The Arabic name of the city known in Greek as Antinoë or ANTINOOPOLIS. Located on the east side of the Nile about 6 miles (9.5 km) north of Mallawi in the province of Asyut, the city was founded in 130 by the emperor Hadrian in honor of his friend Antinous, who had drowned in the Nile. The ruins of Antinoë/Ansina are located just east of Shayk ‘Abadah.
The earliest attestation of Christianity in Antinoë/Ansina is a notice in the writings of EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA that Bishop Alexander of Jerusalem wrote a letter to the Christians in Antinoë, which indicates that Christianity had been established in the city by the middle of the third century (Historia ecclesiastica 6.11.2). Coptic-Arabic hagiographic literature indicates that Antinoë/Ansina was a bishopric by the beginning of the fourth century when a man named Timotheus administered as bishop in the city. In 325, Antinoë was represented at the Council of NICAEA by its bishop, Tyrannos (Munier, 1943, p. 5).
Antinoë/Ansina was the birthplace or place of martyrdom of many Christians in the early years of the fourth century (for a list with bibliography, see Timm, 1984, pp. 113-16). Monasticism also made an early entry into the city. Among the most important monks was Apa Pammon, a contemporary of Patriarch ATHANASIUS I (Halkin, 1932, p. 119). At the beginning of the fifth century there were twelve nunneries in Antinoe and its environs; the monasteries in the same area were beyond counting (Palladius, Lausiac History 59).
[See also: Antinoopolis; Dayr al-Dik; Dayr al-Nasara (Antinoopolis); Dayr Sunbat; and Shaykh Sa‘id.]
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 48-51. Paris, 1893.
- Halkin, F. S. Pachomii Vitae Graecae. Subsidia Hagiographica 19. Brussels, 1932.
- Munier, H. Recueil des listes épiscopales de l’église copte. Cairo, 1943.
- Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 1, pp. 111-28. Wiesbaden, 1984.