Red Monastery and White Monastery at Sohag

continued from:https://nomad4now.com/2016/12/25/asyut-to-sohag-a-story-of-movement-and-migration/

Red Monastery – Deir al-Ahmar

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The icon of the Pantocrator shows Christ lifting His right hand in a gesture of blessing.

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Christ raises His two fingers in blessing. On the right of the throne the Archangel Michael.

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Ankh

The Red Monastery, a Coptic Orthodox monastery and named after the Egyptian Saints Bishai (Pishay) and Bigol, gets it name from the color of the construction materials consisting of red brick and the red granite columns transported from ancient Egyptian sites. Some columns are inscribed with the Ankh ( ancient Egyptian symbol of the key of life,) the doorsills are of red marble that was transported from the Akhmim or Aswan.

The Red Monastery is located in the ancient region of Adriba, that lies in near Sohag governoarate. The Red Monastery was at the heart of a large monastic community in an area known as an important centre of ascetic life in the fifth century. Considered one of the most important monuments of the Coptic period, it was built in the fourth

Pharaonic gate

Pharaonic gate

century. The basilica rectangular nave at the end a tri-lobed sanctuary and  borrows from ancient Egyptian architecture with the outside of the building and the gate resembling a Phararonic temples.

The grandeur of Coptic art is showcased in the ancient icons such as the icon of the Holy Eucharist, the icon of the Cross, the Nursing Virgin Mary with antiquity icons between 500-700 CE.

Christ on the throne lifting up His right hand fingers to elucidate 'The creed of Trinity' . On the sides of the throne St.John the Baptist and St Zechariah the priest. On the right side St. Matthew and St.Mark. On the left side St. Luke and St. John. On the edges of the icon pope Peter the last martyr and pontiff and pope Discorus the champion of the orthodoxy. - from

Christ on the throne lifting up His right hand fingers to elucidate ‘The creed of Trinity’ . On the sides of the throne St.John the Baptist and St Zechariah the priest. On the right side St. Matthew and St.Mark. On the left side St. Luke and St. John. On the edges of the icon pope Peter the last martyr and pontiff and pope Discorus the champion of the orthodoxy. – from “The Red Monastery” Note pharaonic granite columns with roman capitals

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The Nursing Virgin. At the sides of the throne St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostles. At the top, the Archangel Michael and Gabriel the Announcer

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Pharaonic columns topped by Roman capitals

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Pharaonic colums topped by Roman capitals , various mural paintings. The lower part is the Empress Helena the mother of Emperor Constantine.

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The Virgin St. Mary the Mother of God “Theotokos” in the niche. On the side pharaonic columns topped with Roman capitals.The cross is adorned with bells or with eggs

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Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Monastery

http://arce.org/conservation/featuredconservation/u1

Book on the Red Monastery, at ava_bishay@yahoo.com, ISBN 978-977-90-3448-5

       White Monastery – Deir al-Abyad

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 The White Monastery is architecturally similar to the Red Monastery. The only surviving piece of the original monastery is its church complex, which was built in the Basilica style and the lay-out resemblances that of an Ancient Egyptian Temple. The fortress like churh resembles a pharaonic temple with two rows of windows. The name comes from the color of the white limestone walls brought from the pharaonic city of Atripe

The White Monastery is a coptic Orthodox monastery named after Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite who founded the monastery in 440 CE and died in ca. 446.  This area was populate by hermits from the fourth century. Shenoute is known from his writings and from the bibliography of his successor. “He was a stern opponent of pagans and heretics but claimed to champion the oppressed, at one time sheltering a reported 20,000 refugees from invaders within the walls of his monastery.” (Egypt From Alexander to the Copts, p180)  In the 11th century the monks were Armenian. The monastery was attacked during the battle between the Fatimid wazir Shawar and Shirkuh in 1168. Restoration was carried out by Muhammed Ali Pasha in the 19th century.

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seated Christ in half dome

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Virgin and child

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A Monastery must be recognized by certain criteria to operate as a monastery. Here is the government recognition.

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Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Monastery

**All rights reserved by Lesley Lababidi. To copy or re-produce photography and/or writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.