"In contrast to the ancient deities of Egypt,
Sarapis was a late comer among the gods of Eygpt. His cult seems ot have been
founded in Alexandria by Ptolemy I before 283
- David Magie1
"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.
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, the largest, represents a
lion; 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
"When Egypt became
the kingdom of the Ptolemies, they found a thousand year old culture with a
flourishing religiosity focused on the Pharaoh.
In order to establish a
stable power base in the country, the foreign rulers had to respond to the
needs of their Egyptian subjects, who made up most of the population of their
For their official public image, the Ptolemies therefore
assumed not only the Hellenistic portrayal of a basileus, but they also
became Egyptian Pharaohs." - Stefan Pfeiffer
The cult of the Apis
bull started at the very beginning of Egyptian history as a fertility god
connected to grain and the herds.
In the 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 synthetic deity derived from
the worship of the Egyptian
Osiris and Apis
(Osiris + Apis = Oserapis/Serapis).
Greek and 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 rejoicing throughout the country
when a new Apis (or Lama) is
"There is no description of the Mass, for
instance, in the gospels, it came in from antique
sources; so the key of God
in the Christian cult is the magic key with the power to open or shut."
Carl Jung, Modern Psychology, Page 189
bull, a manifestation of Pharaoh, symbolized the king's courageous heart,
great strength, virility, and fighting spirit.
Auguste 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 Ptolemaic dynasty.
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 Dionysus.
III of Macedonia founds Alexandria.
Alexandria becomes not
only a center of Hellenism but also
home to the largest Hebrew community in the world.
Traditions of the Hebrews is codified and recorded in the Mishnah in Mishnaic
Hebrew with some parts in Aramaic.
304 BC Ptolemy I
succeeds Alexander III of Macedonia
and assumes the traditional
title of Pharaoh.
Ptolemy I Soter I (Ptolemy the Savior) promotes 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.
"The Ptolemies intended that the new god should have
universal appeal in an increasingly cosmopolitan country.
In consequence, Serapis had more than 200 localized names,
including (according to
correspondence of Emperor Hadrian)
Ptolemy put all the resources
of the state behind the promotion and sponsorship of an official cult.
Major temples of the god were built at Alexandria and Memphis.
Serapeum in Alexandria
itself blended Egyptian gigantism with the grace and beauty of Hellenic style.
The Serapeum grew into a vast
complex, one of the grandest monuments of pagan civilization." - Kenneth
At the time of the birth of
Jesus of Nazareth the
Gnostic Mystery of the Serapis, the Serapeum, was in the
Catechetical School of the
Library of Alexandria.
"When in ancient times a pestilence arose
in Egypt, the common people ascribed their troubles to the workings of a divine
agency; with many strangers dwelling in their midst and practicing different
rites of religion, their own
traditional observances in
honor of the gods had fallen into disuse.
Hence the natives of the land surmised that unless they
removed the foreigners, their troubles would never be resolved.
aliens were driven from the country. The most outstanding and active among them
banded together and were cast ashore in Greece; their leaders were notable men,
chief among them being Danaus and Cadmus.
The greater number were driven
into what is now called Judaea, which is not far distant from Egypt.
The colony was headed by a man called
Moshe Rabbenu, outstanding both
for his wisdom and for his courage.
On taking possession of the
Land of Cannan he founded
He established the temple that they
hold in chief veneration, instituted their forms of worship and ritual, drew up
laws and ordered political institutions.
Moshe Rabbenu divided them into
twelve tribes, since this is regarded as
the most perfect number
corresponding to the number of months a year.
He had no images of gods, being
of the opinion God is not in human form;
the Heaven that surrounds
the earth is alone divine, and rules the universe.
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 Serapis included:
Humanities Savior is the Son
of the Creator = the Creator made flesh;
Father of the Savior resides in heaven while the
mother is a mortal virgin.
Serapis' birth was prophesized by
a star in the
Serapis was born in a shed
before three shepherds.
Followers of Serapis are
born again through
the rites of
Serapis miraculously turned water into wine at the marriage
Serapis is powerless to perform miracles
in his own
Serapis ride into town on a donkey while people wave palm
Serapis had 12
licentious behavior Serapis is 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 on the third day his tomb is visited
by three female followers, he rises from the dead and ascends to
resurrection are celebrated by
a ritual meal of bread and
wine, which symbolize his body and blood.
schools existed in the eastern Mediterranean during the late classical
antiquity period, including the Eleusinian, Dionysian, Orphic and
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
Thracian/Phrygian Sabazius and
At the heart of the
of Christ is the myth of a dying and resurrecting god taking human form, an
Avatar, known by different names in different cultures:
- in Egypt
Osiris and later Serapis;
- in Greece
- in Asia Minor
- in Italy
- in Sumeria
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. (Age of Taurus)
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 Ptolemy I, and, then,
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 Chrestus.
(Christus) was another name for the Egyptian god,
Chrestus may be translated as
Constantine, searching for
a new State religion to
unite the far flung reaches of the Roman Empire, sees a cross in the
sky and cobbles together existing
Mystery of Serapis
Mystery of Mithras
Mishnah generated by
the Hebrews in Alexandria becomes the
Tales and sayings of Jesus become the
John the Presbyter pens the
Gospel of John and Revelation.
Writings of Saul of Tarsus, the
Father of Christianity are
The whole narrative is hermeneutically unified by
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