Damanhur Al-Wahsh


A town located in the middle of the about 4.5 miles (7 km) southwest of Zifta in the province of Minufiyyah.

It is probable that Damanhur al-Wahsh was the birthplace of the martyrs Cyrus and John (see MARTYRS, COPTIC). The SYNAXARION commemorates Cyrus, John, Ptolemaeus, and Filya on 14 Ba’unah and states that they were from Damanhur in the of Busir to the west of the Nile (Amélineau, 1893, p. 7, n. 9). After the martyrs were killed by being dragged behind a horse from Qartasa to Damanhur and then beheaded, the inhabitants of Sa buried John’s body and built a memorial church for him. The of Damanhur cared for the bodies of the other three martyrs.

The Damanhur mentioned in connection with Qartasa whose inhabitants buried Cyrus’s companions must be the well-known Damanhur in the western Delta, but the Damanhur in the of Busir that is mentioned as the birthplace of Cyrus appears to be the town in the mid- that is now known as Damanhur al-Wahsh. If this identification is correct, we have a witness for Christianity in Damanhur al-Wahsh in the fourth century.

A passage in the writings of al-MAQRIZI indicates that Christianity in Damanhur al-Wahsh lived on into the Middle Ages. Al-Maqrizi that when many churches in Cairo and elsewhere were destroyed in 1320, two churches in Damanhur were also ruined.

  • Amelineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 113-16. Paris, 1893.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, , pp. 516-17. Wiesbaden, 1984.