From this village and as far as the one called DAYR AL-JABRAWI, the Arabian or eastern mountains between the Nile and Red Sea form a massif called Jabal Abu Fudah, which borders the Nile very closely for some 9 miles (15 km). There are two monasteries there, dedicated to Saint Theodorus and Saint Menas, the first almost at the middle of the massif and the second to the south, but other places also preserve Christian memorials.
Near the tomb of Shaykh Mabari is a Christian cemetery; some quarries famous for the first drawing before the carving of a capital of the goddess Hathor, where some Coptic graffiti can be seen; and finally a Christian necropolis around the tomb of Shaykh Abu Mishal. A description of the site and a collection of the inscriptions will be found in G. Legrain (1900, pp. 3-14), J. Clédat (1900, pp. 81-87), and A. Kamal (1913, p. 165).
Dayr al-Qusayr is a large village on the right bank of the Nile, on the latitude of al-Qusiyyah. No church now exists there; only the name and the presence of a cemetery indicate an ancient monastery. Neither ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN nor al-MAQRIZI speaks of it. M. Jomard (1822-1826, Vol. 4, pp. 302-303) said that this village had two names, Dayr al-Qeisar and Dayr Bosrah. J. VANSLEB (1677, p. 360; 1678, p. 217), in naming the churches and monasteries of Jabal Abu Fudah, starting from the north, pointed out first the church “of St. Theodore, son of John at Bossra.” One may raise two questions: (1) Is Vansleb not thus designating the monastery of Saint Theodorus? (2) Has Jomard not confused Dayr al-Qusayr and Dayr Bosra?
Jomard also notes a wadi with brick ruins and some potsherds and, above it, some quarries and hypogea with Greek inscriptions. The site was seen by F. L. Norden (1795-1798, Vol. 2, p. 49), G. Wilkinson (1843, Vol. 2, p. 78), G. Maspero (1892, p. 189), and G. Legrain (1900, p. 71). Excavations have recently brought to light a Coptic cemetery (Leclant, 1968, p. 109; 1969, p. 260).
About 4 miles (6 km) from Dayr al-Qusayr and a little beyond the village of al-Qusiyyah is the rock church called Mazar al-Sayyidah al-‘Adhra’. It is still the place of the pilgrimage and thus linked to the little town of Umm al-Qusur.
[See also: Abu al-Makarim.]
- Clédat, J. “Notes archéologiques et philologiques.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 1 (1900):91-97.
- Jomard, E. F. in Description de l’Egypte, Vol. 4. Paris, 1821-1829. Kamal, A. “Rapport sur les fouilles de Sa‘id bey Khachaba au Deir
- al-Gebrawi.” Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 13 (1913):161-78.
- Leclant, J. “Fouilles et travaux en Egypte et au Soudan.” Orientalia 37 (1968):94-136; 38 (1969):240-307.
- Legrain, G. “Notes archéologiques prises au gebal Abu Fuda.” Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 1 (1900):3-14. Maspéro, G. “Notes au jour le jour.” Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 14 (1892):170-204, 305-327.
- Norden, F. L. Voyage d’Egypte et de Nubie, 2 vols. Paris, 1795-1798.
- 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. Modern Egypt and Thebes, Vols. 1-2. London, 1843.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.