A Coptic Christian woman carries her child in village of Deir al-Maymun - Egypt Today/Mohsen Allam
CAIRO - 28 April 2017: The village of Deir Al-Maymun is located on the eastern banks of the Nile, around 100 km south of Cairo. It is said that Saint Antony’s asceticism lies at the origins of the village’s founding. Local priests claim that Saint Antony chose to relocate to the village (then called Pespir) in order to isolate himself from the world. There, he spent almost 20 years weaving baskets for a living, before seeking more isolation and moving further into the mountains to the location where the Monastery of Saint Antony is now located.
Today, Deir al-Maymun is still quite isolated and boasts a predominantly Coptic population. Its approximately 500 families, almost all of whom are Christian, make it one of the few almost entirely Christian villages in the country.
Approximately 500 families, almost all of them Coptic, live in the isolated village of Deir al-Maymun
Most men in Deir Al-Maymun work in agriculture or the local quarry.
Wheat being prepared for baking bread in Deir Al-Maymun.
A mother with her baby in Deir Al-Maymun.
The Saint Antony church is at the center of the village, alongside the church of Saint Mercurius, which locals believe to be the oldest church structure in the world.
The Church of Saint Mercurius in the village of Deir al-Maymun served as the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria from 1300 to 1500, and still has its original foundation intact.
The entrance to the Saint Antony church.
A nun in Deir Al-Maymun.
The village of Atfih lies approximately 80 km south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile. There, the local historic church of Deir Al-Rasul (Monastery of the Apostle) can be found. The church is said to house the holy site where Saint Paul the Simple sheltered himself from the outside world in the late 3rd century.