Monastery Of St. Pshoi At Wadi Al-Natrun

MONASTERY OF ST. PSHOI AT WADI AL-NATRUN

It is one of the four original monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun. St. Pshoi was one of the early settlers in Scetis; he lived mainly in the fourth century and died in the first decades of the fifth century. When in 407 the tribes of the Libyan Desert attacked Scetis, St. Pshoi fled to Antinopolis in Upper Egypt where he died. We are told that his body was transferred to his monastery at Wadi al-Natrun.

Pope Shenouda III spends two or three days a week in this monastery. Therefore, it attracts thousands of Copts who visit Wadi al-Natrun. The tower, which dates to the 13th century, is the most significant building in the monastery.

On its second floor there is a church dedicated to St. Michael. Some parts of the monastery’s main church, which is dedicated to St. Pshoi, might have been erected before the ninth century. Patriarch Benjamin II (1327-1339) restored the monastery. Remains of wall paintings can be traced in the “Chapel of Benjamin.” They date from the 12th century and depict three of the Twenty-four Elders of the Apocalypse, the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace, and some saints. A church of St. Iskhyrun was added, probably in the 11th century.

The monastery possesses three refectories and a bakery. Its millhouse represents the most complete example of its kind in Wadi al-Natrun. See also MONASTICISM, EGYPTIAN.

GAWDAT GABRA

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