Ostraca are texts written on broken pottery, which were employed when parchment was unavailable or too expensive. At Epiphanius a large number of ostraca were discovered in the monastery, including in its rubbish heaps; they record biblical verses, legal documents, sermons, financial accounts, school texts, and letters requesting assistance and prayers. Some reveal that, even at the southernmost border of the Empire, people were still aware of events in the capital, Constantinople.
Ostracon with a Letter from Gennadius to Peter I, Gennadius, do write and greet Peter, (saying,) Be pleased to enquire for these eggs for me, for there is need of them. Lo, the money have I sent with the servant and I will send and summon thee at this Feast. Give it unto Peter; from Gennadius.
West Court of the Monastery of Epiphanius, Thebes
Crum, W. E., and H. G. Evelyn-White. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes. Vol. II. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926. no. 333, p. 241.