DAYR ANBA HIZIQYAL
A monastery in Armant. The name of this monastery is given in two notices of saints by the recension of the SYNAXARION of the Copts from Upper Egypt, which provides an approximate indication of its geographical location. In the summary at 14 Kiyahk concerning one Ezekiel (Hiziqyal), a native of Armant, whose parents were Christians, it is written that he became a monk in the district of his native town. He lived in the “inner” desert—that is, the most remote from the fertile valley.
Since it was too distant from the town and infested by thieves, he moved closer to the town and installed himself “in the mountain,” which means the stony plateau near the town. When he died, the people of the town instituted a pilgrimage to his church “until now,” which means down to the period of the compilation of this recension of the Synaxarion (the twelfth or thirteenth century). It seems probable that a monastery was built over the tomb of Ezekiel.
There is also a reference to a Monastery of Anba Hiziqyal with reference to Anba Yunah (Jonas) in the Synaxarion at 2 Tubah. Yunah had a maternal uncle who brought about his birth through his prayers, on the condition that he should be offered at the age of three to the monastery, no doubt Dayr Anba Hiziqyal. This was done, and all his education was carried out by his uncle at the monastery.
The text says that this Dayr Anba Hiziqyal was remote from the cultivated lands, since it was “in the inner desert,” but it does not specify if it was north or south of Armant. It appears that it was established on the left bank, as was Armant, although this is uncertain.
It does indeed seem that it is named in a Coptic document that speaks of a John, monk of the Monastery of Apa Ezekiel. According to the context, this text must be dated somewhere about 600. Hence, this monastery would have been founded largely before the ARAB CONQUEST OF EGYPT and would have survived down to the twelfth or thirteenth century.
There are no archaeological proofs for its identification, but J. Doresse (1949, p. 347) has suggested identifying it with the present DAYR AL-SAQIYAH. This is only a working hypothesis.
- Doresse, J. “Monastères coptes aux environs d’Armant en Thébaïde.” Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949):327-49.