DAYR ABU MINA (Maryut)
When a recluse in a mill on the Muqattam hills, Abuna Mina al-Baramusi, was enthroned as Pope CYRIL VI (1959-1971) and the 116th patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, he was able to realize his old dream of renewing the older monastery of Saint Menas in the western desert of Mareotis (Maryut) in the neighborhood of Alexandria. Since the excavations of that ancient monastery were in progress, Cyril VI could select an area for his new foundation nearer the Alexandria-Cairo desert road within reach of the original terrain.
He had to settle the project with the authorities since this was a military region, and special dispensation for work within these precincts was necessary. An area of 130 acres was earmarked for this enterprise. On 25 November 1960, the pope started building a church dedicated to Saint Samuel. He included a row of cells to accommodate new monks, together with structures for a growing library and some lodgings for pilgrims. In the course of 1961, the pope laid the foundation for a monumental cathedral in the name of Saint Menas (ABU MINA).
After his death in 1971, the pope’s remains were transported from DAYR MAR MINA in Old Cairo to his new foundation in the desert of Mareotis. The remains of his close disciple Bishop SAMUEL, who was assassinated with President Anwar al-Sadat on 6 October 1981, were placed beside those of Cyril VI. Thus the great mentor and his follower are now entombed in a traditional pilgrimage area.