Wadie El Natrun Symposium | El Baramous Monastery


Saint Baramous is the northernmost monastery in Wadi al-Natrun. Wadi al-Natrun ("the valley of natron") is a desert depression 50 kilometers long located about 90 kilometers northwest of Cairo. Wadi al-Natrun is the most important monastic center in Egypt.

The Arabic name "Baramous" is derived from the Coptic word "Pa-Romeos", "that of the Romans". Maximus and Domitius, Roman saints and children of the Roman emperor Valentinian, lived and died in a cell in Scetis in the days of Saint Macarius. Saint Macarius ordered the building of a church in their memory, which was named the "Cell of the Romans" and became the center of the monastic settlement there.

The current monastery was founded on a site near the Old Baramous Monastery where the oldest monastic community of Wadi al-Natrun once stood. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Baramous and was probably founded in the late sixth century.

The monastery has the oldest church still in existence in Wadi al-Natrun, the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary. This church was built at the end of the sixth/the beginning of the seventh century. To the north of the Church lies the keep, also called al-Qasr. It is the oldest keep, or fortress, in Wadi al-Natrun and probably dates from the ninth century.