PSHOI OF SCETIS, fourth-fifth-century monk (feast day: 8 Abib).
Pshoi was born at Shansha, in the province of al-Daqahliyyah. There is another town of this name in the province of Beheira, and there thus remains some doubt on the precise location of his birthplace. His parents had seven children; and before his birth his mother had a dream in which an angel announced Pshoi's vocation to her. She protested, pleading that Pshoi was the most sickly of all her children, but the angel told her that such was the divine decision. Pshoi embraced the monastic life at SCETIS at an age that is not precisely stated, placing himself under the direction of an "elder" named Amoi. He bound himself in spiritual friendship to JOHN COLOBOS (the Greek Life calls his master Pambo; the Arabic calls him (A)pa Amoi, transmuted into Bamuyah). Sometime after Amoi's death, Pshoi and John Colobos decided to separate. John Colobos remained at Scetis, and Pshoi established himself two miles to the north, in a rock cave. The fame of his miracles spread, and a number of disciples gathered around him, no doubt forming the nucleus of the first DAYR ANBA BISHOI; but, as with Antony and Macarius, we must not imagine that Pshoi (or, to speak in modern terms, Anba Bishoi) was a superior as that term is understood today. Pshoi's authority, more spiritual than temporal, was compatible with more or less lengthy sojourns in the remotest parts of the desert. This life included, we are told, visions of Jesus, Constantine, and others. Then came the first sack of Scetis by the Maziques (407) and the dispersion of the monks. John Colobos fled to CLYSMA (al- Qulzum), where he died sometime later. Pshoi took refuge in the mountain of Antinoopolis.
According to the Arabic life (neither the Greek nor the Syriac life says this), Pshoi's body, with that of his friend PAUL OF TAMMA, was transferred from the area of Antinoopolis to the monastery of Bishoi, in the present Wadi al-Natrun. The date of this translation is not given, but we know from a list of the relics venerated in Egypt, drawn up by the deacon MAWHUB, author of a part of the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS OF THE EGYPTIAN CHURCH, that these bodies were preserved in the Wadi al-Natrun at the end of the eleventh century.
Since Pshoi was a younger contemporary of John Colobos, we may deduce that he lived mainly in the fourth century and, with Evelyn-White, fix his death in the first decades of the fifth century. (1932, pp. 159-160).
A Life is preserved in Greek under the name of Paisius. It is published without translation by Pomjalovski (pp. 1-61). Other Greek texts are listed in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca, 1402-1403d. Their relation to the Life preserved in Arabic have not yet been determined. (Evelyn-White, pp. 111-12). A Life is transmitted in Syriac by Bedjan (vol. 3, pp. 572-620; see Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca nos. 181-82). A third Life, in Arabic, is unpublished (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Arabe 4796, fols. 119r-169v; see Troupeau, vol. 2, p. 47). Evelyn-White says he has used it, thanks to an unpublished translation by Evetts (p. 111, n. 4). A resume of the Arabic Life is given in the recension of the SYNAXARION of the Copts from Lower Egypt at 8 Abib; reference may be made to the editions of Basset (pp. 630-34) or Forget (text, p. 210, and trans., pp. 206-08). The ETHIOPIAN SYNAXARION gives a perceptibly identical version at 8 Hamle (Guidi, pp. 270-76). One may also refer to the English translation by Budge (Vol. 4, pp. 1083-87), although this is not a critical edition. There is an Ethiopian text that is without doubt a version of the Arabic life. It has not yet been edited, but Beylot gives a detailed analysis (pp. 172-79). The passage from the Ethiopian Synaxarion is perhaps a summary of this life.
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