How many students sit for AIATS

The desert fathers of the 20th century

M Q Q d ^
The desert fathers of
20th century
Conversations and experiences

of
Otto F. Meinardus
*

Augustinus-Verlag Wurzburg
Meinardus Otto, S.A .:
The desert fathers of the 20th century:
Talks and experiences /
by Otto F. Meinardus./
Wtirzburg:
Augustitius Publishing House, 1983
ISBN: 3-7613-0126-X

Printing: Benedict-Press, Miinsterschwarzach Abbey


CONTENT

1 Introduction ............................................ ................ 7
2. D a ira lM a im un ......................................... ...... 17
"At the cradle of Christian monasticism"
3. Dair Anbâ A n tu n îu s ........................................ 24
"In the Antonius Monastery -
Encounters with the Western World "
4. Dair Anbâ Bulă ............................................. .. 52
"In the Paulus monastery -
Theologians ask, monks answer ",
5. Dair al Muh arraq ........................................... .... 68
"In the Marien-Kloster -,
An Upper Egyptian pilgrimage site "
6. Dair Anbâ S amw îl ........................................... 92
"In the Samuel Monastery -
With the poorest of the poor "
7. Dair Mări M în â ........................................... ........... 102
"In the Menas Monastery -
Ruins Awakened "
8. Dair Anbâ B ishoi ............................................ ...... 114
"In the Bischoi Monastery -
Interpersonal relationships in the desert "
9. D a ira lB a ra mus ......................................... ......... 132
"In the Baramus Monastery -
Structures of monastic life "
10. D a ira s -S u rîâ n ....................................... ............... 151
"In the Syrian monastery -
A looted treasury "
11. W â d î R ay â n ........................................ ................. 166
"A new generation of hermits"
12. Dair Abu M aq â r .......................................... ........ 179
“In the Makarius Monastery - the monastic one
Renaissance of the Coptic Church "
Initiation

For western Christians, Catholic or Protestant


Confession, is because of our ever more intense
evolving multilayered relationships with the near
An understanding of our fellow believers in the
indispensable to this part of the world. Also the one for the
future of Christianity so crucial dcumenical
Dialogue between the occidental and oriental
Churches not only require us to be open-minded
against the official doctrines, but rather
rather an empathic feeling into the form
and the world of vision of our orientalists
Brothers. At first glance it may seem strange.
that instead of a theological treatise, a
Collection of experiences and conversations with Egyptian
ancient desert monks bring us closer to this goal
could. But I think that especially nowadays not that
different christological statements of the 5th year
a hundred separate us as much as each of our
cultural values ​​and religious preferences
positions. Not so much in theological discussions,
as important as they may be for the dogmatists, son
Changes in common life and experience arise
for us "Franconians" understanding and understanding
bleme.
I have some of my versatile ones in these essays
Experiences with the desert fathers compiled,
to get a glimpse of these so completely alien to us.
to give good piety and our Christian
A new or different dimension.
to deliver. I am aware that the reader will find a number of
of spiritual, intellectual and emotional "leaps
gen ". The Wiist fathers are not alive
only geographically speaking, thousands of kilometers from
away from us, they are people of a culture that is alien to us
turkreises, a biblically oriented, oriental
Understanding of history. The sources of authority for her

7
daily behavior are more or less unrelated to us.
knows. As mid-Europeans, we unconsciously cut the fruit
the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment and
accept the industrial revolution fragile, stand
we are facing people who are none of these four un-
Our society is exposed to formative developments
were. In contrast, we are often helpless when
oriental Christians, and especially the desert mon-
che, in many of their decisions on "the fathers" as
their behavior model. We see that right now
from our side a lot of "Meiien" are still to be put back
must before we are able to find our orientaii-
between brothers not only inteiiektueli, but also emo
ţionai to accept and understand.

