, no 41.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 358", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,