The fragment was likely folded up and worn inside a locket or pendant as a sort of protective charm, according to Roberta Mazza, who spotted the papyrus while looking through thousands of papyri kept in the library vault at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
"This is an important and unexpected discovery as 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," Mazza said in a statement. The fragment likely originated in a town in Egypt. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]
The text on the papyrus is a mix of passages from Psalm 78:23-24 and Matthew 26:28-30, among others, said Mazza, who is a research fellow at the institute. "To this day, Christians use passages from the Bible as protective charms so our amulet marks the start of an important trend in Christianity."