For our introduction to the mentality of the Orient


There is hardly a more suitable field of practice for Christianity
as the monastery. You are now once the cradle of the orien
Thai churches, they provide ecclesiastical leadership
layer. It is significant in church history that the
two last Coptic popes Kyrii VF and Schenute
For many years I have loved hermits in Wtistenhohien,
to prepare for her high spiritual office there.
As a result, they have many rich young people
given an example that these days the kiosterii-
and ecclesiastical rebirth is already enjoying its
small fruit. For the first of May in its 1600-year
In terms of history, the Coptic monastery experiences one
Spiritual and spiritual upgrading by joining a
steadily growing number of young academics and
Intellects, through the new approaches to the church
how life will be created in Egypt. Young people
from many parts of the world in the last few years
the Wiistenkloster for contemplation and discussions with the
Fathers sought out in the quiet and loneliness the
To experience encounter with God. More and more men
people recognize the spiritual qualities of the desert, the
has always been a place of examination and encounter with

8
God was, beginning with Abraham, Moses through Eiias,
John the Baptist to Jesus Christ himself.
But also in the area of ​​inter-church relationships
for twenty years the Wiistenkidster have
ne increasing role spieit. Ais meeting point for oku-
menian conversations, away from psychological pressure
and the clashing turmoil of the vast day, ha
Catholic, evangelical and gospel are repeated here
orthodox groups with the spiritual depth of early
Christian piety can deal with.
As has often been the case in its thousand-year history
testifies that the Wiistenkidster places are also nowadays
of spiritual protest, not just against the dangers of
the expansion of the church institutions, but
against the threat from an isiami-
social society.
When in the spring of 1980 the Coptic minority
exposed to public discrimination and objection
saw, responded Pope Schenute III. with a dramatic
and in the history of the Coptic Church
one-time step. At an extraordinary meeting
the Holy Synod, the celebrations for the
previous Easter festival - the most important festival in the
thodox church - to cancel. The Pope and the
members of the Holy Synod, Metropolitans and Bishops
fe, retired to the Wiistenkidster in protest,
where no one could speak to them.
The following records are the result of
many years of personal experience with the kopti
the wiist monks. Have been for over twenty years
I first in Egypt, later from Greece and
Germany from the developments in the Coptic
Monasteries. I've tried that
To understand Wiistenvăter as they are understood
woilen. Of course, I could only partially make my own
Overcoming religious and cultural prejudices. So
I would also like to ask my readers for their understanding
for the spirit that seems so strange to us, especially

9
ders in relation to the power of the demonic. The
The oriental Christian is in constant battle with the
Demons and the bibiically attested evil powers, in
whom he sees an existential threat. This one
STANDING IS NOT COMPARABLE TO OUR COUNTRY
Assessment of the evil that we largely "civilize"
to have. Overcoming the demonic is the pri
mare appeals to the fathers. In this sense, it is also not
It is an exaggeration to claim that the future of
Coptic Church of the Spirituality of the
W ustenvăter is determined. To be as wide as possible
attached spectrum of the religious life and drama
Besides showing, I have one day in eleven different
Locations described. I have a short
to the nine existing Coptic monasteries
give and different accents in each chapter
set and outlined topics in order to present the vieifait of the
life, especially the often contradicting one
appearing dispositions and interests of the
surface to be recorded. My historical and topographical
statements are made to visitors to the monastery
who were aware of this information
Being able to offer access to what has been experienced. For the explanation
some designations and terms have to be added.
to add that the Coptic Patriarch has been ais since ancient times
"Pope" is designated. This is in no way
a claim to primacy asserted. In the western
Church we should recognize that there are two popes, the
of Rome and that of Aiexandria. —The come here
the name for the oriental spiritual
ster, or monk, is Abunâ - "father". A Qummus is
an archimandrite or archpriest. Anbâ is a title
of saints, popes, metropolitans and bishops
stands.
Special recognition goes to Father Coe-
iestin Patock, OS A, who prepared the printing
has played a decisive role. Miss Eike Koch
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for the

10
young iillustrations that give a humble
give them an insight into kidney life.
I hope the following remarks will appeal to the readers
a deeper understanding of the oriental christians
Convey piety that may help us to
to build further bridges over the spiritual chasm that the
The Orient separates from the Occident.

