St. Anthony & St. Paul’s Monasteries
Red Sea – Egypt
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Egyptian Visa Required
Discover the high & bleak mountain peaks of the Eastern Desert, here amidst the arid red Sea Hills Saint Anthony & Saint Paul cloisters can be found here. These are the oldest Catholic cloisters in Egypt – their origins trace back to the infancy of Christian monasticism, observing rituals that have scarcely changed over sixteen centuries. Highlights include the library which contains a vast body of manuscripts; including the Coptic version of the Divine Liturgy & the Commentary of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to Titus by Saint John Chrysostom, a bakery, a museum dedicated to the history of the site, & the five ancient churches located within the vicinity.
As you approach the first monastery of the day, that of St. Anthony, you will find yourself entering the arid heart of the desert. More than 1,600 years ago, this was the home of the eremite Anthony, who lived in a cave up on a mountain, 680 meters above sea level; a staircase with 1,200 steps leads up to his hollow. The 45 minute walk up the steps is well worth it for the breathtaking views across the Technicolor wadi’s & out to the Red Sea. The cave where Anthony spent his last 25 years contains medieval graffiti & modern scraps of paper bearing supplications inscribed with ‘Remember, Lord, your servant’, which pilgrims stick into cracks in the rock.
After lunch, continue through the rough valley to reach St. Paul’s Monastery, constructed above the cave of the holy St. Paul, a Christian eremite who died in the 4th century A.D. St. Paul of Thebes, was a contemporary of St. Anthony & also abandoned civilization to live in the desert for 85 years. The monastery (Deir Mar Boulos) has four churches & was plundered several times during the 15th & 16th Centuries, but was later repopulated by monks of nearby St. Anthony’s monastery. The church of St. Paul, built underground was originally dug into the cave where the saint lived & where his remains are kept. The monastery has had few alterations, thus keeping its ancient heritage.
Need to have: comfortable shoes and suitable clothes, money & water.
The programme includes
Pick up & Transfer, Lunch, Entrance Fees & Tour Leader.