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Ancient Christian Charms

Who believes that charms are only a medieval legacy now should think again. Carrying a copy of the Gospel – as often suggested by pope Francis – or some other devotional object, it is not superstition, but reflects an old and established practice among sixth century A.D. people! Dr Roberta Mazza a scholar at John Rylands Research Institute discovered a papyrus used as a receipt for the payment of grain tax. On the other side of the receipt there is a charm. It is a text composed of two biblical quotations: Psalm 78: 23-24 and Matthew 26:28-30. The Psalm speaks of “the manna in the desert ,” and the gospel text is a reference to the Last Supper. It may be that the owner thought that the texts were linked to one another. Here’s the text of the charm:

“Fear all who rule over the earth.
Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God.
For he spoke and they came to being,
he commanded and they were created;
he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies.
Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave
manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood poured for us in remissions of sins.”

“Manna of the new covenant” is the earliest mention of the Eucharist imagined as the “new manna.” So, if you want to have a charm with you, choose a Bible verse that you like and that expresses your wishes, copy it on paper and put it in your pocket. It may be that God will listen your prayer! (see original article here)

Simone Venturini


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