Otto Meinardus

11
12
-2C. ! t ^) t ^ z
Personal names in the following chapters
be mentioned

'A bd ai-Maiik servant of the king


'A bd ai-Masîh Servant of Christ
'Abd ai-Nur servant of the light
'A bd al-Quaddu's servant of the holy
'Abd ai-Shahid servant of the martyr
Abrâm Abraham
Abu Saifain Mercury, Mercury
Abu Tarâbu father of healing
Antunîus Antonius, Anton
Armanîus Armenius
'Azar Lazarus
Bakhum Pachomius
Banîâmîn Benjamin
Barsum son of the fish
Bishâra Good news
Buius Pauius, Paui
Buqtur Viktor
Butrus Petrus, Peter
Damîân Damianus
Dâud David
Diusqurus Dioskor
Farag's solution
FHutâus Philotheus
Girgis Georg
Ghobrîât Gabriei
Habîb friend
Hannâ Johannes, Johann
Ilishâ Elias
Irmia Jeremiah
Isaiah Isaiah
Ishâq Isaac
Iskhirun Iskiron
Istafânus Ştefan
Kiriitus Kyrii
Luqâ Luke
Makârî Makarius
Mattâ Matthăus
Mikhai Michael
Mînâ Menas
Mitias Matthias
Murqus Markus
Musâ Mose
Nihamîâ Nehemiah
Nuâh Noah
Quzman Kosmas
Ramzî Ramses
Rufai Raphae!
Salîb cross
Sama'ân Simeon
Samwîl Samue!
Sarabamun Sarabamon
Shanudah Schenute
Sidarus Sidarus
Sharubîm Seraphim
Tawfîlus Theophiius
Tâdrus Theodore
Yaqub Jacob
Yuâqîm Joachim
Yuhânnâ Johannes
Yuhannis Johannes, Hans
Yustus Justus
Wissa Beza

14
15
DAIR AL MAIMUN

"At the cradle of Christian monastery"

The last rays of the sun disappeared behind them


Peaks of the northern Qalala Mountains, that impressive
full mountain range that can be seen on the horizon,
if you look at the 12 m high walls of Antonius
Klosters ticks into the expanse to the west. As with other
whose days I spent the early evening hours
on the monastery wall. The im stretched in front of me
Evening haze lying in the dark, now and then interrupted
In the case of the desert dogs, the scary-looking 8til-
ie. As long as I was dreaming about the meaning of the
Thinking about the life of the kioster, I heard footsteps. Abunâ
Buqtur, a talkative and open-minded young man
Wiistenvater joined me. We had on this one
Days the customary terms have been used for several
Exercise formulas exchanged, and yet the
Conversation with lengthy "saiams" before letting me in
in every detail his preconceptions about life
and work of the great monk father, St.
nius, tell.
“Two weeks ago, it was a Saturday night, and
it was Voilmond when we went to the old
Toniuskirche, we saw where we are now
hen, Saint Anthony, as he with an oil lamp in
his hand, slowly and carefully, on the monastery
wall went. "The words of the Wiist father were like this
Convincing that at the moment I have no doubt
had in his statements.
“Saint Anthony is always present here, it is
not long ago, as Abunâ Yustus the hand of
St Anthony felt on his shoulder. The experienced
he in the chancel of the Antoniuskirche, as he is a lectionary
wanted to fetch and forgot to open the charge in front of the altar.
to make knee pads. Many fathers have similar ones
Experiences with St.Anthony in our toilet

17
made ster. But not only we, but also the
duinen outside the monastery walls are to Antony
and also the Pautus of Thebes in the immediate vicinity
Encountered the surroundings of our kioster ", assured me
Abunâ Buqtur. "We don't know the exact location
but somewhere around here our good hot was
buried father. Before he goes back to this
drew, he loved in the Niltai. He had pus that
had a lot of land in a coma. Today the place is called Qimn
ai-'Arus and is located at ai-Wasta, north of Beni Suef.
But you look in vain for an Antonius Church.
- His pus died when he was a child. One
That day, in the church, Antony heard the words of Jesus:
'If you have come, go and sell something
you have, and give it to the poor, and you will become a treasure
to have in Heaven; and come and follow me '(Mt
19.21). He followed this instruction and sold his
Inheritance and distribute the proceeds to the poor, only the no-
he does best for his and his sister's business
hait. A few weeks later he heard from one of them
Priest the words of the Lord: 'Therefore do not worry about him
another morning, because tomorrow will be for that
no worries. It is enough that each day has its own
ne Piage haben '(Mt 6:34). Then he sent his
Sister, so that she and other women
live a docile life. Our Antonius loved himself in one
Hohie down on the east bank of the Nile near Pispir. "
I was startled because I did not know the place name. -
“Pispir, today the village is called Dair ai-Maimun. From there
there is a slope through the Wiiste to the Kioster. Still
a few years ago it was just a camel trail, however
For some time now it has been a passable desert path, because
the trucks that provide us with food every month
worry, use this runway. "" And why did A n
Tonius then back into this impassable desert? "wished
I know. "Well, aiizu vieie FeHachen, but also urban
ter came to hear his advice and healed of him
to become; and to help people, yes, the world

18
flee, he chose the inner desert, up there on the mountain
slope."
Abunâ Buqtur turned and pointed in the direction
the Hohie, which is 280 m above the monastery in the
is massive. “Unfortunately we can't get to the Hohie from here
realize, but there he lived for many years. And here,
as one would expect otherwise, settled
his youngsters on. It acted like a magnet and pulled them
Seekers. So it came about that he was nothing else
wanted as only God, as silence and secrecy, to
accidentally saw people surrounded again. And so
it also happened that its effectiveness expanded
and profound influence on the design of the church
life of his time. "
As I carefully walked over the crumbling steps of the toilet
When I went down to the monastery garden, I had it
Make up your mind, Dair al-Maimun, the old Coptic Pi
spir to seek out. Back in Cairo, I asked mine
Friend, the Jesuit Father Jacques Mason, followed with me
Dair al-Maimun to drive.
I met early on a day off from school
Jacques in front of the Coptic Catholic Seminary
St. Leo on 15th Street in Maadi, the southern villa
suburb of Cairo. In this seminary the
young Egyptian theology students for their service
trained in the Coptic Catholic Church, and
Jacques was professor of liturgy and canonical here
Law. Over the years we had a
real friendship formed, not least because of our
res common interest, the depths of the Egyptian
Piety, especially popular piety,
to get to know.
With my VW beetle we drove on the eastern bank of the Nile
in a southerly direction at the Tura mountain range
at to Helwân. “Do you remember, on the mountain ranges
from Tura we would have been in jail by a hair's breadth.
lands if we couldn't have run so fast. "
Jacques reminded me of our trips to the toilet

19
sterruin of St. Arsenius, the teacher of the Byzantine
niche emperor's son Maximus and Domitius. Ignorant
we were almost at a distance during our explorations.
Iitarian aniages penetrated as guards
surprised and dismissed.
After a few kitometers we reached the village of Ma'sa-
ra with its church in a palm grove, the
consecrated to holy Barsum to the naked. "This is
one of the few central Coptic Heili
gen ", taught me Jacques." He lived at the beginning of the 14th
Century in the crypt of the Merkuriuskirche in Old
Cairo along with a snake, and, to special
to be holy, he emulated Saint Onuphrius,
who also renounced the material world and went through naked
the desert went. Barsum was finally arrested
and exiled here to M a'sara, where he spent the last few years
spent his life on a hillside. "-" And
today every year on September 27th, for the Na-
day of the saint, thousands of Caireans after
M a'sara to baptize their children and their sons from him
To have local barbers circumcised, "I was able to report.
th.
After a good two hour drive, we had back 110 km.
we reached the village of Kuraimat. From here went
10 km further on a desert road until
we built the houses made of dried Nile mud
ser of Dair al-Maimun saw before us. It seemed like it did
the villagers have never met a stranger
we were asked by the curious Fellach
is amazed. We didn't know what to expect either
th.
The Armenian church historian Abu Sâlih described
his impressions in the 13th century with the following words
ten: “The monastery stands on the bank of the Nile. Next to it is
the monastery tower, a garden, a mill and a cellar
ter, there are thirty monks living there. "- Still in the 19th year
hundred the monastery was inhabited, because the Austrian
cal scientist Joseph Russegger reported

