Ancient Last Supper charm

Ancient Last Supper charm is earliest known use of magic in Christianity

(Read the article on one page)

A 1,500-year-old papyrus stored in John Rylands Library in the University of Manchester has been studied for the first time in more than a century, revealing that the ancient text was actually a charm that would have been kept within a locket or pendant.  The ancient charm is thought to be “the first ever found to refer to the Last Supper and use magic in the Christian context".

The papyrus was written in Greek on the back of a fragment of a grain tax receipt. It is believed that the owner would have then folded it up, placed it in a locket, and worn it around the neck as protection from danger, a practice that originated in ancient Egypt and was later adopted by early Christians, who simply replaced prayers to Egyptian gods with passages from the Bible.

A modern-day version of an Egyptian charm pendant

A modern-day version of an Egyptian charm pendant. The papyrus would have been folded up and placed inside the pendant and worn around the neck for protection. Image source.

The text contains a combination of biblical passages from the books of Psalms and Matthew and reads:

Fear you 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 of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.

"It's one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context and the first charm ever found to refer to the Eucharist - the Last Supper - as the manna of the Old Testament," said researcher Dr Roberta Mazza, who first realized the significance of the fragment.

Dr Mazza added that it was an "incredibly rare example of Christianity and the Bible becoming meaningful to ordinary people - not just priests and the elite.”

Researchers believe that the papyrus was originally owned by a villager living near Hermopolis (modern-day Al Ashmunin, Egypt), revealed that knowledge of the Bible was more embedded in the 6 th century AD in Egypt that initially realised.

Some Christians today continue to use passages from the bible as protective charms so the latest discovery may reveal the starting point of a trend that has continued for many centuries.

Featured image: The papyrus charm kept in the John Rylands Library. Credit: The University of Manchester

By April Holloway


The headline "Ancient Last Supper charm is earliest known use of magic in Christianity" is completely misleading! There are amulets with passages from the Old and New Testaments which are much older! It is sad when media gets the facts so wrong and it happens more often because of the need of sensation.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

A Malakulan spider web mask.
Spider webs are sticky, somewhat creepy, and generally not something you like to see in your house. But they are also intricate and beautiful when the right light hits them. Even more intriguing than the process and formation of a spider web is when the silk from said web is used for alternative purposes.

Myths & Legends

King Haraldr hárfagri receives the kingdom out of his father's hands. From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.
Myths and legends – purely the creation of creative and imaginative minds, right? Not necessarily. Numerous stories, sagas, and texts from the ancient past have been proven to hold facts. For example, a 2013 study validates an intriguing idea presented in the Icelander Sagas - Vikings were probably less brutal than many people assume.


The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article