Pope Tawadros II has paid a visit to the monasteries of Wadi al-Natroun in the Western Desert, which were flooded by torrential rains that hit Egypt’s northern regions last week during a spell of exceptionally bad weather. The Wadi Natroun monasteries sustained extensive damages and losses on account of the flooding.
Yesterday, Saturday 7 November, Pope Tawadros visited the four 4th century monasteries in Wadi Natroun: Abu-Maqar’s (StMacarius), Anba Bishoi’s, the Surian (Syrian) monastery of the Holy Virgin, and al-Baramos’s. The Pope was warmly received by the abbots of the respective monasteries, the monks and the workers. He prayed in the monastery churches, visited the shrines, talked to the monks and workers, and inspected the damages.
A report by the Ministry of Antiquities which had sent over a delegation to assess the damages in the monasteries, declared that the dome above the nave in the old church of Surian monastery suffered extensive architectural damage, but it is a dome that has no ornamentation or decorative elements. A portion of the modern wall between the Surian monastery and Anba Bishoi’s caved in. Other than that, the Ministry’s report said, Abu Maqar’s, Anba Bishoi’s, and al-Surian monasteries, walls, keeps, churches and monk cells were intact after pumping out the water. The church of the Holy Virgin at al-Baramos, however, was totally inundated; the water was 1.5m to 3m high in several spots in the monastery. Even though the water was pumped out over some 17 hours, the walls and floor of the church remain wet.
The monks at Anba Bishoi’s said that several of their livestock had died, swept away and drowned under the rainwater. They also complained of losses in their fishery and beehives. They said the heavy rains were unprecedented, and that not much could have been done to avert the damages. Much of the infrastructure of the monasteries: the power, water, and drainage networks, as well as the roads have incurred damages.
8 November 2015