The Seven Ascetic Saints in Tounar Mount

July 6 is the Commemoration of the Seven Ascetic Saints in Tounar Mount (Tona)
“On this day, the seven ascetic saints in Tounar Mount (Tona), were martyred. These were: Basadi, Cotolus, Ardama, Moses, Esey, Parkalas (Mikalas), and a monk called Cotolus. The angel of the Lord had appeared to Sts. Basadi and Cotolus and commanded them to confess the name of the Lord Christ. They rose up straightway to go to the governor. They met the five saints embarking a ship going to the governor to also confess the Lord Christ. They all agreed together on receiving the crown of martyrdom. They went to the governor and confessed the Lord Christ. He tortured them excessively, then hung stones from their necks, and shut them up in prison. The Lord appeared to them, comforted, strengthened, and promised them the kingdom. The governor then sent them to Alexandria, where they were tortured severely. He threw them into cauldrons full of sulphur and pitch, and lighted a great fire under them, then he took them out and threw them away. The Lord sent His angel who healed them. They came back to the governor and confessed the Lord Christ before him. One hundred thirty persons witnessed that. They confessed the Lord Christ, were martyred, and they received the crown of martyrdom. The Governor intensified the torture on the seven saints, and finally cut off their heads with the sword, and they received the crown of martyrdom.”
“SEVEN ASCETICS OF TUNAH. This is a classic story concerning martyr hermits. No details are given about their ascetic life except that they lived near Tunah. It seems, moreover, that only five of them were ascetics, and that Anba Psate (or Basidi) and Anba Kutilus, who was a priest, joined the ascetics in their confession of Christ. The governor (it is not said where he resided) tortured and imprisoned them but, achieving nothing, sent them to Alexandria, where they were tortured again. Then, as a last resort, six of them were beheaded when they refused to worship the idol of Apollo. Kutilus (the priest, apparently) was consigned to the flames. These seven martyred ascetics are known only from a brief notice in the recension of the SYNAXARION of the Copts from Lower Egypt. This text presents two problems for the reader. First is the question of the place called “the mountain of Tunah.” It could be the town that disappeared in the floods of Lake al-Manzalah or the mountain called in Middle Egypt Tunah al-Jabal, in the district of Mallawi. E. Amélineau inclines to the second site (1893, pp. 525- 26), but it seems that in fact it is the town of this name that is meant. In fact, if that were the case, it is more natural that the governor should send them to Alexandria. Second, the names of these martyr ascetics are not certain, for the spelling varies greatly from one manuscript to another. What seems certain is that two of them had a foreign name—they are said to have called themselves “Kutilus” (the transcription credited to a Syrian saint “Gawbdalahu” [22 Tut]). It may therefore be that these two ascetics were of Syrian origin. The other names appear to be Egyptian. In any case, they all seem thoroughly “pagan,” and hence guarantee their antiquity. The Ethiopic version of the Synaxarion renders jabal (mountain) as “monastery,” and precedes the name Tunah by the word “town.” It therefore interprets “al-jabal Tunah” as designating “the monastery of the town of Tunah” (without doubt an anachronism), and places it in the Delta rather than in Middle Egypt.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: