This monastery was mentioned for the first time by al-Shabushti (Atiya, 1939, pp. 25, 26), who died at the end of the tenth century or the beginning of the eleventh. He called it Mar Hanna and situated it on the edge of Lake al-Habash, near the Nile. The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS OF THE EGYPTIAN CHURCH (Vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 34 [text], 55 [trans.]) mentions under the patriarch GABRIEL II a church dedicated to Saint George situated at Dayr al-Tin.
At the beginning of the thirteenth century ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN (1895, pp. 128-30) distinguished two monasteries, those of Saint John (Mar Yuhanna) and of Saint John the Baptist, the first Coptic, and the second Melchite, both south of Old Cairo between Lake al-Habash and the Nile. Near this monastery, according to the same author (p. 131), was a Church of Saint George, belonging to the Copts, which has since been destroyed by the Nile. Before 1400, Ibn Duqmaq (1893, pp. 107-108) situated the two churches at Dayr al-Tin. This author called the church of the Copts the Church of Abu Jirj. Al-MAQRIZI (Vol. 2, p. 503) repeated al-Shabushti and added that the monastery was then called Dayr al-Tin.
The two monasteries and the Coptic church became Muslim under the caliphate of al-Hafiz and the patriarch Gabriel II, according to Abu Salih (1895, pp. 127-30).
Several manuscripts were written for this monastery or this church: Simaykah (1942), Catalogue 2, no. 298, is undated and, according to Graf (1934, p. 136), dates from the fourteenth century. Another manuscript of the fourteenth century, National Library, Paris, Arabe 18, carries a copy of a letter dated 1591 and intended for Yuhanna of the Church of Saint George at Dayr al-Tin (Troupeau, 1972, Vol. 1, p. 21). Another manuscript, National Library, Paris, Arabe 181, contains a note of the sale of this manuscript to the superior of the Monastery of Saint Victor at Birkat al-Habash in 1318 (Troupeau, p. 156).
The two manuscripts of the list of the Egyptian churches mention “Apa Victor in al-Habash.” E. AMÉLINEAU (1893, p. 162) did not fully understand this text, which has been elucidated by P. Casanova (1901, p. 172).
Another manuscript dating from 1638 mentions a Monastery of Nuzhah. This is a certificate naming the steward of Dayr al-‘Adawiyyah and of Dayr al-Nuzhah near Dayr al-Tin. It is probable that this is another name of Dayr al-Tin (Slane, 1883-1895, no. 319).
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte. Paris, 1893.
- Atiya, A. S. “Some Egyptian Monasteries According to the Unpublished MS of al-Shabushti’s Kitab al-Diyarat.'” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 5 (1939):1-28.
- Casanova, P. “Les Noms coptes du Caire et localités voisines.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 1 (1901):139-224.
- Ibn Duqmaq. Kitab al-Intisar, ed. C. Vollers. Cairo, 1893.
- Graf, G. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes chrétiens conservés au Caire. Studi e testi 63. Vatican City, 1934.
- Slane, W. MacGuckin, Baron de. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes de la Bibliothèque nationale. Paris, 1883-1895.
- Troupeau, G. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes, Vol. 1. Paris, 1972.
MAURICE MARTIN, S. J.