A village on the left bank of the Rosetta branch of the Nile, in the markaz (district) of Imbabah, Minufiyyah, not far from Bani Salamah, 45 miles (73 km) northwest of Cairo. The existence of a monastery in or near this village is attested by the Chronicle of JOHN OF NIKIOU (second half of the seventh century): “And the three chief men of Manuf, Isidore, John and Julian, and those who had concealed themselves in the convent of Atrs” (Charles, 1916, p. 172).
Today there are in this area, less than a mile apart, two dependencies of the monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun, one of Saint Macarius, DAYR ANBA MAQAR, and the other that of the Syrians. The first seems very old, but the second dates only from around 1830. The church of the village is dedicated to Saint Macarius (Clarke, 1912, p. 205, n. 1).
In 1657, Thévenot indicated, on the basis of hearsay, that to go to the Monastery of Saint Macarius one passes by Dris (Atris), where the monastery has a hospice (Evelyn-White, 1921, p. 418). Sicard, who made the journey himself in 1712, came to “Etris, a village half a league from Ouardan. There we found a hospice for the solitaries of the desert which is nearby” (Sicard, 1982, Vol. 2, p. 10; see also pp. 11, 12, 27).
U. Monneret de Villard (1929, pp. 149-52) suggested that the tomb of Saint Macarius may have been there in the fourteenth century. Unfortunately the documents relating to the translations of the body of Macarius invalidate this hypothesis: at some time before 480 his remains were carried to Shabshir (east bank of the Rosetta branch, near Minuf), where they remained until 784, and were then removed to Ilmay (to the east of Shibin al-Kom). The remains of Macarius were brought back to his monastery under the patriarch JOHN IV (776-799 A.D.), (Evelyn-White, 1926, pp. 131-34, 1932, pp. 292-4).
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 70-71. Paris, 1893.
- Charles, R. H. The Chronicle of John, Coptic Bishop of Nikiu. London, 1916.
- Clarke, S. Christian Antiquities in the Nile Valley. Oxford, 1912. Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi’n Natrun, Pt. 1,
- New Coptic Texts from the Monastery of Saint Macarius. New York, 1926. Pt. 2, The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and Scetis. New York, 1932.
- Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern, pp. 178-79.
- Cairo, 1965. 2nd ed., pp. 265-66. Cairo, 1977.
- Monneret de Villard, U. “La tomba di St. Macario.” Aegyptus 10 (1929).
- Sicard, C. Oeuvres, 3 vols., ed. M. Martin. Cairo, 1982.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.