The cult of the Apis bull
started at the very beginning of Egyptian history as a fertility god connected
to grain and the herds.
land of Canaan the Apis bull was known as Baal.
Osirapis was the
sacred ascended bull of Memphis after its death according to the hieroglyphic
texts which were found on stelae and other objects in the Serapeum at Sakkara.
Serapis was a syncretistic deity derived from the worship of the
Egyptian Osiris and Apis (Osiris + Apis = Oserapis/Serapis).
Roman authors have much to say about Apis, the marks by which the black
bull-calf was recognized, the manner of his conception by a ray from heaven,
his house at Memphis with court for disporting himself, the mode of
prognostication from his actions, the mourning at his death, his costly burial,
and the rejoicings throughout the country when a new Apis was found. (Dalai
The Apis bull, a manifestation of Pharaoh, symbolized the king's
courageous heart, great strength, virility, and fighting spirit.
Mariette's excavation of the Serapeum of Saqqara revealed the tombs of over
sixty animals, ranging from the time of Amenhotep III to that of the
each animal was buried in a separate tomb with a chapel built above
5th century BC
Herodotus equates the Egyptian god
Osiris and the Greek god
III of Macedonia founds Alexandria.
Alexandria becomes not only
a center of
Hellenism but also home to the largest Hebrew community in the world.
The Septuagint, the
Greek translation of the Misnah, is
Ptolemy I succeedes
Alexander III of Macedonia and
assumes the traditional title of
Ptolemy I Soter I
(Ptolemy the Savior) promoted Serapis while
adding Hellenistic overtones most notable in the use of a human headed idol
rather than an animal headed idol like Anubus.
The followers of Serapis
endorse him as the patron of Alexandria.
The composite term Serapis is
found around the start of the first century BC, for example in Aegyptiaca by
Hecataeus of Abdera, and in works by Leon of Pella.
At the time of the
birth of Jesus of Nazareth the
Gnostic Mystery of the
Serapis was well ensconced in Alexandria.
"When in ancient times
a pestilence arose in Egypt, the common people ascribed their troubles to the
workings of a divine agency; for indeed with many strangers of all sorts
dwelling in their midst and practicing different rites of religion and
sacrifice, their own traditional observances in honor of the gods had fallen
Hence the natives of the land
surmised that unless they removed the foreigners, their troubles would
never be resolved.
At once, therefore,
the aliens were driven from the
country, and the most outstanding and
active among them banded together and, as some say, were cast ashore in
Greece and certain other regions; their leaders were notable men, chief among
them being Danaus and Cadmus.
But the greater number were driven into
what is now called Judaea, which is not far distant from Egypt.
colony was headed by a man called Moses (Moshe Rabbenu), outstanding both
for his wisdom and for his courage.
On taking possession of the Cannan
he founded Jerusalem.
In addition he established
the temple that they hold in chief veneration, instituted their forms of
worship and ritual, drew up their laws and ordered their political
He (Moshe Rabbenu) also divided them
into twelve tribes, since this is regarded as the
most perfect number and corresponds to the number of months that make up a
had no images whatsoever of the gods made for them, being of the opinion that
God is not in human form; rather the Heaven that surrounds the earth is alone
divine, and rules the universe.
The sacrifices that he established
differ from those of other nations, as does their way of living, for as a
result of their own expulsion from Egypt he introduced
a kind of misanthropic and
inhospitable way of life." - Aegyptiaca by Hecataeus of Abdera
Gnostic Mystery of the
Creator made flesh, humanities Savior is the Son
of the Creator = the Creator made flesh;
The Father of the Savior
resides in the ineffable heavens while the Savior's mother is a
birth was prophesized by a star in the
Serapis was born in a lean-to
before three shepherds.
Serapis offers his followers the chance to be
born again through the rites of
Serapis miraculously turned water into wine at the marriage
Serapis was powerless
to perform miracles in his own village.
Serapis rode triumphantly
into town on a donkey while people waved palm leaves to honor
Serapis had 12 disciples, was
accused of licentious behavior and hung on a tree.
Serapis dies at the
Vernal Equinox as a
sacrifice for the sins of the
world, descends to hell after bodily death, and then on the third day his tomb
is visited by three of his female followers, he rises from the dead and ascends
to heaven in glory.
resurrection are celebrated by
a ritual meal of bread and
wine, which symbolize his
body and blood.
mystery groups existed in the eastern
Mediterranean during the late classical antiquity period, including the
Eleusinian mysteries, the Dionysian
mysteries, the Orphic
mysteries and the Mithraic
mysteries as well as the
Mystery of Serapis.
Some of the many divinities that the
Romans nominally adopted from other
cultures also came to be worshiped in the Gnostic mysteries - for instance Egyptian
Sabazius and Phrygian
At the heart of
the Gnostic Mystery of
Christ was the myth of a
Dying and Resurrecting
God made into a Human, an
Avatar, who was known by different names in different cultures:
in Egypt he was Osiris and later
- in Greece Dionysus;
- in Asia Minor
- in Syria
- in Italy
This Dying and
Resurrecting God had been popular throughout the ancient world for centuries
and carried many local names but was mostly seen as a Bull as seen in the
Canaanite god of fertility Baal.
It was the cross pollination with
Hellenism, which always modeled the gods in human form, that allowed, first,
the Alexandrian followers
of Serapis and, then, the Essenes to model the
Dying and Resurrecting
God on, first, the Greek ruler Alexander III of Macedonia, and,
then, Jesus of Nazareth.
The name 'Osiris-Dionysus' was sometimes used to
denote the universal composite nature of
reality in much the same way that the term Serapis was used before being
replace by the term Christ.
Chrestus (Christus) was
another name for the Egyptian god, Serapis.
Chrestus may be translated
"In the city on the borders of Egypt
which boasts Alexander of
Macedonia as its founder, Serapis
and Isis are worshiped with a reverence that is almost fanatical.
Evidence that the sun, under the name of
Serapis, is the object of all this
reverence is either the basket set on the head of the god or the figure of a
three-headed creature placed by his statue.
The middle head of this
figure, which is also the largest, represents a lion's; on the right a dog
raises its head with a gentle and fawning air; and on the left the neck ends in
the head of a ravening wolf.
All three beasts are joined together by the
coils of a serpent whose head returns to the god's right hand which keeps the
monster in check." - Macrobius, Saturnalia
Constantine was searching for
a new State religion to unite the far
flung reaches of the Roman
To this end Constantine took existing
fragmented and splintered Gnostic
Mysteries synthesizing the Mysteries of the Serapis with the
Mithras and codifying the structure of those
Gnostic mysteries into a new religion with
a new sacred text - the
New Testament which was underlain by the
previously devised ponoerologic mythology of
the Sadducees found in the
Old Testament legitimized by
the writings of Saul of Tarsus.
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