The Coptic Monastery of St. Paul by the Red Sea grew up around the cave where Paul, the first Christian hermit, lived in solitude. The cave served as a shrine in late antiquity, became a church in the middle ages, and expanded again in the early modern period.
This visually and intellectually exciting book chronicles the history of a series of devotional paintings in the Cave Church. It explores how the monastic community commissioned painting twice in the church in the 13th century, during one of the greatest eras of Coptic art, and how one of the monks painted it again in the 18th century, helping to inaugurate a Coptic renaissance after centuries of decline.
The foundation of this volume is a wall painting conservation project sponsored by the American Research Center in Egypt. The book also sets the art and architecture of the Cave Church in its historical context and examines the role of the Monastery of St. Paul as part of the sacred geography of Christian Egypt through time.