20
1836, that a strikingly large number of geese in peaceful
lived in harmony with the monks.
I leave the car at the entrance to the village. A crowd
children who were young and barefoot surrounded us, those of
a village chief with swearing and a
Kntippel was expelled. We passed through one
idyllic palm grove and became the local priest,
Abunâ Mikhâîi 'Abd ai-Malik, led. "We are on
the search for the aiten Antoniushohie ", explained Jac-
ques in fluent Arabic. The gray-bearded Abunâ
I invited us to his apartment, where we first met his father
and then were presented to his son.
“For four hundred years the priests have come from
Dair al-Maimun from our family. I have from my-
took over the priesthood from a father, and Hantra,
my son, learned it from me. "I asked if his
Son did not attend the theological college in Cairo
have. With a mischievous smile, the lovely
malignant village priests and drew his bushy ones
Raised eyebrows, which meant "no".
"The young people who come back to the countryside from Cairo
men are no longer of any use. They have their beliefs
lost, they have forgotten how to heal the sick and
to drive out evil spirits; they can do better
read and write, but for the kingdom of God they are
lost. When Jesus called his twelve Jlingers to him, he gave
give them authority over the unclean spirits that they
who drove out and healed all sickness and all ailments
chen '(Mt 10.1). How many priests still do that today-
ge? ”Jacques nodded his head as he saw the massive
Objections of this practitioner against the academic
received theological training.
After a short while the priest's wife appeared
with three glasses of tea and a plate with biscuits
and candies. "We have two churches," explained
Abunâ Mikhâîi. “The old Antoniuskirche, and soon
next door a new church, the Abu Saifain, the holy one
Mercury, is consecrated. "Jacques urged that the Antonius

21
church, but Abunâ Mikhâîi insisted
on to us first the somewhat ambiguous story
to communicate about the establishment of the Church.
"The governor of Itfih, whose only son died
was ben, brought in deep sadness, as it was iibi, the
Body of his son in honor of St. Anthony.
After a short time, Antonius called out to his disciples.
together to pray with them. Big was the surprise
as the son of the governor in the liturgical
sang joined in. He had awakened from the death chiaf! As
When his mother heard about it, she began to be very happy
iaiien, but Antony decreed: 'May your tongue
se! t be ', and so she lived her life in silence for a long time. Ais point
thanking him for this miracle that the Father
ter after the death of St. Anthony this church
to build."
Jacques and I examined the architecture and
the church in the hope of early Christian do-
documentation. In the south nave was tatsăchiich
a hollow that was covered with a wooden door.
We love to go into the dark, evil-smelling depths with
Schiampe and MeBband down. The 2 m deep Hohie
was 1.75 m long and 80 cm wide. Was it dead cats
Pigeons or feathers we stepped on? At the same time
We felt a crab leg and itch all over our body.
per, and we longed for this as snowy as possible
creepy place to leave. I said to Jacques that 8
This Hohie was once a pharaonic burial chamber
that Antonius had withdrawn into.
This made sense to both of us, because in hundreds, if
not in thousands of faiies, had christiiche
Hermits in the Niitai in the burial chambers of their aităgypti-
nested in the forefathers.
“Our father Antonius gave here many years before
he withdrew to the inner desert, "remarked Abunâ
Mikhai. “This is Christian soil and our place is
a Christian village like you can find anywhere else in Egypt
not found. Only the policemen are musieme. "

22
In the meantime, Jacques and I felt such a discomfort.
on the body that we were looking for an excuse to protect ourselves
to make a decision as quickly as possible. Were covered
the two of us, our shirts and pants, of an innumerable number
of fleas that caught us in the Antoniushohie-
We weren't new to Egyptian villages.
far away, but such a mass attack from this
We hadn't yet gotten rid of goats. A few kilometers
outside of the village in the desert, we withdrew
out, but the disaster had already happened: the little ones
black knight had got stuck in the car poister
puts. This is how Dair al-Maimun became the village of the Fiohe!
On the way back to Cairo I told my boy
suite friend of the multi-sided meaning of the un-
Ziefers in oriental piety: “Before some
Years ago I visited Abunâ Antunîus in his hermit
hollow in Wâdî ai-Faregh. Ais me him on a little
Scorpio drew attention to the one under a stone
iag, the hermit told me: 'A monk sees in ai-
in God's living creature, and so also in Fiohen,
Bugs, scorpions and snakes. The presence
only human confidence can trust these creatures
to affirm God. The animals and the western fathers
very much in common, hunger and thirst, the
Heat and cold. Think of the Aitfather Eze-
kiei from Armant, who one day from a scorpion
was stabbed and a warning in his pain
saw before suffering in the Hoiie! ' —Goethe already had
right as he said: 'The fiohe and the bugs belong
also to the whole '! "

23
DAÎR ANBÂ ANTtJNÎUS

"In the Antonius-KIoster -
Encounter with the western world "

