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
syncretistic deity derived from the worship of the Egyptian
Osiris and Apis (Osiris + Apis =
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 the rejoicings
throughout the country when a new Apis was found.
The Apis bull, a manifestation of Pharaoh,
symbolized the king's courageous heart, great strength, virility, and fighting
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.
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 Oral Traditions of
the Hebrews is codified and recorded in the Mishnah in Mishnaic Hebrew with
some parts in Aramaic.
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.
At the time of the birth of
Jesus of Nazareth the
Gnostic Mystery of the Serapis was well ensconced in
"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.
The 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
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
The 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
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 disciples.
Accused of 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.
Gnostic mystery 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
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 Isis, Thracian/Phrygian
Sabazius and Phrygian
At the heart of the
Gnostic Mystery of
Christ is the myth of a dying and
resurrecting god taking human form, an Avatar, known by different names in
- in Egypt Osiris and later Serapis;
- in Asia
- 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. (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
"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, searching for
a new State religion to
unite the far flung reaches of the Roman Empire,
takes existing systems and cobbles them
together. These include:
Mystery of Serapis
Mystery of Mithras
Mishnah generated by
the Hebrews in Alexandria becomes the Septuagint.
Tales and sayings of Jesus become
the Synoptic Gospels.
John the Presbyter writes the
Gospel of John and Revelation.
Writings of Saul of Tarsus, the
Father of Christianity are
The whole narrative is hermeneutically unified by
Jerome of Stridon.
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