Wall paintings discovered in Monastery of Saint Pishoy
Thu, Jul. 27, 2017
CAIRO – 27 July 2017: Restorers at the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi el-Natroun, Cairo-Alexandria road, discovered a collection of wall paintings and architectural elements on Thursday, July 27.
The collection of wall paintings and architectural elements were discovered during removal of the modern layer of mortar off several walls during the restoration carried out by the Ministry of Antiquities since 2015 when flood hit several monasteries in Wadi el-Natroun.
They date back between the ninth and thirteenth centuries AD, assistant of the Minister of Antiquities for archaeological sites Dr. Mohamed Abdel Latif said that they would help archaeologists determine the original architectural style of the church and stages of its construction.
The architecture of the church was modified before during the Abbasid era in 840 AD and the Fatimid era in 1069 AD, according to historical books and religious documents.
The uncovered paintings and architectural elements are frescoes, and depict scenes of saints and angels; below it, Coptic religious inscriptions are drawn, according to a member of the scientific office in the ministry Ahmed el-Nemr.
The most distinguished paintings are those found on the east and west walls of the church, Nemr says that the west wall shows a woman called 'Refka' with her five sons who got their martyrdom during the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. The east wall shows three saints and the archangel with Coptic writings below.
In addition, 'Ambon,' an elevated platform with stairs used by monks at the sermon was discovered during removing the modern additions at the court of the church. It is carved in mud-brick covered with a layer of mortar and decorated with a red cross, Nemr continued.
Some geometric drawings, crosses and lettering are found in various parts of the church.
Saint Pishoy constructed the monastery with monks in the late 4th century. The monastery includes five churches; the church of Saint Pishoy is the biggest of which, a fort and different service units, and the tomb of the Late Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.
Wadi el-Natroun was the first place for monks to gather in the 4th century. It had around 700 monasteries in the second half of 4th century.
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