The Monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite dates to the fifth century AD. It was founded over the cave where Saint Paul the Anchorite lived for eighty years. The first travel narrative of the monastery was provided by Antoninus Martyr, a native of Placentia, who visited the tomb of Saint Paul the Anchorite between the years 560 and 570 AD. The first monks to occupy the monastery may have been Melkites, but they were followed by Egyptian and Syrian monks. The Syrians may have had a sustained existence at the monastery, for it appears that they also occupied the monastery during the first half of the fifteenth century, after which their presence disappeared. According to an isolated Ethiopian reference, the 70th Coptic Orthodox Pope, Pope Gabriel II (1131–45 AD), was banished to the monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite for three years.
Like most of Egypt's monasteries, this one suffered repeatedly at the hands of Bedouin tribes. The most destructive of their raids was in 1484 AD, when many of the monastery's monks were killed and the library was put to the torch. The monastery was later rebuilt under the patronage of Pope Gabriel VII of Alexandria (1526–69 AD), who sent ten monks from the Syrian Monastery to populate the monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite. During the second half of the sixteenth century, the monastery was again attacked and ransacked twice by the Bedouins, forcing the monks to finally leave. The monastery remained deserted for the following 119 years, only to be repopulated by a group of monks from the Monastery of Saint Anthony under the patronage of Pope John XVI of Alexandria (1676–1718 AD), who promoted an extensive reconstruction of the monastery in 1701 AD.
Infinite space. A single point traveling through that space, forever, and its experiences along the way.These three basic concepts were symbolized in ancient Egypt by three separate Deities.There is Nut, a blue goddess arched for love, bending over like the night sky. At the core of Nut is found Hadit, a globe with wings, seen in later forms attached to a staff with two intertwined serpents climbing it (the caduceus wand of Mercury/ Hermes/ Thoth). Energizing the devoted ardour of Hadit is Ra Hoor Khuit, the hawk-headed Lord of Force and Fire, who symbolized every possible interaction between the point and infinite space.These deities are primordial forces of nature as well as parts of the psychological makeup of every human being, according to their wisdom. Interesting.Egypt's artifacts pretty much trump everybody else's in the world. You've got the heavy hitters of archaeology here -- the Great Pyramid, (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world); the Sphinx, the statue of Ramses II, and ancient temples left and right!The Basilica of Ptolemy, Chapel of Horus (sun god) and of course, the tomb of King Tutankhamen, and don't forget the Nile river, longest in the world, running through it all.Text by Steve Smith.