DAYR AL-‘ASAL (Minyat Bani Khasib)
This monastery, which ancient authors spoke of, seems to have disappeared. Yaqut (1866-1873, Vol. 2, p. 681) described it as very well situated and populated by numerous monks. Ibn Duqmaq (1893, p. 16) mentioned it with Abyuhah 9 miles (15 km) to the south of Minya.
ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN (1895, pp. 248-49), who wrote in the early thirteenth century, indicated that it is near Munyat Bani Khasib and that the principal church is dedicated to Saint George. He also notes that there were two keeps and fourteen churches, and that it possessed a garden, a mill, and an oil press.
The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS (1959, Vol. 2, pt. 3, pp. 226 [text], 357 [trans.]) gave an account of the miracles wrought by Saint George in his church. “L’Etat des provinces” (A.H. 777/A.D. 1375) also mentioned it (al-Latif, 1810, p. 693).
G. DARESSY (1917, p. 199) said that it is still in existence, but he must have been mistaken, for travelers have not spoken of it. Perhaps he confused it with the church of Saint George at MINYA. Ramzi (1953-1968, Vol. 1, p. 258; Vol. 2, pt. 3, pp. 200-201) remarked that an agrarian inventory of the year A.H. 911 (A.D. 1505-1506) mentioned Dayr al-‘Asal as being Dayr al-Saft al- Khammar, at the same time as the nearby villages were called Bani Ahmad and Tahnasha. It is probable that the Dayr al-‘Asal survives as a village with the name of DAYR ‘ATIYYAH.
[See also Abu al-Makarim.]
- ‘Abd al-Latif. Relation de l’Egypte de ‘Abd al-Latif, trans. and ed. A. 1810. de Sacy. Paris, 1810. “L’Etat des provinces” is translated in an appendix.
- Daressy, G. “Indicateur topographique du “Livre des perles enfouies et du mystère précieux.'” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 13 (1917):175-230.
- Ibn Duqmaq. Kitab al-Intisar. Cairo, 1893.
- Ramzi, M. Al-Qamus al-Jughrafi lil-Bilad al-Misriyyah, 3 vols. Cairo, 1953-1968.
- Yaqut ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi. Geographisches Wörterbuch aus den Handschriften, 6 vols., ed. F. Wüstenfeld. Leipzig, 1866-1873. Repr. Beirut (4 vols.), 1955-1957; Tehran, 1965.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.