DAYR YUHANNA (Damanhur Shubra)
A monastery celebrated for pilgrimages to the body of Saint John that attracted many faithful, mentioned by al-Shabushti at the end of the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century (1939, p. 28).
ABU AL-MAKARIM (1177-1204) devotes a short passage to Damanhur Shubra (1984, p. 25). According to this author, the body of Saint John of Sanhut was preserved in the church of Saint Theodorus at Shubra. It was transferred to the Church of Our Lady in the same town.
Al-MAQRIZI (d. 1441) devotes a chapter to the feast of Saint John, which was fixed at 8 Bashans (Vol. 1, pp. 68-80). This was a great feast, to which people came from every quarter. The feast was forbidden from 1303 to 1337, then authorized again, and finally prohibited in 1354. In that year the emir Ala al-Din ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Kurani, governor of Cairo, came to Shubra and destroyed the Christian churches and, taking away the saint’s finger, had it burned in a public place and the ashes were thrown into the Nile, that the Christians might not recover it. From that time to the present, adds al-Maqrizi, the feast of the martyr has no longer been celebrated.
In an eighteenth-century list of churches, of which two manuscripts are extant (published by Amélineau, 1893, pp. 578, 580) the church of Saint John of Sanhut is still mentioned at Damanhur Shubra. We do not know at what period Dayr Yuhanna actually disappeared.
- Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte. Paris, 1893.
- Casanova, P. “Les Noms coptes du Caire et localités voisines.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 1 (1901). Maspero, J., and G. Wiet. Matériaux pour servir a la géographie de
- l’Égypte. Mémoires publiés par les membres de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 36. Paris, 1919.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.