Dayr Al-Saqiyah


This monastery, today in ruins, was situated on the left bank of the Nile 2.5 miles (4 km) north of the DAYR AL-NASARA, at the bottom of a large wadi that opened on the stony desert at the foot of the mountain. At the foot of a high cliff is a rectangular enclosure 200 by 264 feet (60 by 80 m), a deep hole that marks the position of a well, and another excavation occupied by an enormous antique capital. The remains of brick structures are distinct. At the foot of the cliffs are two caves and, in front of them, a church, marked by the remains of columns and capitals. Coins of the fifth century have been found there (Mond and Myers, 1937, Vol. 1, pp. 77-79; 1940, Vol. 1, pp. 146-50).

Drawings and graffiti from the site will be found reproduced in Winkler (1938- 1939, Vol. 1, p. 17 and p1. I.3). Like DAYR EPIPHANIUS and other dayrs, this one seems to have been a religious center for hermits living in the adjoining caves. This may be the Monastery of Ezekiel of which the Upper Egypt recension of the SYNAXARION speaks at 14 Kiyahk and 2 Tubah, with reference to Anba Ezekiel and Anba Victor and his nephew Anba Yuna (perhaps Jonas).

The archaeologists R. Mond and O. H. Myers, who excavated the site, gave it the name Monastery of Saint John. Several documents deriving from Thebes mention a topos (church or monastery) of Saint John; some add “in the desert” (cf. Crum, 1902, no. 310; Winlock and Crum, 1926, Vol. 1, p. 114, and Vol. 2, nos. 84 and 397; Revillout, 1900, pp. 143-44; Crum, 1921, no. 139). This is perhaps a case of different sites with the same name, but the specification “in the desert” seems to be added to distinguish this dayr from the others and fits well with the situation of the site.


  • Crum, W. E. Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt
  • Exploration Fund, the Cairo Museum and Others. London, 1902.
  • . Short Texts from Coptic Ostraca and Papyri. London, 1921.
  • Doresse, J. “Monastères coptes aux environs d’Armant en Thebaïde.” Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949):327-49.
  • Mond, R., and O. H. Myers. Cemeteries of Armant, 2 vols. London, 1937.
  • . Temples of Armant, 2 vols. London, 1940.
  • Revillout, E. “Textes coptes, extraits de la correspondance de St.
  • Pesunthius, évêque de Coptis et de plusiers documents analogues (juridiques ou économiques).” Revue d’égyptologie 9 (1900):133-77; 10 (1902):34-47; and 14 (1914):22-32.
  • Winkler, H. A. Rock-Drawings of Southern Upper Egypt, 2 vols.
  • Egypt Exploration Society, Archaeological Survey 26-27. London, 1938-1939.
  • Winlock, H. E., and W. E. Crum. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes, 2 vols. New York, 1926.



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