Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced that it had discovered old frescoes and paintings at the church in Anba Bishoi Monastery, Wadi al-Natroun in the Western Desert off the Cairo-Alexandria highway.
The Monastery has been undergoing restoration work since 2015 when it was flooded by torrential rains, an out-of-the-ordinary climatic phenomenon that the monastery was ill-prepared for. The torrential rains back then hit several monasteries in Wadi al-Natroun and caused extensive damage. The consequent restoration has been taking place under the collaboration of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Monastery administration.
The recently discovered wall paintings and architectural elements date back to the period between the 9th and 13th AD centuries, which would help archaeologists determine the original architectural style of the church in addition to stages of its construction throughout the centuries, Mohamed Abdel-Latif, Assistant to the Antiquities Minister said. He explained that the Monastery had undergone several changes in its architecture during the Islamic period. These changes took place particularly in the Abbasid era in 840AD and the Fatimid era in 1069AD.
The newly discovered frescoes depict saints and angels, and include Coptic inscriptions.
One painting on the west wall of the monastery depicts the female saint Refqa (Rebecca) and her five children who were all martyred during the Roman persecution in the fourth century.
6 August 2017