Serapis Christus

1 Maccabees

{1:1} And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,

{1:2} And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth,

{1:3} And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.

{1:4} And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him.

{1:5} And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die.




{10:51} Afterward Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemee king of Egypt with a message to this effect:



Serapis (Σέραπις) or Sarapis (Σάραπις) is a Graeco-Egyptian god. Serapis was devised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The god was depicted as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian trappings, and combined iconography from a great many cults, signifying both abundance and resurrection. His cultus was spread as a matter of deliberate policy by the Ptolemaic kings, who also built a splendid Serapeum in Alexandria.


Serapis may have finally had certain ties with the early Christian community. There were certainly some similarities between Serapis and the Hebrew God. Serapis was a supreme god,  and it seems that some early worshippers of Christ amongst the Gentiles could have possibly worshipped Serapis either purposefully, or confusing him with Christ, though the confusion seems more likely to have been one of language.

A correspondence of Emperor Hadrian refers to Alexandrian worshippers of Serapis calling themselves ‘Bishops of Christ’:

‘Egypt, which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshipers of Serapis (here) are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find), call themselves Bishops of Christ.’
–Hadrian to Servianus, 134A.D. (Quoted by Giles, ii p86)


the Greeks added to this Egyptian Core a number of Hellenistic deities, including Zeus, Helios, Dionysus, Hades and Asklepius to form Serapis.