In the heart of the sprawling Antonius Monastery, incessant


due between two-story buildings, is not far
of the defense tower the old Antoniuskirche. One sees that
Generations of desert fathers prayed and celebrated here
have been. T he heavy oriental incense, which at
adheres to the walls and the altar and choir barriers,
Makes you feel that you are entering another world
Has. In this architectural and iconographic
The thousand-year history is not reflected in any way
of the monastery. The exact date the church was built is
Neither delivered to us from written sources, nor
can we determine an exact time due to the architecture
make information. The monks often follow me
asked my opinion. “In every case this church is
the oldest part of the monastery and already many existed
Centuries before the Bedouin attack on the monastery
in the 15. century. The building could be built for the 8th
or 9th century. "Three times a week,
during the winter months from November to April, am
Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, gather here
the fathers of St.Anthony for the Eucharistic celebration
he.
The threatening church bells that ring at 3:30 a.m.
Monks at the dawn and subsequent Eucharistic
when I woke up at the party, I had heard it half asleep.
men, but fell asleep again. At 6 o'clock, when
the first flies settled on my face and around
my head was buzzing, it was the night before
over. Four days ago the monks gave me the bishop
allocated rooms of the guest house, in the "palace",
as the monks used to call the building. The
Deuxieme Empire style bed made a difference
Just get by from the rest of the sleeping arrangements

24
the slightly softer mattress. The walls were
framed with a golden border but broken
A mirror, two coat hooks, one enlarged
Photo of Bishop Ghobrîâl and some cheap saints
decorated gene pictures. A table with a crocheted
Doilies stuck, and two wicker chairs, served as Mo
biliar.
After I — according to monastic custom — in the kitchen
Had moistened my face and hands, I went through it
the narrow monastery streets, accompanied by two permanent
meowing cats, to church and elite me too
Abunâ Sharubîm, with whom I have been very interesting
Had had conversations. I was still in time for
Blessings appeared. With arms outstretched and that
Cross in hand spoke Abunâ Butrus, who the
Had shown the Eucharist, the blessing prayer: "O God,
save your voik and bless your inheritance. . . O Christ,
our God, King of Peace, give us your peace,
strengthen us in your peace! Yours is the power that marriage
re, the blessing and the power in near eternity. "After the
Blessings all the monks raised their blinds and prayed
together. With the words: “The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with you, go in peace, "concluded
the church service.
Abunâ Butrus had not yet spoken the last words
spoke when Abunâ Sharubîm whispered to me: “We
meet us in 10 minutes at the Kiostertor. I notify
tell the gatekeeper to open the monastery gate. "
Two days ago we both made the decision
because of the heat as soon as possible after the god
service to leave the monastery and to the Antonius cave
to rock up. "Abunâ Luqâ, Abunâ Luqâ!" Shouted
it by the kioster. We waited over half an hour
de, until the gatekeeper, who is not bound by time,
struggled to open the heavy gate for us. In front
Three crouched in black robes crouched by the gate
Bedouin women, two of whom were breastfeeding their children.
Face, hands and feet were veiled, and only

25
the full breasts that were covered with fies
small faces pressed against each other were recognizable.
As we approached Mount Clysma, we taught
the young Sharubîm killed me about the former
ienleben in Wâdî 'Arabah: "It wasn't that long ago
that French archaeologists suggest a number of holy words
discovered these mountain slopes and in this Wâdî
ben. That means that numerous monks
never settled in the area. From ours
We know Antony that he is in a natural hollow
retreated on the mountain slope, which was not drawn in by the
to escape the many visitors
who followed him into the desert. Here at the foot of the mountain
not far from the source, his Jîinger fruit
and Gemtisegârten, because we also know that
they fed him in his Hohie. "We followed one
Trampei path that rose slightly behind the monastery wall
and led into the mountain range.
As soon as I left the monastery, the many were there
Crows were noticed, creaking their circles over us
moved, and I asked my companion: "Where do you
Are these many birds? "Abunâ Sharubîm told me
then the story of the “Secret of the Kră
hen ":" Many years ago a small wooden
Bowl decorated with two carved crows,
designed by one of our monks from the Paulus monastery
turned and brought to our monastery. When he was with this
Souvenir entered our monastery, watched the Mon
che, like all crows that have been in our monastery for years
had nested, facing south to the Paulus toilet
emigrated. The monks of the Paulus monastery wa
angry because they fell away from the swarms of these useless
This bird felt threatened and asked for it to be done immediately
Return of the magic device. The monks of our loo
sters granted the request, and the birds returned up
back on two to the Antonius Monastery. If you do that
Visiting Paul Monastery, you will see the two crows
see there. "" And what happens when the crows Jun-

