Dayr Al-‘Adhra (Fayyum)


ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN (fol. 73a; 1895, p. 209) placed in the of Saylah, to the west of the Fayyum, a monastery bearing the name of the Virgin and equipped with a tower of refuge that had been restored. He is the only author who mentions a monastery in the region other than the DAYR AL-IKHWAH. Al-Nabulsi (1899) indicates only a single monastery to the south of the town of Siyalah.

N. Abbott (1937, p. 57, n. 150) hypothesized that this Dayr al-‘Adhra’ (Monastery of the Virgin) was “in all probability a duplicate of the monastery of the Brothers at Siyalah [Dayr al-Ikhwah],” as was the case at SCETIS in the first half of the sixth century.  In  fact,  besides  the  original  monasteries  of  al-Baramus, JOHN COLOBUS, and Bishoi, three other were mentioned: “the Virgin of Baramus,” “the Virgin of John Colobus,” and “the Virgin of Bishoy.”

EVELYN-WHITE (1932, pp. 232-35) thought that these duplicate were founded by Severian monks driven from their monasteries by Julianists, who dedicated their new monasteries to the to affirm the reality of the Incarnation. Evelyn- White’s hypothesis seems to be from historical facts, but that of Abbott seems gratuitous, since the monastery at Siyalah dedicated to the Virgin was not called that of “the Virgin of the Brothers.”


  • Abbott,  N.  The  Monasteries  of  the  .  Studies  in  Ancient Oriental 16. Chicago, 1937.
  • Abu Utman ibn Ibrahim al-Nabulsi. Tar’ikh al- wa biladihi, ed. B. Moritz. Cairo, 1899.
  • Evelyn-White, H. G. The of the Wadin Natrun, Pt. 2, The of the of and Scetis. New York, 1932.
  • Salmon, G. “Répertoire géographique de la province du Fayyoum d’après le Tarikh al-Fayyoum d’an-Naboulsi.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 1 (1901):29-77.