In the extreme south of the oasis of Khargah, at Dush, the ancient Kysis, the papyrological dossier of the gravediggers reveals the existence in the second half of the third century (between 224 and 306) of one of the most ancient Christian communities of Egypt. This community, headed by the priest Apollo, was to receive the mummy of a certain Palitice, sent there for burial.

The Christian traces at Dush are insignificant. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Cailliaud of Nantes could still see a church with some texts, but it has not been possible to identify this monument until now. The excavations of the Institut français d’Archéologie orientale in the hypostyle hall of the temple have brought to light a Christian imprecation that calls down the punishment of Christ on anyone who blasphemes against him. A deeply cut cross has been substituted for the uraeus that overhung the entrance gate of the sanctuary. The cemeteries excavated by the institute are pagan, and to date, it is not known where the Christian cemetery was.

The names on the Greek and Coptic ostraca from west of Dush testify to the presence of numerous Christians among the inhabitants and, more particularly, among the soldiers stationed at or in transit through Kysis in the fourth and at the beginning of the fifth century.


  • Naldini, M. Il Cristianesimo in Egitto, no. 21, 131-135. Florence,1968. Latest edition of the letter to the priest Apollo.
  • Sauneron, S., et al. “Douch, Rapports Preliminaires 1976.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 78 (1978):1-33.
  • Wagner, G. “Les ostraca grecs de Doush.” In Proceedings of the XVI International Congress of Papyrology. Chico, Calif., 1981.
  • Wagner, G., et al. “Douch, Rapports Préliminaires 1979.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 80 (1980):287-345.


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