MONASTERY OF AL-BARAMOUS
It is the northernmost of the monasteries in Wadi al-Natrun. It occupies the place where the oldest monastic community in Wadi al-Natrun stood. The Arabic name Baramous is a transliteration of the Coptic Pa-Romeos, “that of the Romans,” referring probably to the two Roman saints and children of the Roman Emperor Valentinian I (364-357), Maximus and Domitius, whom St. Macarius received and consecrated their cell by building a chapel after their death. The monastery is significant for its oldest church in Wadi al-Natrun that originates from the late sixth century or the beginning of the seventh century.
It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Its nave features scenes of the Great Feasts: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, and the Entry into Jerusalem, as well as the Pentecost. The sanctuary is decorated with the scenes of the sacrifice of Isaac and the meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek. They date to about 1200. The sanctuary’s apse is occupied by Christ enthroned in the upper register, and below is the Holy Virgin flanked by two angels. There is a feretory against the north wall of the khurus that contains the relics of Sts. Maximus and Domitius. The monastery’s keep is the oldest extant keep in Wadi al-Natrun and probably dates from the ninth century.
See also MONASTICISM, EGYPTIAN.