This monastery is built into the mountain, an hour and a half’s walk to the west of Naqadah, on the left bank of the Nile. It is attested very early by a Coptic contract (Crum, 1921, no. 340), by the SYNAXARION in the recension from Upper Egypt at 21 Kiyahk, and by the Arabic life of Pisentius (O’Leary, PO 22, pp. 454, 462). In the Arabic texts, it is called Dayr al-Sanad, a word that recurs in the place-names of the region but the meaning of which remains a debated question. It would have been inhabited from the sixth century to the fourteenth.
It was mentioned by ‘ABD AL-MASIH al-Masu‘di (1924, p. 183). He noted that its ruined state precludes its use for worship. It is also called the Monastery of Samuel and Dayr al-Jizaz. This is at least an identification proposed by J. Doresse, who excavated and described it (1949, pp. 508-510; 1951-1952, pp. 70-71).
It is not known whether this was a real monastery or rather a center for communal services where the hermits of the vicinity gathered together on Saturdays and Sundays.
- ‘Abd al-Masih Salib al-Masu‘di al-Baramusi. Kitab Tuhfat al-Sa’ilin fi Dhikr Adyirat Ruhban al-Misriyyin. Cairo, 1924.
- Crum, W. E. Short Texts from Coptic Ostraca and Papryi. London, 1921.
- Di Bitonto Kasser, A. “Ostraca scolastici copti a Deir Gizaz.” Aegyptus (Milan) 68 (1988):167-75.
- Doresse, J. “Monastères coptes thébains.” Revue des Conférences françaises en Orient (1949):3-16.
- . “Recherches d’archéologie copte: le couvent de Samuel près de Negada.” Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte 34 (1952):470-71.
- O’Leary, De L. The Arabic Life of Saint Pisentius. PO22, pp. 313-488.
- Winlock, H., and W. E. Crum. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes, 2 vols. New York, 1926.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.