PATAPE or Bidaba (c. 244-312), an anchorite who became bishop of Coptos (Qift) and was martyred (feast day: 19 Abib). He was born to Christian parents from Hermonthis (Armant) and was brought up by Andrew, his cousin. When, at the age of fifteen, he became an anchorite, he and Andrew went to the same district where PACHOMIUS founded his monasteries some decades later.
The Arabic text tells us that Patape was an anchorite for forty-nine and a half years. He was ordained a priest and went to church
with his cousin Andrew every forty days to receive Holy Communion.
Patape was consecrated bishop of Coptos about 309, in the tenth year of PETER, seventeenth patriarch of Alexandria. Under the
governor Arianus, operating in the name of DIOCLETIAN, he was martyred about 312 at Coptos, where he had been bishop for three and a half years.
The Life of Patape, attributed to Theophilus, who probably was his immediate successor as bishop of Coptos, is important because it
represents a biography or Encomium whose origin likely goes back to a Coptic text written before 325 in the southern part of Upper
Egypt, decades before ATHANASIUS of Alexandria wrote his Life of Antony. The texts on Patape include illuminating information
about the state of the church, life among anchorites, and the relationship between the church and the anchorites in the district where Pachomius was soon to settle. The account of Patape also refers to many persons honored by the Coptic church, among them
bishops from that relatively early time (Gabra, 1986).
Many monuments indicate that Patape was an important man. A monastery situated near Bahjurah (near Hiw) that bears his name
(Lefort, 1939; Adli, 1980) is mentioned on the day of its dedication, 13 Kiyahk, by the Luxor manuscript (Coquin, 1978). One of the
churches of the monastery of Mercurius in Hijazah bears his name (Meinardus, 1965). His name is preserved with that of his companion Andrew on a diptych (Crum and Winlock, 1926).
According to Crum and Winlock (p. 117), this Patape, bishop of Coptos, should not be confused with his namesake who was a native
and ascetic in Thebes (Upper Egypt), celebrated by the SYNAXARION of Constantinople on 8 December (Delehaye, col. 287).
The feast of Patape (19 Abib) is mentioned only by a single manuscript in Paris (National Library, Arabe, no. 4780; CSCO 67, p. 232, and 90, p. 227 [transl.]) and by the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION.
His Life is preserved in two Arabic manuscripts. One, in the Coptic Museum, dates from the fifteenth century (Graf, no. 138; Simaykah, 1939). The other belongs to the library of the monastery of Saint Antony. This text is a homily of Theophilus, bishop of
Coptos, in honor of the holy bishop and martyr Anba Bidaba (Patape).
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