DAYR ABU BIFAM (Asyut)
ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN placed this monastery in the region of Asyut, without further specification (fols. 60v, 90r; 1895, pp. 56, 114 [text], 179, 251 [trans.]). He does indicate that it was called Dayr al-Tinadah, the last word being no doubt the transcription of the Coptic heneete with the feminine article meaning “the monastery.” Abu Salih reports as well that the body of Saint Abu Bifam was deposited there. The geographer Yaqut also identifies it as Abu Bifam (1866-1873, Vol. 2, p. 649).
AL-MAQRIZI distinguishes two monasteries of the same name, the one “below Dayr Karfunah, in the hagir [i.e., the pebbly ground between the cultivated land and the mountain] of Asyut,” or, according to the context, near Dayr Durunkah or Udrunkah on the left bank of the Nile. He places the other monastery near Tima (1853, Vol. 2, pp. 506, 507; 1845, pp. 42-43, 103, 105; both of these editions erroneously give the name as Abu Bagham, as does the editor of Abu Salih).
Al-Maqrizi adds that Saint Abu Bifam was a soldier martyred under Diocletian and celebrated on 2 Kiyahk. The martyr in question must be the saint mentioned by the SYNAXARION and by several Coptic and Arabic manuscripts—a soldier at the castrum (camp) of Aprahat near Antinoë (ANTINOOPOLIS) who was martyred at Asyut and buried near there. His feast is on 1 Ba’unah, a date different from that reported by al- Maqrizi.
No existing monastery in the region bears the name Abu Bifam.
- Crum, W. E. The Monastery of Epiphanius, Vol. 1, pp. 109-110. New York, 1926.
- Yaqut. Geographisches Wörterbuch (Mu‘jam al-Buldan), 6 vols., ed. F. Wüstenfeld. Leipzig, 1866-1873.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J