Vision of Theophilus

Visio Theophili

Other titles:

Clavis numbers: CANT 56; CPG 2628.

Standard abbreviation: Vis. Theo.

Compiled by: in progress


This text purports to be the record of a vision of Mary seen by Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 but the text probably was not written before the eleventh century. In the vision Mary tells Theophilus of the family’s time in Egypt and how they were denied the hospitality of the townsfolk because the idols in the villages were destroyed by Jesus’ presence. They were pursued by the authorities and priests and, later, by the soldiers of Herod. Wherever the family went in Egypt, the young Jesus cured the sick, exorcised the possessed, and created healing springs of water. Locations in the text become Christian churches and shrines.



In preparation for MNTA vol. 2 by Slavomir Céplö, and Witold Witakowski.

Previous editions: A. Mingana, “The Vision of Theophilus, Or the Book of the Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt”, in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 13 (1929), pp. 383-474; reprinted in ID., Woodbroke Studies fascicle 3, Cambridge 1931 (available HERE)

Manuscripts: Arabic (likely the original language), Syriac (perhaps best represented by Mingana Syr. 48, from 1906), Garshuni, Ethiopic

Additional Bibliography: F. Nau, “La version syriaque de la vision de Théophile sur le séjour de la Vierge en Egypte,” Revue de l’Orient chrétien 15 (1910), pp. 125-132.