DAYR ANBA ANTUNIYUS دير أنبا أنطونيوس
The Monastery of Saint Antony is situated 30 miles (45 km) southwest of the Red Sea lighthouse of Ras Za’faranah (100 miles, or 290 km, from Cairo via Suez) at the foot of the south end of the Jalalah mountain range.
After the death of Saint ANTONY, a monastic settlement was established in the reign of JULIAN THE APOSTATE (361-363), which included merely the most necessary buildings—a church, cells, a kitchen, and a bakehouse. During the fifth century, the monastery served as a place of refuge for some monks of the Wadi al-Natrun monasteries, which were sacked several times. In the seventh and eighth centuries, the monastery was occupied by Melchite monks. Saint John the Almoner, Melchite patriarch of Alexandria from 609 to 620, supplied a certain Anastasius, HEGUMENOS of the monastery, with large sums of money and ordered him to redeem the captives taken by the Persians. Around 790, Coptic monks removed the relics of Saint JOHN COLOBOS (the Short) from the monastery and transferred them to Wadi al- Natrun.
In the eleventh century, the survivors of the army of Nasr al- Dawlah pillaged the Monastery of Saint Antony and killed many of the monks. During the patriarchate of JOHN VI (1189-1216) the monastery was inhabited by Coptic monks and supplied candidates for the Ethiopian office of abuna. In the thirteenth century, the monastery was surrounded by a fortified wall. A large garden contained palm trees, apple and pear trees, beds of vegetables, and three springs of perpetually flowing water. Major repairs and renovations were executed during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the monastery was visited by Ogier VIII (1395), Ghillebert de Lannoy (1429), and Dettlof Heinkel (1436). At the Council of Florence (1438-1445), John, the hegumenos of the Monastery of Saint Antony, represented the Coptic church. In the latter part of the fifteenth century, the monastery and its library were destroyed by bedouins who lived in the monastery as servants. During the first half of the sixteenth century, Patriarch GABRIEL VII sent twenty monks of the Syrian monastery in Wadi al-Natrun to the Monastery of Saint Antony to assist in the rebuilding.
After the restoration, an Ethiopian community lived for some time together with Egyptian monks at the monastery. Pilgrims and travelers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries included Dom Franciscus (1520), Cassian (1617), Bernadus (1626), Coppin (1638), Monceaux and Laisné (1667-1675), J. M. VANSLEB (1672), and de Maillet (1692). In the seventeenth century, the monastery was used by the Capuchins to the Orient as a language school for the preparation of their missionaries.
Eighteenth-century travelers provided much information. For example, P. Lucas (1714) was sent by Louis XIV for study purposes; an anonymous traveler (1716) sketched the monastery, and C. Sicard and J. S. Assemani (1716) secured volumes for the Vatican Library. Granger (1730) noticed and recorded twenty-five monks in the monastery, and Sarqis (1765) scratched his name in Armenian on the north wall of the Church of the Holy Virgin.
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, the monastery underwent major restorations. In 1766 the Church of Saint Mark was rebuilt and in 1783 IBRAHIM AL-JAWHARI renovated the walls.
Nineteenth-century travelers were H. Tattam (1893), who examined the library, and Archimandrite Porfirij Uspenskij (1850), who worked for a union of the Russian and the Coptic churches. In 1859 the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria visited the monastery. Miss Platt Pindy (1871), G. Chester (1873), G. Schweinfurth (1877), and M. Jullien (1883) added considerably to our knowledge by their descriptions and observations.
The leadership of the Monastery of Saint Antony was especially notable during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
Twelve Antonian monks ascended the patriarchal throne, and for almost 300 years they determined the history of the Coptic church.
The Church of Saint Antony and the old south wall belong to the few remains dating to the period prior to the rebuilding of the monastery in the sixteenth century. The wall paintings in the sanctuary, the nave, the narthex, and the chapel fall into the period of the restoration of the church by the sons of Ghalib in 1232. This church is used during the winter. From April to October, the liturgy is celebrated in the Church of the Apostles, east of the Church of Saint Antony. This church has three altars, dedicated to Saint George, the Apostles, and Saint Dimyanah. For fifteen days during Lent, the liturgy is celebrated in the Church of Saint Mark, which was used by the Catholic missionaries during the seventeenth century.
The Church of the Holy Virgin is used only during the fifteen days prior to the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. The Chapel of Saint Michael is located on the top floor of the keep. In addition to these five churches, there are two churches named after Saint Paul the Theban, both of which are under construction. The library contains three collections of manuscripts and printed books. The spring of Saint Antony supplies the community with water. The walls enclose an area of 18 feddans (about 17 acres), of which 10 feddans belong to the garden.
- Chester, G. “Notes on the Coptic Dayrs of the Wady Natroun and on the Dayr Antonios in the Eastern desert.” Archaeological Journal 30 (1873):105-116.
- Cogordan, G. Relations du voyage fait au couvent de Saint-Antoine au mois de Novembre de l’an mille neuf cent un. Paris, 1903.
- Coppin, J. Relations des voyage faits dans la Turquie, la Thébaïde, et la Barbarie, p. 307. Lyons, 1720.
- Daumas, F., and F. Jomier. “Deir Antonios.” Bulletin de la Société historique et géographique de l’Isthme de Suez 6 (1960).
- Doresse, H. “Les Monastères de saint Antoine et de saint Paul.” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (1951):268ff.
- Elias, R. “Le Couvent St. Antoine.” Collège de la Sainte Famille 48 (1963):21ff.
- Fedden, H. R. “A Study of the Monastery of St. Anthony in the Eastern Desert.” University of Egypt, Faculty of Arts Bulletin 5 (1937):1-60.
- Johann Georg, Duke of Saxony. Neue Streifzüge durch die Kirchen und Klöster Ägyptens, pp. 32-43. Berlin, 1930.
- Leroy, J. Moines et monastères du Proche Orient. Paris, 1957. Lewis, A. S. “Hidden Egypt.” Century Magazine 68 (1904):745-58. Lucas, P. Voyage du Sieur Paul Lucas fait en 1714, Vol. 3, p. 149. Rouen, 1744.
- Meinardus, O. Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Deserts, pp. 31-88. Cairo, 1960.
- . “The Collection of Coptica in the Qasr of the Monastery of St. Antony.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 18 (1964).
- Piankoff, A. “Les Peintures de la petite chapelle au monastère de Saint Antoine.” Les Cahiers Coptes 12 (1956):7-16.
- . “Peintures au monastère de Saint Antoine.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 14 (1956):151-63.
- Platt, (Miss). Journal of a Tour Through Egypt, Vol. 2, p. 93. London, 1842.
- Pococke, R. A Description of the East, p. 128. London, 1743. Schweinfurth, G. Auf unbetretenen Wegen, p. 185. Hamburg, 1922. Sicard, C. Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, Vol. 3, p. 280. Paris, 1845. Strothmann, R. Die koptische Kirche in der Neuzeit, p. 31. Tübingen, 1932.
- Vansleb, J. M. Nouvelle relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte en 1672 et 1673, p. 302. Paris, 1677.
- Wilkinson, G. Modern Egypt and Thebes, Vol. 2, pp. 381ff. London, 1843.
With the present state of documentation, one can only set out a few landmarks in the history of Dayr Anba Antuniyus, while awaiting the publication of a serious archaeological study of the monastery.
- 401: Postumian appears to be the first author to attest the existence of the Monastery of Saint Antony. He said, “Duo beati Antonii monasteria adii, quae hodieque ab eius discipulis incoluntur” (I came to two monasteries of the blessed Antony, where his disciples dwell today; Sulpicius Severus, 1866, p. 17).
- Beginning of seventh century: Anastasius, hegumenos of Saint Antony, is delegated by the Melchite patriarch John the Almoner to ransom the prisoners of the Persians at Jerusalem (Delehaye, 1927, pp. 23-24).
- Before 622: Jews resident in Tomei, near Bilbeis, are baptized at the Monastery of Saint Antony (Griveau, 1908, p. 298).
- Before 690: Menas, future bishop of Tmuis, and KHA’IL I, future Coptic patriarch (744), are monks at Saint Antony (Evelyn- White, 1932, p. 284).
- End of ninth century: Two monks of the monastery of Saint Antony go begging in Ethiopia (History of the Patriarchs).
- 1064-1065: A note is written in the Vatican Manuscript Coptic 66, fol. 194v (Hebbelynck and van Lantschoot, 1937, p. 484).
- 1070: The letters of Saint Antony are translated from Coptic into Arabic at his monastery (Garitte, 1939, p. 29).
- Toward 1160: MURQUS IBN QANBAR is exiled to Saint Antony.
- 1204-1205: Vatican Manuscript Coptic 9 is written at Saint Antony (Hebbelynck-van Lantschoot, 1937, pp. 29f.).
- 1209-1210: Isaac, monk of Saint Antony, becomes abuna of Ethiopia.
- 1232-1233: The mural frescoes of the Church of Saint Antony are painted, according to an inscription in the church (Coquin and Laferrière, 1978, p. 282).
- 1235 or 1245: Syrian monks live at Saint Antony to a date unknown (Evelyn-White, 1932, pp. 317, n. 4; 389-90).
- 1270: Gabriel is monk at Saint Antony, according to the Ethiopian SYNAXARION at 11 Hamle (Evelyn-White, 1932, p. 391). He writes a note in Vatican Manuscript Coptic 9, fol. lr (Hebbelynck and van Lantschoot, 1937, pp. 31-32) when he becomes patriarch under the name of GABRIEL III.
- 1283-1284: Gabriel al-Durunki, priest-monk of the Monastery of Saint Antony, copies the Kacmarcik manuscript (Samir, 1978, pp. 85-90).
- 1378: The patriarch MATTHEW I, monk at Abu Fanah and then at Saint Antony, is elected patriarch.
- 1386: MURQUS AL-ANTUNI dies as a saint.
- 1393: A Syrian monk copies in Garshuni the manuscript in the National Library, Paris, Syrian 191 (cf. Zotenberg, 1874, p. 133).
- 1395-1396: The Seigneur d’Anglure visits the monasteries of Saint Antony and Saint Paul (D’Anglure, 1878, pp. 70-72).
- 1396: This is the date of the manuscript Vatican Arabic 123, written at Saint Antony (Hanssens, 1972, p. 470).
- Toward 1397: Symeon translates into Ge‘ez the Arabic Synaxarion of the Copts (Guidi, 1911, p. 742) and A Life of Saint Basilides (Peeters, 1922, p. 248).
- 1422: Ghillebert de Lannoy visits the monastery and notes the presence of fifty monks (de Lannoy, 1878, pp. 69-70).
- 1440: Andrew, abbot of Saint Antony, is present at the Council of Florence (Alberigo, 1962, pp. 545, 558).
- Before 1441: AL-MAQRIZI speaks of the monasteries of Saint Antony and Saint Paul.
- 1466: GABRIEL I, monk of Saint Antony, is named patriarch. Toward 1484: The monastery is pillaged and the monks are massacred by the bedouin (Coquin and Laferrière, 1978, pp. 278-79).
- 1506: The patriarch JOHN XIII in the manuscript Vatican Coptic 9 says that the monastery has been pillaged and that the manuscript in question has been recovered from the bedouin who had carried it off (Coquin and Laferrière, 1978, p. 278).
- 1512: Jean Thenaud (1884, p. 81) says that the Monastery of Saint Antony has been in ruins for seven years.
- 1540: The patriarch GABRIEL VII restores the Monastery of Saint Antony with some monks from Wadi al-Nat run (Coquin and Laferrière, 1978, p. 317).
- 1547: Bellon du Mans (1970, fol. 128a-b) speaks of the monastery as inhabited by monks.
- 1561: An Ethiopian monk writes a treatise on penitence at the monastery (Cerulli, 1943, Vol. 2, p. 419).
- 1638-1639: Coppin (1971, pp. 227ff.) pays a visit to the Monastery of Saint Antony and states that the Monastery of Saint Paul is still in ruins.
- 1650-1651: MARK VI, monk of Saint Antony, is chosen to be patriarch.
- 1665: A. Gonzales (1977, Vol. 1, p. 33, and Vol. 2, p. 654) notes that some Franciscans are studying Arabic at the Monastery of Saint Antony and that the Monastery of Saint Paul is still uninhabited.
- 1672: J. Vansleb visits Saint Antony (1677, p. 289; 1678, pp. 177-202).
- 1676: A monk of Saint Antony is elected patriarch under the name of JOHN XVI. He repeoples the Monastery of Saint Paul in 1701, after an interruption of 119 years (Nakhlah, 1954, , p. 146).
- 1716: C. Sicard (1982, Vol. 1, pp. 24-27) visits the monasteries of Saint Antony and Saint Paul.
- 1730: Granger (1745, pp. 106ff.) visits the Monastery of Saint Antony.
- 1766: The church of Saint Mark is built through the attentions of Mu‘allim (meaning “teacher” but here a title of respect) Hasab- Allah al-Bayadi (Simaykah, 1930, Vol. 2, p. 112); Vansleb (1678, p. 184) points out the tomb of this saint, situated in his church in the middle of the garden.
- 1769: The successor of Mark in the see of Alexandria is a monk of Saint Antony.
- 1771: The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is (re)constructed through the attentions of Mu‘allim Lutfallah Chakir (Simaykah, 1930, p. 110); in 1673 Vansleb (1677, pp. 183-84) had given an account of a church dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul.
- 1796: MARK VIII, 108th patriarch of Alexandria, is also a monk of Saint Antony.
- 1805: The monks suffer from extreme want because of the interruption of the caravans coming from Cairo (Arabic Manuscript Bibl. 164 colophon, according to Simaykah, 1930, p. 114).
- 1809: A monk of Saint Antony is elected patriarch under the name of PETER VII.
- 1854: CYRIL IV, hegumenos of the Monastery of Saint Antony, is named patriarch of Alexandria. He enlarges the precincts to the south and west (Simaykah, 1930, p. 114).
The precious library that was long preserved in the keep is now in a special building. According to Simaykah (1930, Vol. 2, p. 112), the 1,438 manuscripts may be divided into five groups as follows: biblical (294), theological (254), historical (193), ecclesiastical sciences (655), and miscellaneous (42). There must be added 124 printed books. The library contains also the treasures of the monastery (Meinardus, 1961).
- Alberigo, J.; P. P. Ioannou; C. Leonard; and P. Prodi. Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. Freiburg, 1962.
- Anglure, Ogier d’. Le Saint voyage de Jherusalem du seigneur d’Anglure, ed. François Bonnardot and A. Longnon. Paris, 1878. Bellon du Mans, P. Voyage en Egypte, ed. S. Sauneron. Cairo, 1970.
- Cerulli, E. Etiopi in Palestina, Vol. 2. Rome, 1943.
- Coppin, J. Les Voyages faits en Egypte, ed. S. Sauneron. Cairo, 1971.
- Coquin, R.-G., and P. Laferrière. “Les Inscriptions pariètales de l’ancienne église du monastère de St. Antoine, dans le dèsert oriental.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archèologie orientale 78 (1978):266-321.
- Delehaye, H. “Une Vie inèdite de St. Jean l’Aumônier.” Analecta Bollandiana 45 (1927):5-74.
- Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi’n Natrun, , The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and Scetis. New York, 1932.
- Fedden, H. R. “A Study of the Monastery of Saint Antony in the Eastern Desert.” Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Egypt 5, no. 1 (1937):1-60.
- Garitte, G. “A Propos des lettres de St. Antoine, l’ermite.” Le Musèon 52 (1939):11-31.
- Gonzales, A. Le Voyage en Egypte, Vols. 1-2, ed. Institut français d’Archèologie orientale. Cairo, 1977.
- Granger, Sieur. Relation du voyage fait en Egypte en l’annèe 1730. Paris, 1745.
- Griveau, R. “Histoire de la conversion des juifs, habitants de la ville de Tomei en Egypte.” Revue de l’orient chrètien 13 (1908):298- 313.
- Guidi, I., ed. “The Ethiopic Senkassar.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 43 (1911):739-58.
- Hanssens, J. M. “Un Traitè copte du XIVe siècle sur l’Eucharistie.” Orientalia Christiana 38 (1972):467-72.
- Hebbelynck, A., and A. van Lantschoot. Codices Coptici Vaticani, Vol. 1. Vatican City, 1937.
- Jullien, M. “Voyage dans le dèsert de la Basse Thèbaïde, aux couvents de St. Antoine et St. Paul.” Missions Catholique 16 (1884).
- . L’Egypte, souvenirs bibliques et chrètiens. Lille, 1891. Kamil Salih Nakhlah. Silsilat Tarikh al-Babawat Batarikat al-Kursi al-Iskandari. . Cairo, 1954.
- Khalil, Samir. “Le Codex Kacmarcik et sa version arabe de la liturgie alexandrine.” Orientalia Christiana 44, no. 1 (1978):74-106.
- Lannoy, G. de. Oeuvres, ed. C. Potvin and J. C. Houzeau. Louvain, 1878.
- Meinardus, O. Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert. Cairo, 1961.
- . Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed., 1977.
- . “The Collection of Coptica in the Qasr of St. Anthony.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 18 (1965-1966):251- 54.
- Peeters, P. “Traductions et traducteurs dans l’hagiographie orientale à l’époque byzantine.” Analecta Bollandiana 40 (1922):241-98.
- Sicard, C. Oeuvres, Vol. 1, ed. M. Martin. Bibliothèque d’étude 83. Cairo, 1982.
- Simaykah, M. Guide du Musée copte, Vol. 2 (in Arabic). Cairo, 1930.
- Thenaud, J. Le Voyage d’outremer, ed. C. Schefer. Paris, 1884. Vansleb, J. M. Nouvelle relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte en 1672 et 1673. Paris, 1677. Translated as The Present State of Egypt. London, 1678.
- Zotenberg, H. Catalogues des manuscrits syriaques et sabéens (Mandaites) de la Bibliothèque nationale. Paris, 1874.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J
General Layout of the Monastery
The present monastery at the foot of the southern Jalalah plateau takes in an extensive area surrounded by a high wall, of which large parts in the south and west were added only in 1854. However, the older, northeastern section of the monastery seems to have been in existence in its present form for a much longer period. It also contains within it all the buildings that gradually took shape.
The monastery has a number of churches, but of these, only the Church of Saint Antony (also called the Old Church or the Great Church) has any historical significance. The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, occasionally mentioned by older travelers, was torn down in 1772 and replaced at that time by a new building with the same name. The latest church, which is situated some way to the north because the axis of the building deviated from the required east-west orientation, has not yet been dedicated and serves as a library. Only the smaller of the two keeps of the monastery lays claim to a somewhat advanced age. Whether it is to be identified with the tower mentioned by ABU AL-MAKARIM at the beginning of the thirteenth century is uncertain. As usual, the entrance was effected by means of a retractable bridge that originally led from the roof of a small building situated opposite.
Today the later tower stands on this spot, so that now one must climb up inside it to the corresponding height. The residential quarters of the monks consist of elongated multistory building units arranged like streets in a settlement. When Vansleb (1677, pp. 300-302) visited the monastery in 1672, the monks lived separately, scattered about in small, low houses. This way of living corresponds to the original form of the anchorite settlements, as excavations in KELLIA and ABU MINA prove.
At the same time, it is much closer to the ideal of the anchorite way of life, because the anchorite monks, in contrast to the cenobite monks accommodated in communal buildings, could prosecute and carry through their own personal development much more effectively. The fact that the settled area is surrounded by a wall is only a formality based on the security necessary to protect their own treasures and is not adopted from cenobite monasticism. The monastery’s water supply was maintained by a perennial running spring at the foot of the western plateau. It was incorporated into the monastery area by a surrounding wall only in 1854.
Finally, on a terrace slightly elevated above the monastery is a small cave where Saint Antony is thought to have once lived. It is entered by a long corridor and has an altar inside (Meinardus, 1961, pp. 65, 88).
Of the numerous churches in the monastery, only the Church of Saint Antony deserves some attention. It was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century and is still largely intact. Typically, it belongs to the long, single-nave domed churches that appeared in the Fatimid period and that have a naos made up of two successive bays. The present entrance is situated on the northern side of the western domed bay. In the east, there is a khurus (room between naos and sanctuary) in the south wall, in which remains of a burial are preserved. According to local tradition, Saint Antony was once buried here, but this could not have been his original burial place.
The actual sanctuary consists of three sanctuaries arranged side by side, connected to each other by open arches. They all have their own cupolas. The altars appear to be original. Finally, at a slightly later period, a small PAREKKLESION dedicated to the four beasts of the Apocalypse was added to the west end of the south wall. The quality of its construction is very modest. To connect it with the Church of Saint Antony, a large opening was effected in the south wall of the western domed naos chamber.
- Fedden, H. R. “A Study of the Monastery of Saint Antony in the Eastern Desert.” Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Egypt 5, no. 1 (1937):1-60.
- Grossmann, P. Mittelalterliche Langhauskuppelkirchen und verwandte Typen in Oberägypten. Glückstadt, 1982.
- Meinardus, O. Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Deserts, pp. 29-88. Cairo, 1961.
- Vansleb, J. M. Nouvelle relation en forme de journal d’un voyage fait en Egypte en 1672 et 1673. Paris, 1677. Translated as The Present State of Egypt. London, 1678.
Since the Old Church of the Monastery of Saint Antony had been lavishly decorated by wall paintings in different styles that are still partly visible, several expeditions visited this monastery with the purpose of publishing the murals. From the first expeditions, directed in 1930-1931 by Thomas Whittemore, some results are known by small publications from A. Piankoff. After World War II, J. Doresse visited Saint Antony’s, and later, in the 1970s, J. Leroy did so. After 1981 the work of Leroy was carried on by Paul van Moorsel. Thanks to the studies of so many predecessors and an epigraphical study by R.-G. Coquin and P.-H. Laferrière, one can draft the following hypothesis: After the building of this church a group of about twenty men (priests and monks) ordered a certain Theodorus, who called himself a son of Bishop Gabriel of Atfih (Aphroditopolis), to paint this church and perhaps also the adjoining chapel, dedicated to the Four Living Creatures. According to inscriptions, Theodorus must have been at work here about 1232-1233.
Of his work, huge parts are still preserved. In the sanctuary the cupola is decorated by the bust of a pantokrator, surrounded by angels and Cherubim and Seraphim, adored by eight other angelic figures, while the twenty-four priests from the book of Revelation join the celestial liturgy. Still above the main altar, four scenes from the Old Testament are represented: the seraph cleaning Isaiah’s lips, the sacrifice of Melchizedek, the sacrifice of Abraham, and the sacrifice of Jephthah. The main apse is, as usual, decorated with the double theme in two zones: above, an enthroned Christ and, below, an enthroned Virgin with child, both assisted by angelic beings. Portraits of several patriarchs of Alexandria, of SEVERUS OF ANTIOCH, and of an anonymous patriarch in the same sanctuary are interesting for the history of the liturgical vestments in Egypt. Still from the hand of Theodorus are portraits of six prophets and the horse-riding saints, MERCURIUS and GEORGE. These riders decorate, together with the popular scene of the Three HEBREWS in the furnace and with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the lower part of the khurus, the upper part being (re)painted later.
The eastern part of the nave has been decorated by Theodorus with portraits of the Holy Virgin (again an enthroned Virgin with child) and monks, the western part with portraits of riders and four other standing saints. It is interesting to see how Pachomius and Shenute share the company of Saint Antony, Paul the Hermit, Kaau, Barsum the Syrian, Arsenius, Samuel of Qalamun, Paul the Simple, Isaac, Moses the Black, Pisentius, and the founders of the great monasteries in SCETIS and, of course, of monks whose names are lost now. Their portraits provide information about monastic vestments.
Apart from Kaau Thouan, Athom, and Piro, the saints portrayed in the western part of the church (obviously the part reserved for the laymen) are all military men: Saints George (again), Sisinnius, Theodorus Stratelates, Menas, Victor, Claudius Theodorus the Oriental and two unidentified figures, Menas and Victor being painted like courtiers, the others in battle dress, fighting (like Saints Mercurius and George in the above-mentioned khurus) personifications of evil. The chapel of the Four Living Creatures shows above a lavishly decorated cross an enthroned Christ, being a part of a classical deisis (with the Holy Virgin and the Baptist), enriched by a scene of the Four Creatures standing in the attitude of acclamation of the Lord.
Later, probably in the fourteenth century, work from Theodorus in this western part of the nave and in the upper part of the khurus as well, disappeared behind the products of a new master. At the east wall of the khurus, this man painted two scenes connected with the resurrection of Christ (the women at Christ’s tomb and his meeting with the two women named Mary) and two pairs of archangels at different places in the church.
Although parts of the secco murals are lost and sometimes “restored,” the work of Theodorus can be considered complete, more complete than so many other cycles in Coptic mural painting. Being a painter of a mediocre style, Theodorus betrays the great influence of Coptic medieval iconography, while the new master fits in the fourteenth-century trend that has been more inspired in Christian Egypt by Byzantine painters.
- Coquin, R.-G., and P.-H. Laferrière. “Les Inscriptions pariétales de l’ancienne église du monastère de S. Antoine dans le désert oriental.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 78 (1978):267-321.
- Doresse, J. “Nouvelles études sur l’art copte, les monastères de Saint-Antoine et de Saint-Paul.” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (1951):268-74.
- . “Deux Monastères coptes oubliés, Saint-Antoine et Saint- Paul, dans le désert de la Mer rouge.” Revue des arts 2 (1952):3-14.
- Leroy, J. “Le Programme decoratif de l’église de Saint-Antoine du désert de la Mer rouge.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 76 (1976):347-79.
- Moorsel, P. van. “Les Travaux de la mission de peintures coptes à Saint-Antoine.” Bulletin de la Société français d’Egyptologie 97 (1983):16-29.
- Nelson, R. S. “An Icon at Mt. Sinai and Christian Painting in Muslim Egypt During the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries.” Art Bulletin 65 (1983):201-218.
- Piankoff, A. “Peintures au monastère de Saint-Antoine.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 14 (1950-1957):151-63.
- . “Thomas Whittemore, Les Cahiers coptes.” Les Cahiers coptes 7-8 (1954):19-24.
- . “Deux Peintures de saints militaires au monastère de Saint- Antoine.” Les Cahiers coptes 10 (1956):17-25.
PAUL VAN MOORSEL
Region of Dayr Anba Antuniyus
The personality of Saint Antony attracted many hermits, the ruins of whose hermitages are still to be seen. Apart from the two dependencies of Bush and Dayr al-Maymun, which represent the outer desert of the ancient texts, and the two monasteries of Saint Antony and Saint Paul, which are the inner desert, the hermits installed themselves either in the wadis flowing into Wadi ‘Araba or on the mountain between the Monastery of Saint Antony and CLYSMA (Qulzum).
The hermitages that are found in the wadis coming down from the Jalalah plateau in the north, opposite the monastery of Saint Antony, are those in the Wadi Natfah; those in Wadi Hannebah; the most important hermitage, called Dayr Bakhit; and those in Wadi ‘Arabah, halfway between the Nile Valley and the Monastery of Saint Antony, ‘Ayn Bardah. They have been described by F. Bissey and R. Chabot-Morisseau (1953-1954); A. L. Fontaine (1953-1954); and R. Fourteau (1900).
The best known, 42 miles (68 km) from Suez on the road of Saint Antony, is without doubt Dayr Abu Daraj, one cell of which contains Coptic inscriptions. It has been described by E. Brown (1974); A. L. Fontaine (1955-1956); and J. Jarry (1971-1973).
In Egypt, Saint Antony appears to be little venerated. His name appears rarely in the list of invocations of the monks. The Life of Antony, by Athanasius, is meagerly represented in Coptic, and the monasteries and churches dedicated to him are not very numerous. Al-Maqrizi drew attention to a church in the district of Bayad to the north of Itfih. A topos (memorial site) of Saint Antony is noted in the province of al-Ashmunayn (Garitte, 1943, p. 347). A monastery was dedicated to Saint Antony in the region of Qift.
- Bissey, F., and R. Chabot-Morisseau, “Notes de voyages sur l’ouadi Arabah: Ruines de constructions chrétiennes dans les Branches est et ouest de l’ouadi Hannaka.” Bulletin de la Société d’études historiques et géographiques de l’Isthme de Suez 5 (1953-1954):155-60.
- Brown, E. “Voyage en Egypte (1673-1674).” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie copte (1974):261.
- Fontaine, A. L. “Explorations dans l’ouadi Arabah, Ayn Barda, ses vestiges d’habitations anciens.” Bulletin de la Société d’études historiques et géographiques de l’Isthme de Suez 5 (1953-1954):159ff.
- ____. “Les Ruines du bir Abou Darag sur le golfe de Suez.” Bulletin de la Société d’études historiques et Géographiques de l’Isthme de Suez 6 (1955-1956):55ff.
- ____. “Le Monachisme copte et la montagne de St. Antoine.” Bulletin de l’Institut des études coptes (1958).
- Fourteau, R. “Voyage dans la partie septentrionale du desert arabique.” Bulletin de la Société khediviale de Geographie. ser. 5, no. 9 (1900):532-33.
- Garitte, G. “Panégyrique de St. Antoine par Jean, évêque d’Hermopolis.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 9 (1943):100-134, 330-65.
- Jarry, J. “Nouvelles Inscriptions coptes, grecques, arabes et syriaques.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 21 (1971-1973):79.
- Littman, E. “Nabatean Inscriptions from Egypt.” Bulletin of theSchool of Oriental and African Studies 15 (1953):27.
- Martin, M. “Abou Darag dans la montagne de St. Antoine.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 70 (1971):173-89.
- Meredith, D. “The Roman Remains at the Eastern Desert of Egypt.” Journal of Egyptian Archeology 38 (1952):106.
- Scaipe, C. H. O. “Further Notes on Myos Hormos and Some Ruins at Abu Darag.” Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Egypt, 4 (1936):63-64.
- Sicard, C. Oeuvres, Vol. 1, Lettres et relations, ed. M. Martin. Cairo, 1982.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J