26
I asked. "Then two young birds stay
in the Pauius monastery and the Aites join ours
Crow."
The steep ascent, may over smaller ones, may over larger ones
Boulders became more and more arduous until we got one
small plateau marked by a pile of stones
were enough. We entered one of the rocks and
Geroii enclosed space. "These are the kiăgli-
small remains of the Hohie, in which Pauius the One-One
loved. He was with a pretty, but degenerate
Married women who abandoned him and
had turned towards the man. As him in adultery
surprised, he thanked his heavenly father and
said: 'That's good, she really isn't my lady.
In the name of Jesus I will never take her to me again
I'm going to be Monch '", Abunâ Sharubîm told me and
continued: “This abstinence decision could
not to have pleased him particularly badly because he was
It had been over 80 years before he caught it. Also the holy one
Antony voiced his concerns, such a good man
ais Monch, and he advised him again, in
to return to his village. But the aged Pauius
stood on his decision, and after a fourth
When he was fasting, Saint Anthony turned to him: 'You-
hey, you've become a monk, now love in full
deep solitude, that you may all temptations of Satan
experience '. In his hermitage he received the au-
Customary gifts of the wonderful sick
and exorcism, which even did the deeds of his
still surpassed the great master Antonius. "
As a precaution, Abunâ Sharubîm had prepared a
fiiiite Feidfiasche and offered me one
Look for refreshment. After another hold
Hour of climbing we reached a small terrace, from
where we have an overwhelming view of the vastness
Enjoyed the plains of the desert-like Wâdî 'A rabah.
We were 680 m above sea level and
276 m above the monastery that we received from the Hohienein-

27
walk out but couldn't see. ,, So up here
St. Anthony brought many hours in prayer
Fencing of paimenbiătter baskets and mats ", said
I. - “Let's go to the Hohie; the Tunnei is
about 13 m long, but not passable for strong men.
bar, because on some of the stones it is only 40 cm wide ", warn-
te me my young, treacherous companion by telling me
looked up and down.
We groped our way with flashlights and candles
the narrow and dark corridor until we are deep in Feisen
The lying Hohie advanced. At the end of the corridor
We tended and slid down a 2 m deep slope
and reached an oval, 6 m long and 2 m wide
Space, the real Hohie, in which St. Anthony
has spent many decades. In the eastern log-in
tung, a wooden table served as an altar, and the one with a
Raffia mat was covered and on which the usual box
shaped shrine for the Eucharistic
răte stood. Candles that we put on the table donate
provided the necessary light. On the south face of the Hohie
te me Abunâ Sharubîm several medieval graffiti
ti. With the help of the flashlight I could find the name
"Fr. Bernadus 1626 "." We celebrate here every year
on January 30th the Eucharist in honor of our monastery
griinders, we often stay here all day
upstairs ", the young monk explained to me." So here I had
the Christian monastery has its origin ", come-
I said, "It's unfortunate that there! 3 so few
People are aware of spiritual and cultural influence
aware of this movement. Where would we be in the west
civilization, if the monks do not give us the cultural
real legacy over the dark centuries of the early
Would have preserved through the Middle Ages? The name of the holy
gen Antonius was very quickly introduced to a new
lifestyle, of which there are thousands
and thousands upon thousands promised eternal salvation.
Saint Macarius met Antony twice and withdrew
then to the Sketic desert between Cairo and Al-

