Ancient ‘Last Supper’ papyrus gives glimpse into early Christianity


A 1,500-year old piece of papyrus recently re-discovered in a U.K. university library contains some of the earliest documented references to the Last Supper and ‘manna from heaven.’

The papyrus fragment with Greek writing, held by the University of Manchester’s John Rylands library since 1901, has also been identified as one of the world’s earliest Christian charms. Experts believe that the fragment originated near the ancient Egyptian town of Hermoupolis.

The fragment formed part of an amulet, according to academics at the University of Manchester, making it the earliest surviving document to use the Christian Eucharist liturgy as a protective charm. Wearing amulets to protect against dangers was an ancient Egyptian practice adopted by Christians.


I despise when sacramentals are called charms


I agree. I wonder why they think it is a charm and what the basis is for these words: “it’s one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context.”


I agree but cheer up guys! This is pretty awesome imho!!! :smiley:


I’m curious what it says on it. Maybe that will give a clue why they are referencing magic in the article. Using Christian sacramentals as magical items never went away. People wear the rosary for protection from evil and bury statues of St. Joseph to help sell a house. Just because people do it doesn’t make it right or part of the faith.

Also, wouldn’t the earliest reference to the Eucharist be the letters of St. Paul more than 400 years before this was written?




The earliest reference to the Last Supper would of course be St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

But this may very well be the oldest surviving physical document (or fragment at least)… unless there are older papyrii of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.


Thanks for posting this. Here’s the original article from the Rylands Library at the University of Manchester.**


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