World’s oldest Christian monastery gets a remodel

Egypt´s top archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass announced the completion of a major remodel for one of Egypt´s most important archaeological treasures.

The Monastery of St. Anthony is believed to be the oldest surviving Christian monastery in the world, having been built to house the grave of one of the founders of monasticism, St. Anthony, when he died in the year 356. A $14.5 million restoration has fixed many of the monastery’s buildings, including the original fourth century church. Workers also installed a modern sewage system to deal with the estimated million visitors a year who come to worship and to admire the colorful paintings in the churches. These paintings have been painstakingly restored. St. Anthony’s Monastery is one of many interesting sights to see in Egypt besides the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

The monastery is nestled deep in the Red Sea Mountains in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. St. Anthony lived in a cave near here and started to attract followers during his lifetime. Unable to shake these eager followers, he established a rule whereby they could live together but still have an ascetic life. His ideas on monasticism were hugely influential on early Christianity. St. Anthony is one the most important saints for Coptic Christians, who make up ten percent of Egypt’s population.%Gallery-65553%