The world's oldest active monastery


St. Anthony's Monastery (Deir Mar Antonios), which lies at the foot of Al-Qalzam Mountain in Egypt, was founded in 356 AD, and is the oldest active monastery in the world. The monastery is Coptic Christian today, although over its many years it was often multi-faith, housing monks of several different Christian religions. Saint Anthony the Great (251-356) was an Egyptian Christian saint, and one of the leaders of the Christian monks known as Desert Fathers.


Exceptional wall paintings and icons are a feature of St Anthony's Monastery. For centuries the wall paintings were obscured by grime, but a joint project between the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the American Research Center in Egypt has restored them, as the photo above shows. One set of the paintings is attributed to the Coptic master Theodore, while others are of Byzantine origin.


Now, read about a setting of the Greek Orthodox Akáthistos Hymn by a contemporary composer.
Image credits. Header from MyWay Travel in Norway, well worth visiting for a lot more wonderful photos. Wall painting from TourEgypt.net. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dotuk

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