Dayr Shahran


A monastery south of Cairo that was restored and dedicated under the Patriarch ZACHARIAS (1004-1032) by the monk Poemen, who had embraced Islam and then returned to the faith and became its abbot.

In this monastery BARSUM THE NAKED lived for seventeen years (1300-1317), and here he was buried. Toward 1320 Abu al- described the procession of the Palms (referring to Palm Sunday) to the monastery in his encyclopedia, al-Zulmah (Villecourt, 1925, p. 271).

Two were buried in the monastery of Shahran, JOHN VIII (1300-1320) and BENJAMIN II (1327-1339).

Al-MAQRIZI (d. 1441) described the monastery, which he says was well populated in the fourteenth century. According to him, Shahran was an educated or a king. In the seventeenth century J. Vansleb mentioned the monastery under the name of Barsum the Naked (1677, p. 294; English ed., p. 178).

Several were written at or for the monastery (Simaykah, 1942, Vol. 2, pt. 1, nos. 5, 149, 10, 709, 81, 865; Troupeau, 1972, Vol. 1, nos. 113, 278). The four most ancient manuscripts mention the monastery under the name of Mercurius at Shahran; the two latest from the eighteenth century under that of Barsum the Naked.

The patriarch CYRIL V (1854-1861) built a tower and later opened the for parochial service.

[See also: Barsum the Naked.]


  • Troupeau, G. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes, Vol. 1. Paris, 1972. Vansleb, J. 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.
  • Villecourt, L. “Les Observances liturgiques et la discipline du jeûne dans l’église copte.” Le Muséon 36 (1923):249-92; 37 (1924):201-80; 38 (1925):261-320.