A city in the province of Gharbiyyah in the middle of the Egyptian Delta, located about 6 miles (9.5 km) south of Samannud and 3 miles (5 km) south of Abusir Bana. In Greek the place was known as lower Kynopolis (in Upper Egypt there was also a Kynopolis, now known as al-Qays). In Coptic documents the city’s name appears as panau (Panau).
Kynopolis/Bana has a long Christian tradition. The city has had a bishop since at least as early as the first quarter of the fourth century. In a list of bishops given to ATHANASIUS in 325, MELITIUS names Bishop Hermaion “in Kyno and Bousiris” (Munier, 1943, p. 3). Apparently the city also had an orthodox bishop at that time, for in a document (now lost, but quoted by Sozomen) Athanasius wrote that a Bishop Harpokration of Kynopolis attended the Council of NICAEA in 325. This Kynopolis was undoubtedly the city in the Delta rather than the town of the same name in Upper Egypt, for the Coptic and Arabic lists of the participants in the council indicate that the Kynopolis represented by Bishop Adamantius was known in Coptic as Koeis and in Arabic as al-Qays (Munier, 1943, p. 4).
Around 459 Bishop Marion of Kynopolis joined with other bishops in condemning Eutychius and his heresies (Munier, 1943, p. 23). The fact that all the other bishops who took part in this action were from cities in the Delta is an indication that the Kynopolis administered by Marion was the Delta city and not the Kynopolis in Upper Egypt. The last bishop of Kynopolis/Bana of whom we have a record is Bishop Mark, who met together with a number of other bishops in the Mu‘allaqah Church in Cairo in 1240 (Munier, 1943, p. 31).
During the patriarchate of ALEXANDER II (705-730) the heretical church in Bana was one of those that John of Sa reunited with the Coptic patriarchate. Under authorization from the Muslim administration, John had threatened these churches with double taxes if they remained separate from the main Coptic church. Although submission dispelled the immediate threat of a greater tax burden, just a few years later increased taxes and forced labors imposed by ‘Ubayd Allah, the governor of Egypt, led to bloody battles between Christians and Muslims in Bana, Sa, and Samannud. The patriarchs COSMAS I (730-731) and JOHN IV (775-799) were from Bana.
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 84-85. 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. 318-24. Wiesbaden, 1984.