The earliest reference to Christians in the area of Abyar is the notice in the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS that around 1117 a hermit named Mercurius lived near the city. The first attested bishop of Abyar was Mark, who was among the bishops who joined with Patriarch CYRIL III IBN LAQLAQ in 1240 to issue new canons (Munier, 1943, p. 31).
About one-half mile southwest of Abyar is Dayr al-Habis (Monastery of the Hermits) with its church of ABU MINA. The antiquity of this church is indicated by the fact that it is named in a medieval list of churches in Egypt (Amélineau, 1893, pp. 578, 580).
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, p. 1. Paris, 1893.
- Munier, H. Recueil des listes épiscopales de l’église copte. Cairo, 1943.
- Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 1, pp. 60-63. Wiesbaden, 1984.