The Church of St. Theodore (MINYA)
THE CHURCH OF ST. THEODORE is all that remains from the Monastery of al-Sanquriya. It is located on the east bank of Bahr Yusuf about thirteen miles west of the city of Beni Mazar in the Minya governorate. The church and a cemetery are surrounded by an enclosure wall. The church is situated in the southeast sector of the enclosure. It is a typical hall church with four columns and twelve domes.
It dates from the eighteenth or nineteenth century. The church’s northern and western sides open on a portico that is supported by fourteen red granite columns with old acanthus-leaf capitals. On the eastern part stand three sanctuaries dedicated to the St. Theodore (center), the Virgin Mary (north), and St. George (south).
The wooden screens of the sanctuaries are decorated with geometric designs inlaid with ivory. The four marble columns, which are in the middle of the hall church, feature beautiful capitals decorated with acanthus leaves. They retain little of their natural appearance as their tips droop and might date to the sixth or the seventh century.
These capitals must have been taken from an old building, perhaps from the ancient church of the old monastery that disappeared. The church’s wooden ambon (pulpit) has a spiral staircase winding around the northwestern column. It is adorned with the icons of the twelve apostles.