DAYR MAR JIRJIS (Sadamant-Fayyum)
A monastery dedicated to Saint George about 15 miles (25 km) south of Madinat al-Fayyum, northeast of the village called Sidmant al-Jabal, on the left bank of the Bahr Yusuf. It lies on the eastern edge of the Jabal al-Naqlun, on the rim of the Nile Valley.
There is no evidence of its existence before the thirteenth century. A Coptic theologian, BUTRUS AL-SIDMANTI (or al- Sadamanti), author of several famous works, one of them dated to 1260, lived in this monastery.
The encyclopedist Abu al-Barakat IBN KABAR (fourteenth century) cites the peculiar ordo of the monks of Dayr Mar Jirjis at Sadamant, according to which they recited the entire Psalter every day (Villecourt, 1924, p. 232).
Al-MAQRIZI (d. 1441) devotes some lines to this monastery, but remarks that it had lost much of its past prosperity, and that its inhabitants were few in number.
The church and the neighboring cells were built in 1914. However, some ancient capitals at the entrance to the church and marble debris in the precincts bear witness to the antiquity of the site.
Every year toward Ascension, the feast of Saint George is celebrated at the monastery, an event that draws a great crowd (Muyser-Viaud, 1979, pp. 43-44).
- Abbot, N. The Monasteries of the Fayyum. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 16. Chicago, 1937.
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte. Paris, 1893.
- Muyser, J., and G. Viaud. Les Pèlerinages coptes en Egypte. Bibliothèque d’études coptes 15. Cairo, 1979.
- Salmon, G. “Répertoire géographique de la province du Fayyoûm d’après le Kitâb Târîkh al-Fayyoûm d’an-Nâboulsi.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 1 (1901):29-70.
- Van den Acker, P. Butrus as-Sadamenti. Introduction sur l’herméneutique. Recherches, n.s., fasc. B1. Beirut, 1972.
- Vansleb, J. M. Histoire de l’église d’Alexandrie. Paris, 1677. Villecourt, L. “Les observances liturgiques et la discipline du jeûne dans l’eglise copte.” Le Muséon 37 (1924):201-280.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.