The ancient authors speak of this dayr only as a church. At the beginning of the thirteenth century ABU SALIH (1895, pp. 136-37, n. 5) situated al-‘Adawiyyah at Minyat al-Sudan, which al-Idrisi places 15 miles (24 km) from Misr on the way to Upper Egypt. The village of this name at this place has disappeared.
Abu Salih (p. 137) described a church called al-Martuti (Syriac for “Our Lady”). The place is said to be that of a temple of the Israelites in Egypt and one of the abodes of the Holy Family in their flight from Herod. Abu Salih, it appears, is the only one to mention al-‘Adawiyyah on the itinerary of the FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. This church was restored under Caliph al-Amir (1101-1131).
A certain Jew was baptized in this church during the caliphate of al-Fa’iz, according to Abu Salih. The same historian mentioned the restoration in 1186 of a church adjacent to al-Martuti. It appears that he confused this al- Martuti with the church of the same name at Damanhur Shubra, to which the body of Saint John of Sanhut was transported.
Abu Salih gives an account of a monastery of the Nestorians, the church of which was transformed into a mosque in the caliphate of al-Hakim. This was probably DAYR AL-NASTUR.
Al-MAQRIZI (d. 1441; 1893, Vol. 2, p. 517) mentioned that “the church of Mary in the district of al-‘Adawiyyah toward the south is ancient, but already in ruins.”
In the seventeenth century people spoke of it as the Monastery of the Holy Virgin at al-‘Adawiyyah (National Library, Paris, Arabic MS 319; Troupeau, 1972, Vol. 1, p. 278). Travelers have given accounts of the site (Vansleb, 1671, p. 203; Norden, 1795-1798, Vol. 1, pl. 28).
Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa‘ (1970, Vol. 3, pt. 3, pp. 162, 165, 168 [text], 282, 288, 292-293 [trans.]) mentioned under the patriarch JOHN XVI a restoration of the church and the death of the patriarch MARK VII at the church. Under the patriarch DEMETRIUS II (1862-1870) a tower was built in the monastery of ‘Adawiyyah (ibid., pp. 179 [text], 318 [trans.]).
Several manuscripts of the Coptic Patriarchate were written for the church of ‘Adawiyyah or even at ‘Adawiyyah, in the eighteenth century (Simaykah and ‘Abd al-Masih, 1942, Vol. 2, pt. 1, nos. 73, 341, 825, 832).
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte. Paris, 1893.
- Nordon, F. S. Voyage d’Egypte et de Nubie, 3 vols. ed. L. Langles. Paris, 1795-1798.
- Troupeau, G. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes, Vol. 1. Paris, 1972. Vansleb, J. M. Relazione dello stato presente dell’Egitto. Paris, 1671.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J