Dayr Anba Abshay (Abu Tij)


The monastery appears to have left no trace, and its existence is known only from literary sources. At the end of the eleventh century the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS (Vol. 2, pt. 3, p. 228 [text], p. 362 [transl.]) mentions to the south of Abu Tij the bodies of the holy martyrs Abu Bishah and Bisah “in coffins in their church.”

ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN seems to have borrowed this phrase from the History of the Patriarchs, for he mentioned the same saints in the same location and alluded to the coffins containing the relics (1895, fol. 91a [text]; p. 253 [trans.] is wrong: he thought the reference was to PACHOMIUS and SHENUTE).

A manuscript of the Arabic of the deriving from DAYR AL-MUHARRAQ copies a manuscript dating from 1770 (National Library, Paris, Arabe 4780; cf. Troupeau, 1974, Vol. 2, p. 30) and mentions these two martyrs at 26 Ba’unah, without specifying the place. According to the of Moses, bishop of Qaw (Antaeopolis; it is thus that we should read the printed text), the martyrs Abshay and Peter, his companion, were venerated in their dayr in the land of their origin (Buha) opposite Qaw, but on the left bank of the Nile. See the Arabic version of this encomium, published several times (Sirat, 1976, p. 70).

The Ethiopian indicates the martyrdom of these two saints at 5 Sane (Ba’unah) and mentions the church at Buha (Guidi, p. 557). The Arabic Synaxarion of ‘Abd al- Mikha’il and Shata al-Birmawi (1935-1936) puts the martyrdom of the saints at 5 Ba’unah and indicates that their bones are at Sidfa, a town near Buha. Muyser (1944, p. 176, n. 1) indicates the location of Buha, but seems to think that the village is still in existence.


  • Guidi, I., ed. Le Synaxaire éthiopien. PO 1, pt. 5. Paris, 1905.
  • Moses, Bishop of Qaw. Sirat al Anba Abshai wa al-Anba Butrus. Cairo, 1976.
  • Muyser, J. “Ermite pérégrinant et pélerin infatigable.” de la Société d’Archéologie copte 9 (1944):159-236.
  • Troupeau, G. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes. Paris, 1972-1985. Vansleb, J. M. Relation forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte en 1672 et 1673. Paris, 1677. Translated as The . London, 1678.