Dayr Apa Thomas


A monastery near the town of Fawjilay, which is about 5 miles (8 km) north of Akhmim. A small church survives from a monastery commemorating the holy hermit Thomas of Shinshif. The name of this mountain (Shinshif) is retained in that of a village near the church, called Naj‘ al-Shinshifi.

There is a reference to this Thomas in the Life of SHENUTE, and his feast was celebrated at the Dayr al-Abyad, as is shown by the Typika (calendar) of this monastery. The presence of this church allows us to locate exactly this Coptic placename Shinshif, which Amélineau (1893, pp. 453ff.) was not able to do. S. Clarke identifies a church of Saint Thomas at al-Sawam‘ah (1972, p. 213, no. 18).

Some reproductions of paintings from this church are given by Nabil al-Manqabadi (1984, pp. 94-99). The monastery is briefly mentioned by J. Muyser and G. Viaud (1979, p. 57).


  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte. Paris, 1893.
  • Clarke, S. Christian Antiquities in the Nile Valley. London, 1912.
  • Muyser, J., and G. Viaud. Les pèlerinages coptes en Egypte. Bibliothèque d’études coptes 15. Cairo, 1979. [Nabil al-Manqabadi.] Coptic Egypt. Cairo, 1984.



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