According to ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN (1895, pp. 134-36) in the thirteenth century, this monastery was to the south of Old Cairo, on the edge of Lake al- Habash. It was a monastery of the Nestorian rite, dedicated to Saint George. In 1102-1130, under the caliphate of al-Amir, Shaykh Abu al-Fada’il, a Nestorian, restored this monastery at his own expense. But the caliph, displeased at this restoration undertaken without his permission, had a mosque built within the monastery grounds.
According to the same historian, the monastery passed into the hands of Copts under the twelfth-century patriarch MARK III ibn Zar‘ah, who consecrated the church to Saint Philotheus of Antioch in 1183. The costs of the restoration were assumed by Shaykh Abu al-Mansur ibn Bulus and his son. At the time of Abu Salih, the monastery was prosperous and visited by the pilgrims from Upper Egypt.
Several Coptic patriarchs and bishops of Misr were buried in the adjoining cemetery: Zechariah, ATHANASIUS III, JOHN VII, THEODOSIUS II, and JOHN IX.
Two manuscripts derive from this monastery. The first (National Library, Paris, Arabe, 167; Troupeau, 1972, Vol. 1, p. 141) was completed at the Monastery of Saint Philotheus in 1227 and collated with the aid of Anba Dawud, the future patriarch CYRIL III IBN LAQLAQ. The second (National Library, Paris, Arabe, 181; Troupeau, 1972, p. 156) was sold in 1315 to the priest of the Church of Saint Philotheus, who sold it again to the superior of the Monastery of Saint Victor.
The future patriarch Cyril ibn Laqlaq resided in this monastery before becoming patriarch. Al-MAQRIZI did not speak of it, nor any author after him; however, a manuscript was copied for Dayr al- Nastur, known under the name of Dayr Philuthawus, in 1735 (Simaykah, 1942, Vol. 2, pt. 1, no. 652).
J. B. Fiey (1972-1973, pp. 335-36) thought that there was a second Dayr al-Nastur farther to the south, near Adawiyyah, but he assumed that the first was to the north of Lake al-Habash, which was not the case, as is shown by the map established by Casanova (1901).
- Cahen, C. “La ‘Chronique des Ayyoubides’ d’al-Makin b. al-‘Amid.” Bulletin d’etudes orientales 15 (1955-1957):109-184.
- Casanova, P. “Les Noms coptes du Caire et localités voisines.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 1 (1901):139-224.
- Fiey, J. B. “Coptes et Syriaques, contacts et échanges.” Collectanea 15 (1972-1973):297-365.
- Troupeau, G. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes, Vol. 1. Paris, 1972.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.