Nile Delta

Scetis

SCETIS A name that historically designated the area of monastic settlement extending about 19 miles (30 km) through the shallow valley known in the medieval period as Wad Habb, now called Wad al-Natrun, which runs southeast to northwest through the Western or Libyan Desert, about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the Nile Delta. In …

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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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Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA Founded in 331 b.c. by Alexander the Great at the western end of the Nile Delta. An Egyptian town, Rakote, already existed there on the shore and was a fishermen’s resort. From its very beginning, Alexandria developed rapidly into one of the world’s great cities. The city replaced Memphis as the capital of Egypt …

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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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Saint John Cassian

SAINT JOHN CASSIAN A monk and author of a monastic rule. John Cassian was born around 360, no doubt in the neighborhood of the present town of Constantza, Romania. After receiving a first-rate education, John Cassian was initiated into the monastic life at Bethlehem. He soon undertook a pilgrimage to the Egyptian monastic sites, which …

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Dayr Al-Baramus

DAYR AL-BARAMUS History This monastery is farthest to the northwest in the monastic colony of Wadi al-Natrun (ancient Scetis). The topographic allusions in ancient literature lend some credence to the statement by the author of the Coptic Life of Saint Macarius (probably of the eighth century; cf. Guillaumont, 1968-1969, pp. 182-83) that Dayr al-Baramus evolved …

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