Shenoute’s Place in the History of Monasticism

Shenoute’s Place in the History of Monasticism A LITTLE MORE than 1,500 years ago, inside the massive church whose ruined hulk has come to be known as the White Monastery (Arabic Dayr al-Abyad), on an occasion near the middle of the fifth century when the monastery’s longtime leader Shenoute was about one hundred years old, […]

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The Art of Coptic Churches

The Art of Coptic Churches WE WENT TO THE CHURCH while the elders of the monastery went with us. There were pictures of monks on the wall of the place, representing our monastic fathers: Antony the Great and Apa Pachom and Apa Paule and Apa Makarios.21 These were on one side and the archbishops of […]

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The Monastery of St. Paul (RED SEA)

The Monastery of St. Paul (RED SEA) SAINT PAUL OF THEBES (Anba Bula, ca. 235-348?) is known as ‘the first hermit.’ For more than ninety years he lived in a cave near a natural spring and a palm tree. Daily a raven brought him a piece of bread. The palm tree provided leaves for weaving […]

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The Cave of John of Lykopolis

The Cave of John of Lykopolis Gebel Asyut al-Gharbi Gebel Asyut al-Gharbi, a limestone mountain located to the west of Asyut at the edge of the Libyan Desert, provides much information on ancient Asyut (Kahl 2007a: 59—106). The mountain rises to a height of up to two hundred meters above sea level. During the pharaonic […]

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Sisoes (Jijoi)

SISOES (Jijoi) An anchorite (fourth-fifth century). In the APOPHTHEGMATA PATRUM some fifty items mention Sisoes or Tithoes, which is another form of the same word. But it is proper to distinguish at least two if not three persons with this name. The earliest and most renowned lived with Or and MACARIUS at Scetis; he left […]

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Coptic Ceramics

COPTIC CERAMICS The pottery produced in Egypt from the late Roman to the early Islamic period. There must be no illusion about the term “Coptic ceramics.” The techniques of production were in the tradition of Hellenistic and Roman techniques. Similarly, there is no marked stylistic discontinuity between the products of the Roman period and those […]

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Cell

CELL The word cell is very common in monastic texts, but it does not always have the sense given it in Western languages. Because monks inhabited various places, such as tombs, caves, or constructed hermitages, it is necessary to distinguish between them. We find in Greek the words kella (derived from Latin) and its common […]

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Kellia

KELLIA The archaeological remains that were discovered in Kellia represent the largest complex of Christian monasteries and hermitages known to date. The monastic site, which is situated about 18 kilometers south of modern al-Barnuji, the ancient Nitria in the western Nile Delta, was partly excavated, examined, and documented between 1965 and 1990. Unfortunately, the encroachment […]

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Symbols In Coptic Art

SYMBOLS IN COPTIC ART Alpha and Omega Alpha and omega (A and W) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In Middle Eastern astrology, they are related to the cosmos, the signs of the zodiac, and the twenty-four hours of the day. In Egyptian alchemy they are linked to the good genius, […]

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Christodoulus

CHRISTODOULUS The sixty-sixth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1047-1077). Christodoulus, whose original name as a monk of the ENATON, west of Alexandria, was Theodore, was a native of the village of Burah, but his date of birth is unknown. The first known event in his life concerns his castrating himself. This happened when […]

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