Armant is a city located in Upper Egypt on the west bank of the Nile about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Luxor in the province of Qina. The city was known in Greek as Hermonthis.
Coptic tradition dates the inception of Christianity in Hermonthis/Armant to the time of Jesus himself. The SYNAXARION relates that when Joseph, Mary, and their child were staying in al-Ashmunayn during their FLIGHT INTO EGYPT, Eudaimon, an inhabitant of Hermonthis, was told that children of kings were in the nearby city.
Upon arriving in al-Ashmunayn, Eudaimon worshiped Jesus, who in turn promised Eudaimon that his house would always be a home for Mary and Jesus, that Eudaimon would be the first martyr of Upper Egypt, and that he would have a place next to Jesus in heaven. When Eudaimon returned to al- Ashmunayn, his fellow citizens persecuted him and he was eventually martyred in his house because of his Christian beliefs. Later, a church was raised at the site of his house.
Hermonthis/Armant was a bishopric by the early fourth century when Bishop Plenes, a contemporary of ATHANASIUS I (326— 373), administered in the city (Le Quien, 1958, Vol. 2, cols. 609—610).
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 165—67. Paris, 1893.
- Le Quien, M. Oriens Christianus, 3 vols. Graz, 1958. Reprint of Paris, 1740.
- Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 1, pp. 152—82. Wiesbaden, 1984.
Of the late antique city, only a few meager house plans have been located in the area of the Bucheum temple. And almost nothing is left of the large church, probably the cathedral (to the south of the temple of Month), several sections of which were still standing at the time of the Napoleonic expedition. It might be identical with the “holy church of Hermonthis” as it is mentioned in Greek papyri (Antonini, 1940, No. XV, 1). To judge from drawings of this church, it was a five-aisled basilica with a multiroomed sanctuary and a sumptuous narthex section. Two columned outer porticoes run adjacent to both sides of the church. The granite column shafts that lie about the site and that obviously once belonged to this church as well as some bases, are spoils from the Roman period.
- Antonini, L. “Le chiese cristiane nell’ Egitto del IV al IX secolo secondo i documenti de papiri greci.” Aegyptus 20 (1940):129— 208.
- Eggebrecht, A. Lexikon der Ägyptologie I (1975):435—41. Jomard, E., ed. Description de l’Egypte, Vol. 1. Paris, 1821.
- Mond, R., and O. H. Myers. Temples of Armant, Vol. 1. London, 1940.