Ancient Christian Ruins with Biblical Inscriptions Discovered in Egypt
A series of ancient Christian ruins, including monks’ cells and the remains of three churches with well-preserved biblical inscriptions, have been found in Egypt dating back to the fourth century AD. The findings reveal insights into the earliest monastic gatherings in Egypt over 1,500 years ago.
The Egyptian ministry of tourism and antiquities announced that the discovery of a number of ancient mud brick and basalt stone buildings were found by a Norwegian French archaeological mission working in in Qasr Al-Agouz in Bahariya Oasis. Many of the buildings had Coptic symbols and inscriptions in the walls.
The newly discovered ancient Christian ruins in Egypt. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Ancient Christian Ruins in Egypt
Dr. Victor Ghica, head of mission, announced that the ancient Christian complex is comprised of six sectors containing:
- 19 rock carved chambers
- A church that retains its structure
- Two rock-carved chambers with religious writings on the walls
- The dining hall of a church
- The residence of monks and a number of rooms
- Many pieces of pottery bearing Greek writings
- Cloths carrying Greek writing
The inscriptions on the walls consist of religions texts from the Greek Bible, which reflect the nature of monastic life in the region and refer to the monks’ staying there since the fifth century AD.
Biblical inscriptions on the wall of one of the rock-carved chambers. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Fragment of pottery containing Greek writing. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
Monastic Life in Egypt
The Guardian reports that the remote archaeological site in the desert southwest of Cairo, was occupied from the fourth to eighth centuries, with most of the activity peaking around the fifth century AD.
Christian monasticism first emerged in Egypt at the beginning of the fourth century, beginning with the lift of St Anthony, who organized a kind of monastic life for his disciples around 305 AD. When St. Anthony died (356 or 357 AD), two types of monasticism flourished in Egypt – villages or colonies of hermits, and monasteries in which a community life was led.
The Egyptian Ministry has said that the discovery is very important as it reveals previously unknown information about the planning of early monastic buildings and the formation of the first monastic congregations in Egypt.
Top image: The newly discovered ancient Christian ruins in Egypt. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
By Joanna Gillan