The 1,700-year-old Christian monastery hidden deep in Egypt's desert





On the day when much of the world was marking Christmas, I traveled with friends to a remote location deep in the Eastern desert in Egypt. Nestled in an oasis within the Red Sea Mountains is one of the world's oldest inhabited monasteries: The Coptic Orthodox St. Anthony's Monastery.

Festivities here were still some ways off; Christmas in the Eastern Orthodox tradition falls 13 days after the western one.

The founders of this monastery were disciples of St. Anthony the Great, widely considered to be the Father of Monasticism because he initiated Christian monastic life as we have come to understand it today.

Our guide was Father Ruwais Antony who helped us understand how this 4th century monastery made Egypt the origin for a movement that spread throughout Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia and ultimately Europe....



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