MONASTERIES OF THE SHARQIYYAH PROVINCE
This province occupies the central part of the eastern Delta between the Suez Canal and the Damietta branch of the Nile, hence between Qalyubiyyah to the south and Daqahliyyah to the north.
Monastic establishments in this region appear to have been few in number, for apart from the DAYR MART MARYAM near Bilbays we can cite only the Dayr Bahtit, the Dayr al-Kharbah, and Kafr al-Dayr.
The Book of the Hidden Pearls speaks of a Dayr Bahtit at Bilbays (Kamal, 1907). Daressy (1917, p. 200) believes that this is an error for DAYR ‘ATIYYAH. Dayr Atiyyah, however, is in the province of Minya, while there is indeed a village still called Bahtit near Bilbays, formerly in the district of al-Zaqaziq and today in that of Abu Hammad. This monastery does not seem to be attested elsewhere, at least under this name.
The place-name Dayr al-Karbah is mentioned in the Book of the Hidden Pearls. Daressy (1917, p. 203) thought that this dayr was in the region of Akhmim, but al-Karbah is the vanished but well-attested name of a town in the Delta, in the district of Minya al- Qamh.
A township bears the name Kafr al-Dayr in the district of Minya al-Qamh. The presence of a monastery at one time is attested by the monks’ cemetery, which is still visible near the church dedicated to Saint Michael. This is the object of a pilgrimage on the occasion of the summer feast of Saint Michael on 12 Ba’unah (Viaud, 1979, pp. 73-74).
- Ahmad Kamal. Le Livre des perles enfouies et du mystère precieux, 2 vols. Cairo, 1907.
- Daressy, G. “Indicateur topographique du ‘Livre des Perles enfouies et du mystère précieux.’” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 13 (1917):175-230; 14 (1918):1-32.
- Muhammad Ramzi. Al-Qamus al-Jughrafi lil-Bilad al Misriyyah, 2 vols. in 5 pts. Cairo, 1953-1963.
- Viaud, G. Les Pèlerinages coptes en Egypte d’après les notes du Qommos Jacob Muyser. Bibliothèque d’études coptes 15. Cairo, 1979.
MAURICE MARTIN, S. J.