The Mysteries of Saint John the Apostle and Holy Virgin

The heavens open and John is taken by the Cherubim up into the seventh heaven, where John learns that within the Cherubim is hidden all “the words of the Father” (Fol. 1b; Fol. 2a).

During Saint John’s time with the Cherubim, he asked questions and received answers. The Savior is not included in this portion of the narrative, as he stayed behind as John and the Cherubim ascended. The instruction was simply given to John to ask whatsoever questions he had on his journey (Fol. 2a; Fol. 2b).

Being taken to the Land of Eden John asks to see the tree whereof Adam and Eve were tempted (Fol. 10a). After seeing the tree and learning that the fruit, which no longer grows on the tree, which Adam and Eve partook of was a “kind of apple”, John proceeds to question the Cherubim: ‘My Lord, by what means did the Devil enter into Paradise, and seduce Adam and Eve?’ He knew that nothing could take place without the consent of God (Fol. 11a; Fol. 11b).

The Cherubim responded that the angels who were appointed to Paradise had made an agreement to remain outside the garden “until Adam had eaten of the tree.” Confused, Saint John exclaims, ‘If they agreed to this, with the consent of God, then no sin rests upon Adam’ (Fol. 11b).

This interpretation is avoided, because as John learns, if Adam had reused the fruit “for a short time,” God would have commanded him to eat, that the same effects might be brought to pass and Adams integrity might remain untarnished (Fol. 11b; Fol. 12a). The degeneration of Adam is then explained.

In reply to a query concerning the creation of Adam and Eve, the Cherubim explains that when first created Adam he also made Eve with him, “in one body, for at the time when the Master was working at Adam, the thought concerning Eve was with Him.” It was afterwards, during Adams deep sleep, that Eve was created with a separate body (Fol. 12b; Fol. 13a).


Translation: Budge, Coptic Apocrypha II, 241-57.

Coptic: Budge, Coptic Apocrypha II, 59-74

Hallock, Frank H. "Coptic Apocrypha". Journal of Biblical Literature 52.2/3 (1933): 163-174

Full Text

The full Coptic text and English translation may be found at

Coptic Text: