DAYR ANBA BAKHUM (Abydos)
The Coptic Life of MOSES OF ABYDOS says clearly that the saint founded his monastery to the south of the temple of Bes, which is none other than the Memnonion of Strabo (i.e., the funerary temple of Seti I). The present Dayr Musa, also called DAYR SITT DIMYANAH, which is to the northwest of the temple of Osiris, can hardly be the monastery founded by Moses.
ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN (1895, pp. 231-32) and al- MAQRIZI (1854, Vol. 2, p. 507) also spoke of the monastery of Moses near al-BALYANA, but did not indicate its exact position in relation to the pharaonic temples.
SICARD (1982, Vol. 3, p. 68) related that at this site he saw the ruins of a monastery called the Monastery of Pachomius, or Dayr Anba Bakhum: “To the south of the Memnonion there appear the ruins of a monastery of Saint Pachomius, about 100 paces square, with a dried-up well with a wheel.” The Coptic Life of Moses mentions explicitly the digging of a well.
At the beginning of this century G. Lefebvre (1911, Vol. 4, p. 239) saw at the same place the ruins of a monastery, “a long quadrilateral, of which only the brick walls emerge,” but he remarked that the locals call it the Monastery of the Greeks. The Jesuit Sicard, who passed quickly through these places, may have confused DAYR AL-RUMI and Dayr Anba Bakhum.
No doubt no one will ever know the truth. If Moses called his monastery that of Pachomius, it would prove beyond any doubt what the Coptic texts seem to show—that he did indeed intend to remain within the Pachomian tradition.
- Lefebvre, G. “Egypte chrétienne, IV.” Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 11 (1911):230-50.
- Sicard, C. Oeuvres, Vol. 3, ed. S. Sauneron and M. Martin. Bibliothèque d’etude 85. Cairo, 1982.
MAURICE MARTIN, S. J.