Vida de Sanct Onofre

Vida de Sanct Onofre Facsimile Edition

Valencia (Spain) — 1520

The legend of the desert father Onuphrius: how Paphnutius the ascetic came across the famous hermit who lived in the desert for over 60 years

  1. Called “San Onofre” in Spanish, the Desert Father Saint Onuphrius lived in the 4th or 5th centuries

  2. Onuphrius has a wild, unkempt appearance with long hair and a beard, and is dressed in leaves and animal skins

  3. His hagiograsphy was printed in 1520 by Jorge Costilla with an elegant Gothic script and engraved initials

Vida de Sanct Onofre

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Vida de Sanct Onofre

Printed in an elegant Gothic script and adorned with engraved initials, this Spanish codex presents the tale of St. Onuphrius, which is regarded in many ways as being archetypal for the life of an early-Christian desert hermit. Onuphrius was a monk who left his monastery in Thebes for a life of solitude in the desert of Upper Egypt during either the 4th or 5th centuries. He is venerated in the churches of both the Orthodox East and the Catholic West and his head was supposedly still preserved as a relic in Constantinople ca. 1200. The woodcut on the title page is typical of the art depicting the sainted hermit – a wild man covered completely in hair.

Vida de Sanct Onofre

This Valencian hagiography, printed in 1520 by Jorge Costilla, is concerned with the life of the 4th/5th century Desert Father Saint Onuphrius (“Onofre” in Spanish) and is prefaced by a fascinating woodcut. According to legend, Paphnutius the Ascetic found Onuphrius after wandering the Egyptian desert for 17 days and contemplating becoming a hermit.

The Legendary Hermit

Onuphrius has a wild, unkempt appearance with long hair and a beard, and is dressed in leaves and animal skins. He informs Paphnutius that he has was once a monk in the area of Thebes but had been living in the desert for more than 60 years, enduring thirst, hunger, heat, cold, and discomfort for the love of God. Furthermore, he had been visited by a guardian angel, who brings him the Host every Sunday. Onuphrius then took Paphnutius to his cell, where they spoke until sunset, at which point bread and water miraculously appear outside. After spending the night in prayer, Onuphrius is near death come morning, and tells Paphnutius not to occupy his cell after his death, saying “…thy work is in Egypt with thy brethren”. He then blesses Paphnutius and dies. The hard, rocky ground makes digging a grave for Onuphrius impossible, and Paphnutius wraps his body in a cloak and leaves him in a cleft of the rocks. After the burial, his cell crumbles, which Paphnutius takes for a sign. The woodcut depicts Paphnutius pointing out the tomb, wherein Onuphrius lies with his arms crossed, to two lions who are gazing within.


Alternative Titles
Das Leben des Heiligen Onophrios
Size / Format
116 pages / 20.5 × 13.0 cm
Title page with a woodcut of the discovery of St Onofre's body; numerous decorated
Vita of Saint Onophrios
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Vida de Sanct Onofre – CF/3(1) – Biblioteca General e Histórica de la Universidad (Valencia, Spain) Facsimile Edition
Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 2004
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Vida de Sanct Onofre

Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 2004

Publisher: Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 2004
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Binding: Parchment on wooden board. The facsimile edition comes in a cloth-lined presentation case (21.7 x 15.5 x 3.0 cm) with gold engraved leather spine.
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
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