Deir Anba Bishoi

sights / Religious

Deir Anba Bishoi information

Location
Wadi Natrun , Egypt
Telephone
+20 2 2591 4448
Opening hours
9am-6pm, 7pm in summer
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St Bishoi came to the desert in AD 340 and founded two monasteries in Wadi Natrun: this one and neighbouring Deir el-Sourian. Deir Anba Bishoi is built around a church that contains the saint’s body, said to be perfectly preserved in its tubelike container. Each year on 15 July, the tube is carried in procession around the church. According to the monks, the bearers clearly feel the weight of a whole body.

The fortified keep is entered via a drawbridge, passing into an area with a vegetable garden, well, kitchens, two churches and storerooms that can hold provisions for a year. On the roof (men only can climb up), trapdoors open to small cells that acted as makeshift tombs for those who died during frequent sieges. Adjacent is an enormous new cathedral. Outside the keep in a separate building is a shop selling monastery products: olive oil, honey, candles and, oddly, cleaning supplies.