A monastery near Alexandria. The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS records that the future patriarch I (622-661) took refuge, a year before the death of his predecessor the patriarch ANDRONICUS, in a monastery situated “to the northeast of the town,” close to a holy old man named Theonas. The monastery had not been destroyed by the Persians in 619, because the army was defending it. Unfortunately the name of the monastery has been distorted by the copyists: it is sometimes written without diacritical points, twice Qir[i]nus, three times Qibriyus, and in the oldest manuscript Niqiyus (PO 1, pt. 1, p. 487; ed. Seybold, 1912, p. 96).

In the SYNAXARION for 8 Tubah we read: “in a monastery to the west of Alexandria,” which the 1935 Cairo edition makes specific: “in the monastery of Saint Qibriyus” (‘Abd al-Masih Mikha’il, 1935, p. 276). Abu al-Makarim obviously copied the History of the Patriarchs, but called the monastery “the monastery of Niqiyus” and thus followed a manuscript containing the same reading as the Hamburg manuscript edited by C. F. Seybold. J. Maspero (1901, pp. 43-46) corrected the to read “Canopus,” which seems plausible, given the orientation “to the northeast of the town.”

The major objection to this identification (Qibriyus/Qirinus/Niqiyus or Canopus) was advanced by W. E. Crum (1924, p. 429): in the century preceding Benjamin’s stay, the monastery of Canopus (the METANOIA) appears to have been inhabited by Chalcedonian monks, for the religious policy of JUSTINIAN (527-565) had driven the anti-Chalcedonians out of the monasteries of the Pachomian congregation. But it is possible that there was to the northeast of the town only a single monastery, that of the Metanoia, at Canopus.


  • Crum, W. E. “Review of L’Histoire des patriarches d’Alexandrie depuis la mort de l’empéreur Anastase jusqu’à la réconciliation des églises jacobites by Maspero.” of Theological Studies 25 (1924):429.
  • Maspero, J. “Graeco-arabica.”  de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 12 (1901):43-46.
  • Seybold, C. F., ed. Alexandrinische Patriarchengeschichte von S. Marcus bis Michael I. Hamburg, 1912.