Clysma

CLYSMA

An ancient town a few miles north of modern-day Suez and known for its ruins. They were excavated by B. Bruyère (1966). The site (which some texts call the isle of Clysma) appears to have been inhabited by anchorites very early. It is not known exactly where these anchorites lived. The Mountain of Antony was often called the Mountain of Clysma, for contemporary texts always indicated the name of the nearest town.

The following provide references to Clysma and may indicate a site more or less distant: JOHN COLOBOS, fleeing from the Maziques who had invaded Scetis in 407, went to Clysma and died there in 409 (Evelyn-White, 1932, p. 158); Sisoes, toward the end of his life, settled at Clysma, but not before 429 (Chitty, 1966, p. 79, n. 83); the Coptic version of an apothegm relating to Sisoes speaks of the “isle” of Clysma (Chaine, 1960, no. 115).

Eutychius (Sa‘id ibn Batriq) mentions that a Church of Saint Athanasius is said to have been built by order of Justinian at the same time as the monasteries of Raithou and Mount Sinai (1906- 1909, Vol. 2, pp. 202-203). About 570, Antoninus Placentinus saw in the basilica of Clysma eighteen or more tombs of hermit holy fathers (1898, p. 188).

To the isle of Clysma is attached the legend of Mar Awjin (Eugene), who introduced monasticism into Mesopotamia, for he is said to have served his monastic apprenticeship at Clysma (Fiey, 1962, pp. 52-81). He seems indeed to have been a historical personage; that people wished to link him with Egyptian monasticism indicates his importance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Bruyère, B. Klysma, Qulzum, Suez. Fouilles de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale. Cairo, 1966.
  • Chane, M. Le manuscrit de la version copte, en dialecte Sahidique des “Apophtegmata Patrum.” Bibliothèque d’études coptes 6. Cairo, 1960.
  • Chitty, D. J. The Desert a City. London, 1966.
  • Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi’n Natrun, Pt. 2, The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and Scetis. New York, 1932.
  • Fiey, J. “Aonès, Awun, Awgin.” Analecta Bollandiana 80 (1962):52-81.
  • Nau, F. “La Version syriaque de l’histoire de Jean le petit.” Revue de l’Orient chrétien 17 (1912):347-89, and 19 (1914):33-57.

RENÉ-GEORGES COQUIN

MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.

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