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Dayr Al-Jabrawi (Asyut) - Coptic Wiki



This monastery, according to al-MAQRIZI (1853, p. 503), was situated 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Abnub, hence on the right bank of the Nile, opposite Manfalut, on the edge of the desert in the hagir (stony area) at the foot of the mountain. The site included the Monastery of Saint VICTOR, son of Romanos, and a LAURA in the neighboring hypogea. The Monastery of Saint Victor has been replaced by a Christian village. The present is recent (Meinardus, 1965, p. 277; 1977, pp. 386-87), but the ancient church was described in 1716 by C. Sicard (1982, pp. 13-15) and a century later by G. Wilkinson (1843, Vol. 2, p. 82).

The monastery or the is mentioned in the Coptic texts relating to Saint Victor under the name Camp (castrum) of Hierakion (Budge, 1914, pp. 1-45; Constantine of Asyut, 1970, p. 529, n. 3; Drescher, 1942, p. 77, n. 2, and 1944, p. 65). This name is taken up under the form Hierakon in the Itinerarium of Antoninus Placentinus (1899), and Sicard noticed, inserted into the ICONOSTASIS, a Latin inscription that allowed him to locate this Hierakon of the Itinerarium or the hierakion of the Coptic at Dayr al-Jabrawi, which in Arabic had become Qasr al-Bariqun, to be read al-Yariqun (Amélineau, 1888, Vol. 2, p. 15; cf. Von Lemm, 1900, pp. 63-64). In the Arabic texts the place is called al-Khusus.

In 1597 the signed the Act of Union with Pope VIII at the Monastery of Saint Victor (Buri, 1931, p. 182; Graf, 1951, Vol. 4, pp. 120-22), but it is not clear whether this refers to DAYR AL-JABRAWI or to DAYR TUR OF SHU. J. M. VANSLEB also made mentions of it in Nouvelle Relation (1677, p. 361; 1678, p. 217).

Round about the castrum, one notices an ancient Christian necropolis (Lefebvre, 1910, pt. 2, p. 272).

The laura lies between the hypogea on the mountain and the hajir extending from the foot of the mountain to the village. Also at the foot of the mountain in the old Roman castrum of Hierakon, a of Saint Barbara and some cells are to be found.

Hermits lived in the hypogea, as is attested by the Coptic inscriptions (Newberry, 1892-1893, p. 13, quotations from the fathers and from Scripture; Davies, 1902; the Davies inscriptions are collected by Crum, Vol. 2, pp. 45-46, pl. 29; the founders of Bawit are mentioned: APOLLO, ANUB, and Phb, Ammonius of Thone, Psoi of Jeremias, etc.).


  • Amélineau, E. Contes et romans de l’Egypte chrétienne, 2 vols. Paris, 1888.
  • . La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte. Paris, 1893. Antoninus Placentinus. Itinerarium, ed. P. Geyer. Corpus
  • Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 39. Vienna, 1898. Budge, E. A. T. W. Coptic Martyrdoms. London, 1914.
  • Buri, U. L’unione della chiesa copta con Roma sotto Clemente VIII. 62. Rome, 1931.
  • Constantine of Asyut. Panégyrique de St. Claude, ed. G. Godron. PO 35. Turnhout, 1970.
  • Crum, E. W. “The Coptic Texts.” Appendix 1 in The Rock Tombs of Deir el Gebrawi, ed. N. de Garis Davies. Egyptian Exploration Society. Archeological Survey, 11th and 12th Memoirs. London and Boston, 1902.
  • Davies, N. de G. The Rock Tombs of Deir el-Gebrawi, 2 vols. London, 1902.
  • Drescher, J. “Apa and the Thieves.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 10 (1942):63-87.
  • . “Encomium Attributed to Severus of Antioch.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 10 (1944):43-68.
  • Lefebvre, G. L’Egypte chrétienne, pt. 2. Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 10 (1910):50-65; 260-84.
  • Lemm, O. von. “Kleine koptische Studien 6.” Bulletin de l’Académie de Léningrad 10 (1899):412-14; 12 (1900):1-163.
  • Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed., 1977.
  • Newberry, P. E. “Progress of Egyptology.” In Archaeological
  • Report, ed. E. L. Griffith. Egypt Exploration Fund, 1892-1893. Sicard, C. Oeuvres, 3 vols., ed. S. Sauneron and M. Martin. Cairo and Paris, 1982.
  • Vansleb, J. Nouvelle relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte en 1672 et 1673. Paris, 1677. Translated as The Present State of Egypt. London, 1678.
  • Wilkinson, G. Egypt and Thebes, Vols. 1-2. London, 1843.




Remains of a long, brick, columned basilica are in a field on the northeast edge of the modern village identified with the site of Dayr al-Jabrawi, of which, however, only parts of the two rows of columns have survived, often wrongly understood as the remains of a former church. The columns were entirely built of baked bricks, but only their bases have remained standing. In some places there are still the connections for the cancelli. A layer of at the east end of both rows of columns is probably the steps at the entrance to the sanctuary. Nothing of the outer walls has survived above ground.

Apparently the two colonnades originally formed the lateral porticoes of the forum within the castrum of the “cohors I Augusta praetoriana Lusitanorum,” known until now only by some ancient inscriptions from the area. After the departure of the soldiers the castrum probably was occupied by monks who turned the old forum into a church.

Individual buildings of a LAURA that presumably dates from early Christian times are on the plain northwest of the modern village. They consist of single houses of varying sizes lying scattered about, always in rectangular enclosures. They are not unlike the monks’ dwellings in the great laura of KELLIA. In several of these buildings, walls with painted plaster surfaces stick up out of the earth. The detailed inner arrangement of the rooms has not yet been investigated. So far there is a survey only of a later addition, a towerlike building with thick, half-round projections on both sides of the entrance and a stair in the northwest corner. How the other rooms were arranged cannot be determined.

Ruins of a Saint Barbara’s Chapel lie on the upper side of that plain at the southwestern slope of the desert, partly built into the rock. The interior consists of a square naos, once covered with a sailing vault, joined at the east end to a semicircular apse with several irregularly distributed niches, and a rectangular side room to the south. A northern side room does not exist, for here the rock blocks the space. Only above this is the outer wall continued directly, but here it serves to underpin a cornice led along the edge of the roof. The chapel may belong to the seventh or eighth century.


  • Kurth, D., and U. Rössler-Köhler. Zur Archäologie des 12. oberägyptischen Gaues. Wiesbaden, 1987.