The Lord’s Supper Papyrus

The Last Supper Papyrus

Image: The Last Supper Papyrus

Credit: The University of Manchester.

An article published in reports that researchers have found an ancient papyrus fragment that provides valuable information on how early Christians used the Lord’s Supper liturgy as a magical charm.

Dr. Roberta Mazza, a research fellow at the university’s John Rylands Research Institute, said that the papyrus provides valuable information on the lives of early Christians.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

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.

“This is an important and unexpected discovery as it’s one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context and the first charm ever found to refer to the Eucharist – the last supper – as the manna of the Old Testament,” said Mazza, in a statement. “The text of the amulet is an original combination of biblical passages including Psalm 78:23-24 and Matthew 26:28-30 among others.”

You can read the article in its entirety by visiting

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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