28
exandrien back, where he gathered many young people around him.
Saint Amon in the Nitrian desert received his
Inspiration from Saint Anthony, and so it happened
also with the holy Hilarion of Gaza, that of Anto
nius converted, the founder of the Palestinian
Monasticism became. A few years after his death,
that the doctrine and way of life of the great monks
father of whole armies of young men and women in
realized in all the provinces of the Roman Empire, and
this deeply religious movement had here in this Hohie
Their origin!"
Abunâ Sharubîm was silent for a while, then he said:
“In our Christian piety the hollow has
a very special sense. It is the place of revelation
tion of our God, creation and salvation.
It is the crevice and reminds us of the mother
schoB, in which the fertilization of the
human earth through the divine heaven
happens. The prophet Elias heard the voice of God in
the Hohie on Sinai (1 kg 19). Our Savior
looked at the light of the world in a Hohie at Bethlehem,
and after his death on the cross his body was turned into a
Cave grave laid. In a Hohie on the island of Patmos
St. John received the secret revelation.
From the Hohie arises life and eternal life. In
the height of the womb we become human
in the highlands of these mountains our holy A n recognized
tonius his true humanity. "After a while
recited Abunâ Sharubîm from the 51st BuBpsalm, then
if we said the Lord's Prayer together, we canceled them
Candles crawled through the narrow corridor and passed
us on the terrace. The descent seemed essential to us
lighter. "But just wait," warned me
Monch, "Tonight you will be every single wa-
get to feel the muscle. "
As we approached the pile of rubble in the Paulus cave
and saw the monastery walls below us, stopped Abunâ
Sharubîm suddenly. "Do you hear anything?" He asked

29
me. "No, I'm sorry, I don't hear anything," was mine
Answer. "Your ears are so close to the loud roar
lives that you hear the soft voices and the fine noises
can no longer perceive; listen
not the engine noise? I hear that very clearly
that's several cars, "prophesied Sharubîm.
"Truly, you are right, I see the clouds of dust,
they are slowly moving towards the monastery. "
When we reached the monastery gate, we recognized five
Wagons, two large American and three smaller European
ropaic cars. “Now you get more
Visit, "I said." We'll have to see how we all do
accommodate. You can help us with this ",
said the monk. The Bedouin family in front of the toilet
stertor meanwhile had five women and six
young girls enlarged. The ones still unveiled
young girls played in the Wiistensand, a woman
still nourished her child, or already again, and two
of the older women shyly drew their veils
something to the side to watch the approaching wagons
th.

Abunâ Sharubîm pulled the long bell rope that


to the right of the monastery gate. He rang once
twice and the gate opened. One had
also heard the engine noise in the monastery, and
so three monks appeared to greet the visitors.
Ben Two amerika got out of the first two cars
niche families. "My name is Wilson, John Wilson,
and this is my Miss Betty, "said a tall
A young boy dressed in a khaki shirt and pants
Man. “I'm Jim Clark, these are Jonathan, Mary and
Kathy. "" Welcome, Abunâ Sharubîm is
my name, excuse me, we have just returned from that
Antoniushohle come back. "-" You can come with me
Drive your car through the monastery gate, please
careful, don't hit them with your exhaust
One of the monks warned.

30
31
Meanwhile the other three cars stopped in front of the
Monastery wall. An English couple, a German
The family and two young Dutchmen got out of theirs
Volkswagen. "An international company," said
Abunâ Bulus, who acted as guest father and the visitors
cher in their rooms in the "palace". The two
Monastery servants carried suitcases, bags, sleeping bags,
Film equipment, cardboard boxes with food and water
canister on the balcony. Relieved without incident
Having achieved their goal, the guests in the “Pa
lay down. Abunâ Hannâ and Abunâ Tâdrus welcome
the male guests shook hands. When the
Hired women to greet them, the Wiistenvă
down the right arm of her robe and
They girdled with covered hands so that the feminine
Meat did not touch them. Betty Wilson and Kathy Clark
accepted this form of greeting without objection,
only Frâu von Grabow, the wife of a German
industry representative, turned to me questioningly: “Mine
the monks maybe, I have the plague? "-" Definitely
not, my gracious lady, the fathers don't care about that
Case in point, you are in the eyes of the
Monche a daughter of Eve and. . . I tried it
who is dressed a little too sporty for a monastery visit-
to explain the ten lady. "So you mean?" She asked
what embarrassed. "Yes, I mean that." She buttoned her trans
parente blouse up to the neck and disappeared on the
Toilet. I withdrew to her comment
the visit of the rather primitive and not particularly sa-
to escape nităren Hăuschens. In the episcopal room
A second bed was placed, and Karl, a young one
Dutch diplomat, moved in with me.
After the usual noon rest, the Harri-
sons, the English couple, whether I would be ready to
To tell a group about the monastery. I asked
my friend Sharubîm to come to us because he
knew many stories that were not really
the history of the monastery.

32
"The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is un-