Location: Asia Minor? (Turkey?), Egypt
Cities: Sinope?, Alexandria, Memphis
Estimated Date: 300s B.C. - 400s A.D.
Next God: Apollo
He is a combination of Osiris and the Apis Bull
In Alexandria, Osiris was worshipped as Serapis, a synchronization of the deities Osiris and Apis, popularized as a patron by the Ptolemies who ruled Egypt since Alexander the Great and then appropriated by the Romans.
He is called the “Good Shepherd”, “the Lamb”, and “the Fish”
Serapis was known as the “Good Shepherd”, “the Lamb”, and “the Fish”.
He was worshipped in celibate mystery cults that offered a happy afterlife
The worship of Serapis promised an afterlife of eternal bliss, and much like the Pauline tradition, it presented a universal doctrine that transcended social and racial tribalism and imposed rules of celibacy, as did a great deal of Gnostic and Marcionite sects. Celibacy was even in some cases taken to the point of castration, much like the initiates of Adonis.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
"Blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they shall be well-pleasing unto God and shall not lose the reward of their continence (chastity), for the word of the Father shall be unto them a work of salvation in the day of his Son, and they shall have rest world Without end." -Acts of Paul and Thecla 2:6
With his powers, Emperor Vespasian healed the blind using his own spit, just like Jesus
Emperor Vespasian, who led the siege against Jerusalem in the 60s, was said to have been proclaimed the New Serapis when recognized as the new Roman Emperor in Alexandria. Two Egyptian commoners, one blind and one lame, claimed to have a dream from Serapis and asked Vespasian to heal them with the same relucantace as Jesus. Vespasian is said to have healed the blind man by wiping his eyes with spit, in the same manner Jesus did in Mark 8:23.
Christians were accused of taking their worship practices from him
Carving of deified Antinous dated to 300s A.D.
Coptic Christian carving dated 500s-600s A.D.
Emperor Hadrian, who put down the Bar Kokhba Revolt in Jerusalem in the 130s and exiled all Jews from Jerusalem, said that Serapis worship and Christianity in Alexandria were identical and practiced in syncretism, adding that Serpais had contributed to Judaism and Samaritanism as well. Hadrian equated Serapis worship with Christianity, went on to found his own dying-and-rising mystery cult based on the strange death of his lover Antinous while undergoing special mystery rites on the Nile, making Antinous’ statue the third most common in antiquity after Augustus and Hadrian himself. As shown by Kenneth Humphreys the iconography of Antinuous from the 300s shows Antinous holding a cross and grapes looking exactly like Coptic Christian iconography from the 500s or 600s.
The Egyptians, whom you are pleased to commend to me, I know thoroughly from a close observation, to be a light, fickle, and inconstant people, changing with every turn of fortune. The Christians among them are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ. It is a race of men, of all the most seditious, vain and mischievous. Hadrian went on to found his own dying-and-rising mystery cult based on the strange death of his lover Antinous while undergoing special mystery rites on the Nile, making Antinous’ statue the third most common in antiquity after Augustus and Hadrian himself. The iconography of Antinuous from the 300s shows Antinous holding a cross and grapes, looking exactly like Coptic Christian iconography from the 500s or 600s.
Antinous as Serapis
The Dying-and-Rising Gods
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