Dayr Abu Bifam (Tima)


Al-MAQRIZI (1853, Vol. 2, p. 507; 1845, pp. 43 [text], 105 [trans.]) refers to a Monastery of Abu Bifam (the two editions wrongly give the name as Abu Bagham) situated outside Tima on the left bank of the Nile, about 12 miles (20 km) from ABU TIJ. Today no existing monastery in the region bears this name.

However, the SYNAXARION, in its Upper Egypt recension, mentions at 27 Tubah the martyrdom of Saint PHOIBAMMON, stating that he was beheaded to the west of Tima and that a martyrium was constructed for him there, where numerous were accomplished (Basset, 1916, pp. 711-26; Forget, 1905, pp. 420-28, and 1922, pp. 419-30); one should read at the end in these two editions “at Dimnu, in the land of Akhmim”).

The notice about the martyr Saint Olympius for 30 Tubah in the single manuscript of Luxor states that he was buried at Salamun, to the west of Tima in the land of Qaw, and that his church is situated between that of Phoibammon and that of Pecosh. The monastery of which al- Maqrizi speaks must therefore have been at Salamun, a village also situated on the left bank, near Tima. S. Clarke’s list (p. 212, no. 26) shows a church dedicated to Abu Bifam at Tima and another to Olympius (in Arabic, Abu Limbah).

This Saint Phoibammon is different from the one buried near Asyut (DAYR ABU BIFAM at Asyut) and celebrated on 1 Ba’unah, although the edition of the Synaxarion by ‘Abd al-Masih Mikh’ail and Armanyus Habashi Shata al-Birmawi (1973, Vol. 2, pp. 285-86) confuses them with one another, to the point of ignoring the one in Asyut.


  • Crum, W. E. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes, Vol. 1, pp. 101-110. New York, 1926.