Travel Tuesday: Monastery of St Simeon

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Another place on my own made up Travels thru Egypt journey,  Monastery of St. Simeon.

Saint Simeon Monastery was built by a monk during the 7th century and was subsequently dedicated to a 4th-century local saint by the name of Anba Hedra. According to legend, Anba Hedra got married when he was eighteen years old, but on the day of his wedding, he renounced mankind and immediately decided to devote himself to chastity and become an ascetic after witnessing a funeral procession.

Anba Hedra, known today as St. Simeon spent the next seven years doing religious studies under the direction of Saint Baiman. On completion of his studies, Anba Hedra spent the next eight years involved in ascetic practices before finally retiring to the desert so that he could devote his life to studying St. Anthony.

Anba Hedra later moved onto Elephantine Island and began building a monastery. The original structure was built from stone and mud bricks and surrounded by a ten-foot high wall which gave the Saint Simeon Monastery a fortress-like appearance. Records show that the monastery was also rebuilt or at least extended during the 10th century.

By the time work on the monastery was completed in the 10th century, it had provided accommodation for around 300 monks, and it had room for roughly 100 pilgrims. The monks that lived at the monastery would travel into Nubia in groups with the aim of converting Nubians to Christianity. Unfortunately, Saint Simeon Monastery was all but destroyed by Saladin and his forces in 1173, and it was sadly never rebuilt.

F.M. Laster

“I never loved another person the way I loved myself.” – Mae West

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