Monastery of St. Pishoy

Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi El Natrun

The Monastery of Saint Pishoy, located in Wadi El Natrun, Beheira Governorate, Egypt, is a key spiritual center for the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Named after Saint Pishoy, it is renowned for its historical and religious significance. Here’s an overview of the monastery:

Location and Renown

  • Situated as the easternmost of the four current monasteries in Wadi El Natrun.
  • It is the most famous monastery in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Foundation and Ancient History

  • Founded by Saint Pishoy in the 4th century.
  • The remains of Pishoy and Paul of Tammah, originally interred at the Monastery of Pishoy in Deir el-Bersha, were relocated to this monastery in the 9th century.

Modern Developments

  • The monastery houses the relics of Pishoy, Paul of Tammah, and other saints, with Pishoy’s body reportedly remaining incorrupt.
  • Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, who served from 1971 to 2012, is also interred here.

Architectural Highlights

  • Contains five churches, with the main church dedicated to Saint Pishoy. Other churches are dedicated to Mary, Abaskhiron the Soldier, Saint George, and Archangel Michael.
  • Features a protective keep, initially built in the 5th century against Berber attacks, and a modern castle constructed under Pope Shenouda III.

The Well of the Martyrs

  • A historical well where, according to tradition, Berbers washed their swords after killing the Forty Nine Elder Martyrs of Scetes. The martyrs’ bodies were later retrieved and buried in the nearby Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great.

Recent Developments under Pope Shenouda III

  • Expansion and modernization of the monastery including restoration of ancient buildings, construction of new facilities for monks and visitors, and development of agricultural and livestock projects.

Add Your Heading Text HerePopes from the Monastery

    • Notably, Pope Gabriel VIII (1525–1570) and Pope Macarius III (1942–1945) were associated with the Monastery of Saint Pishoy.
    • As of 2015, the bishop and abbot were Sarapamon (Serapis Amon).


The Monastery of Saint Pishoy stands as a symbol of the enduring strength and spiritual depth of the Coptic Orthodox faith. Its rich history, coupled with its ongoing role as a center of monastic life and pilgrimage, makes it a place of great significance for believers and historians alike.

Created On March 25, 2020

Updated On January 25, 2024

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