(Busrah)

History

Dayr al-Bisrah is a small Coptic village on the right bank of the Nile, south of the extremity of the of Abnub, at the place where the mountains are very close to the Nile, opposite Shut b, the homeland of the father of Saint “the General” (stratelates) according to the Coptic texts.

The oldest documents mentioning this site are Coptic texts relating to . Whether they are in or , they mention “the port of Paphor of Shot.” E. QUATREMERE wished to identify the latter with Dayr Bisrah (1812, p. 33). THE (1895, p. 247), at the beginning of the thirteenth century, knew two places dedicated to Saint Theodorus.

One stood on the left bank at Shut b and contained the relics of the saint— Dayr Abu al-Sari. He seems here to have copied the OF THE (Vol. 2, pt. 3, pp. 227 [text], 360 [trans.]), which contains a list of the relics of saints in Egypt and mentions those of Theodorus “in the Monastery of Abu al-Sari at Shutb.” The second monastery noted by Abu Salih was Abu al- Sadir (or Theodorus), which he placed on the right bank. , before 1441, did indeed know the Monastery of Abu al-Sari and placed it on the right bank, a little to the north of al-Ma‘sarah, but he said that it was dedicated to Saint GEORGE. He placed the second monastery on the left bank below that of (1853, Vol. 2, pp. 503, 506).

J. mentioned on the east bank “the church of Saint Theodore, martyr, son of John at Bossra” (1677, p. 361 ; 1678, p. 217). Quatremere knew only ’s Bosra and suggested identifying it with the Paphor of the Coptic texts (1812, p. 33). S. Clarke, in his list of the churches, cited at Bosra that of Theodore the General (1912, p. 210, no. 14).

An ancient has been published that derives from the cemetery adjacent to this church (, 1915, Vol. 15, pp. 12526). Beauge described the village and the church (1923, pp. 196201), not without some fantasies, for there is no painting.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Beauge, C. A travers la Haute-Egypte. Alengon, 1923.
  • Clarke, S. Christian Antiquities in the . Oxford, 1912. Lefebvre, G. “Nouvelle Serie d’inscriptions coptes et grecques.” Annales du Service des antiquites de l’Egypte 15 (1915):112-39.
  • Quatremere, E. Observations sur quelques points de la geographie de l’Egypte pour servir de supplement aux Memoires historiques et geographiques sur l’Egypte et sur quelques contrees voisines. Paris, 1812.
  • Vansleb, J. M. Nouvelle Relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte. Paris, 1677. Translated as The Present State of Egypt. London, 1678.

RENE-GEORGES COQUIN MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.

The church at Dayr al- Bisrah is dedicated to Theodorus the General, who, according to local tradition, here suffered and was buried. From the architectural point of view, it is a modern four-columned building with the usual three sanctuaries. However, it presumably stands on the site of an older church (Vansleb, 1677, p. 361). Early Christian spolia have been built into many houses in Dayr al-Bisrah, and these may derive from this older building. The church itself contains some old icons. Also, a few inscriptions from this place are known (Lefebvre, 1915, pp. 125-26).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Lefebvre, G. “Nouvelle Serie d’inscriptions coptes et grecques.” Annales du Service des antiquites de l’Egypte 15 (1915):112-39.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Agypten in arabischer Zeit, Vol. 2, pp. 696-98. Wiesbaden, 1984.
  • Vansleb, J. M. Nouvelle Relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte. Paris, 1677. Translated as The Present State of Egypt. London, 1678.

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