Dayr Anba Abshay


A monastery that still exists on the right bank of the Nile at the edge of the desert less than half a mile east of the town of al-Tud. A church was discovered in the course of excavations in the Ptolemaic temple (Vercoutter, 1952, pp. 83-84; Drioton, 1937).

The present monastery is of late construction, but one may conjecture that it occupies the site of a more ancient monastery, mentioned “to the east” of (al-)Tud in the sixth and seventh centuries by the Sahidic recension of the Coptic SYNAXARION. The neighboring cemetery has been the object of excavations (Maspero, 1884, p. 185; 1886, p. 71). These excavations have revealed bodies, that of Pisentius, and vestments (Vercoutter, 1947, pp. 217ff.). The site was noted by J. Doresse (1949, p. 342), and O. Meinardus also mentioned it (1965, p. 322; 1977, pp. 436-37), but these two authors think that the church has been shifted from the temple of al-Tud to its present site.

The summary of the life of Saint Abshay (in Coptic no doubt Pshoi) is preserved in the Sahidic recension of the Coptic at 25 Kiyahk. This saint was surnamed al-Qabrin or al- Qubrayn, the of which is not clear. He died at “the ford” or “the crossroads” or “the watering place” of Tud (the Arabic word can have these three meanings).


  • Doresse, J. “Monastères coptes aux environs d’Armant en Thébaïde.” Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949):327-49.
  • Drioton, E. “La Découverte d’un trésor en Haute-Egypte.” Revue des conférences françaises en Orient (1937):2.
  • Maspero, G. “Trois Années de fouilles dans les tombeaux de Thèbes et de Memphis.” In Mémoires de la Mission archéologique française du , Vol. 1, pp. 185ff. Paris, 1884.
  • . “Premier rapport à l’Institut d’Egypte sur les fouilles exécutées en Egypte de 1881 à 1886.” Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte 6 (1886):71.
  • . Etudes de mythologie et d’archéologie égyptiennes, 4 vols. Paris, 1893-1900.
  • Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed., 1977.
  • Vercoutter, J. “Tôd, 1946-1949: Rapport succinct des fouilles.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 50 (1952):69-87.
  • . “Le Deir copte de Tôd et les remplois de Thoutmosis III.” Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 47 (1947):217-22. Winlock, H. E., and W. E. Crum. The Monastery of Epiphanius at , 2 vols. New York, 1926.