Today the church of the Holy Virgin near the village called Dayr , to distinguish it from the more important village called . It is situated about 6 miles (10 km) southwest of on the edge of the mountain in the quarries and tombs.

THE (beginning of the thirteenth century) mentions a church in the region of Durunkah and three monasteries (pp. 250-51) dedicated to the Holy Virgin: that of , near the Monastery of , it seems, and those of Azilun and Abu Harith.

(d. 1441) devotes a fairly long notice to the monasteries of the region of Durunkah, and mentions three that bore the name of the Holy Virgin: Qarfunah, Saint Severus, and Isaac (1853, Vol. 2, p. 506). The one where the church is still standing perhaps corresponds to the monastery that Abu Salih and call Qarfunah. explains that the name comes from the Greek grafon and means “scribe” because this monastery had a famous scriptorium for the copying of manuscripts. In fact, there exists a manuscript from the library of Dayr al-Abyad that was written there, as its shows (van Lantschoot, 1929, no. 69, fasc. 2, p. 47). A very archaic funerary probably comes from this monastery. In fact, it carries the very name, “monastery of the scribes” (Elanskaya, 1975-1976, pp. 221-22). This would indicate that the monastery is very old.

The inscriptions and have been published by the following authors: F. L. Griffith (1889, pl. 19); Ahmad Kamal (1916); A. J. Gayet (1900, pp. 53ff.; Gayet speaks of the textiles found in the cemetery); and G. Maspero (1893, p. 208). The travelers J. (1677, pp. 364, 394-95; Eng. ed., 1678, pp. 218, 227) and M. JULLIEN (1901, p. 213) have described the site. The present state is given by O. (1965, p. 384; 1977, pp. 394-95).

Today, Dayr Durunkah is a place of , the mawlid (birthday) of which is held from 1 to 16 (, 1979, pp. 52-53). The church was reconstructed in 1955. A good description of the ancient state is given by S. Clarke (1912, p. 175).


  • Ahmad Kamal. “Fouilles a Deir Dronka et a Assuit.” Annales du Service des antiquites de l’Egypte 16 (1916):64-66.
  • Clarke, S. The Christian Antiquities in the . London, 1912.
  • Elanskaya, A. J. “Quelques steles coptes des musees de Leningrad et de Moscou.” Orientalis Lovaniensia Periodica 6/7 (1975-1976):215-22.
  • Gayet, A. J. Le Costume en Egypte du Ille au Xllle siecle. Paris, 1900.
  • Griffith, F. L. The Inscriptions of Siut and Der Rifeh. London, 1889.
  • Jullien, M. “A travers les ruines de la Haute Egypte a la recherche de la grotte de l’abbe Jean.” Etudes 88 (1901):205-217.
  • Lantschoot, A. van. Recueil des des manuscrits chretiens d’Egypte. Bibliotheque du Museon 1. Louvain, 1929.
  • Maspero, G. Etudes de mythologie et d’archeologie egyptienne, Vol. 1. Paris, 1893.
  • Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed., Cairo, 1977.
  • 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.


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