A city on the right bank of the Nile, about 250 miles (467 km) south of Cairo. In Byzantine times Akhmim was known as Panopolis. It remains today the chief town of the province of Suhaj. Akhmim is the name of pharaonic times (Chemmis) clothed in Arabic.

Monasteries Pachomian Establishments

The Greek and Coptic lives relate that PACHOMIUS established three monasteries in the neighborhood of the town of Akhmim. In chronological order, the first of the three was that of Tse or Tasi “in the land of Akhmim,” which was the sixth  Pachomian establishment; the second came a little later at the request of Arius, bishop of Akhmim, but the name of the place is not mentioned; the third was that of Tesmine, which in the Coptic (Sahidic) recension is ninth in the list of Pachomius’ religious houses.

No doubt because L. T. Lefort did not know the Coptic leaves published by Coquin (1979, pp. 212-23), he did not mention the second monastery near Akhmim in his article on the early Pachomian monasteries (1939, pp. 403-404) and thus counts only two at Akhmim. Efforts to determine the precise locations of these three monasteries, reported by M. Jullien (1901) and H. Gautier (1904, 1912), have proved fruitless.

Other Monasteries

In discussing Akhmim, al-Maqrizi, the fifteenth-century Muslim historian of the Copts, mentions a number of monasteries in existence in his own day. These are the Monastery of the Seven Mountains (DAYR AL-SAB‘AT JIBAL); the Monastery of the Weeping Willow (Dayr al-Sufsafah); Dayr Sabrah; and the Monastery of Apa Bisadah the Bishop (Dayr Abi Bisadah al-Usquf). Several monasteries still exist in the area. East of Akhmim are DAYR AL-MALAK MIKHA’IL (called Dayr Sabrah by al-Maqrizi); DAYR AL-SHUHADA’; DAYR AL-‘ADHRA’; DAYR AL-MADWID (called Dayr al-Sab‘at Jibal by al-Maqrizi; also named Dayr al-Sufsafah); and DAYR AL-QURQAS (under the of Disqurus and Sklabiyus). North of Akhmim are DAYR BAKHUM at Sawam‘at al-Sharq and DAYR MAR TUMAS founded at Shinshif at Naj‘ al-Dayr. South of Akhmim are DAYR MAR JIRJIS AL-HADIDI (also named of Awlujiyus and Arsaniyus), and al-Usquf, opposite al-Manshiyyah.


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  •             . “Nouvelles notes géographiques sur le nome panopolite.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 10 (1912): 93-94, 103.
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