Towards Salvation through Fervent Prayer


This manuscript of devotions attributed to Butrus al-Sadamanti appears to have been copied in the 19th century by an anonymous scribe. The manuscript includes a 40-page introduction to the devotions. The title is not found in the work itself, but is noted on the inside front cover. The binding is small and tight and the text block is generally sound except for the last pages, which are missing. Little is known of the life of the presumed author, named in the incipit as anba (bishop) and qiddis (saint) Butrus al-Sadamanti. Scholars are uncertain about his date of birth. He appears to have flourished in the 13th century and may have been of Armenian origin. His name points to an association with the Coptic monastery of Sadamant, in Middle Egypt. No other copies of Matla’ al-Najat (Towards salvation through fervent prayer) are known to exist. It is significant that al-Sadamanti lived and wrote at a time of transition when the Coptic language ceded its place to Arabic as the written language among Copts. The manuscript consists of devotions of an intensely personal, even mystical nature. The introduction discusses the necessity and benefits of prayer and how the faithful should prepare for dialogue with God. The work is part of the Iryan Moftah Collection of Coptic Books and Manuscripts at the American University in Cairo.

Last updated: May 27, 2014