“Fear you all who rule over the earth. Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God. For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies. Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.” Those were the words translated from a Greek papyrus that was found to have been worn as an amulet by early Christians, and it is dated to be around 1,500 years old.

According to a researcher, Robert Mazza, who examined the ancient Greek papyrus that is kept in a vault at the John Rylands Research Institute of the University of Manchester, UK, the papyrus fragment was folded into a 3×10.5 cm or 1.2×4.1 inches and could have been folded to be worn because there are creases on the fragment to indicate this hypothesis. The amulet fragment contained text that mentioned the village of Tertembuthis, which is around Hermoupolis, and this indicates that the papyrus could have originated from ancient Egypt.

According to Robert Mazza, “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.” He further states that early Christians possibly wore charms as amulets to ward off evil or bring good fortunes, and to this end, he says, “in many Catholic churches nowadays, believers are given holy pictures of the saints with a prayer on the back that you can bring along again for protection.”

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