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Sunday, July 30, 2017
New Discovery, Cairo: Medieval Coptic Wall-Paintings Uncovered at Egyptian Monastery
at the Monastery of St. Bishoy near Cairo have uncovered frescoes depicting
saints, martyrs and angels. Written By/ Nevine
One of The Paintings Discovered At The Monastery
working at the Monastery of St. Bishoy in the Wadi El-Natroun area have
uncovered a number of medieval-era wall-paintings and architectural elements in
the monastery's old church.
removing the modern layer of mortar from the walls of the monastery's old
church, several coloured wall-paintings were uncovered,” Mohamed Abdellatif,
deputy antiquities minister for archaeological sites, told Ahram Online.
explained that the paintings date from between the 9th and 13th centuries AD,
which will help archaeologists to determine the original architectural style of
the church and the dates of its construction.
to historical books and religious documents, he said, the church was subjected
to changes and modifications in its architecture in 840 AD, during the Abbasid
era, and in 1069 AD, during the Fatimid caliphate.
El-Nemr, a member of the ministry’s scientific bureau, said that the newly
discovered wall-paintings are frescoes, and depict scenes of saints and angels
with Coptic religious inscriptions below.
most distinguished paintings are those on the western and eastern walls of the
church,” he said, describing the painting on the western wall as showing a
woman named as Refka and her five sons, who were martyred during the
persecution of Christians by the Roman empire.
painting on the eastern wall depicts three saints and an archangel, and
features Coptic writings below. El-Nemr explained that when restorers removed
the modern additions they stumbled upon the ambon, an elevated platform that is
a feature of many orthodox churches.
newly discovered ambon is made of mud-brick covered with a layer of mortar and
decorated with a red cross. Some geometric drawings, crosses and lettering were
also found in various parts of the church.
conservation project by the antiquities ministry has been ongoing since 2015,
when a number of monasteries in the Wadi El-Natroun area experienced flooding.
Monastery of St. Bishoy is around 100 kilometres north-west of Cairo, and is
located along the Cairo-Alexandria highway. It has a collection of buildings,
including five churches and a fort, as well as the tomb of the late Coptic
Orthodox Pope Shenouda III, who died in 2012.