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Cairo Sights

Deir Anba Baramus

Updated 12/31/1969

Fodor's Review

This is thought to be the oldest monastic settlement in the wadi. Its Arabic name is derived from the Coptic word Romeos (meaning Roman), used in honor of Maximus and Domitius, sons of Emperor Valentinus who lived as monks in this area. It is impossible to access except by car and, despite its age, it is probably the least interesting of the three monasteries, because many of the buildings are of quite recent construction. The oldest church on the grounds is the

restored 9th-century Church of al-'Adhra' (the Virgin). Work on the church in 1987 uncovered frescoes, in rather poor condition, long hidden by plaster. The coffins in the haykal are of Saint Isadore and Saint Moses the Black (a convert from Nubia). Adjacent to the coffins is a photograph of a T-shirt supposedly scrawled in blood during an exorcism. In the back corner of the church is a column, easily missed next to a wall, that is from the 4th century. It is the oldest part of the monastery, marking the spot where Saint Arsenius, the one-time tutor to the sons of Roman emperor Theodosius the Great, is said to have sat regularly in prayer.

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