Minnesota in Egypt

The Church of the White Monastery
(Monastery of St.Shenute, near Sohag, Egypt)
Interior: architecture, sculpture, painting

return to White Monastery, site map or introductory page

apse painting, or more details

March 2012: more will be added on he truncation of this church

Remains of Shenute's walls and, in the center, the more recent west wall of the present church before it was covered with plaster.


Doorway into present church, seen at center of picture on the left (McNally 1992)

Detail of Monneret' s plan of the original church, cropped to show the approximate area enclosed by the wall in the images at the at left. Part of the nave became a khurus for the truncated church.

The trefoil was frequently used in Early Christian architectre: Dale Kinney has recently looked at its use in connection with its appearance at the White Monastery.

Interior of present church (Drawing). Shenute's basilican church ended in a trefoil arrangement of three lobes.

Above, the eastern and northern lobes. Columns and niches are original. The screen and stand for liturgical books came later.

Main Apse (East lobe)

Fifth century architecture, medieval painting of Christ in half dome, modern church furnishings.

Side lobe,
showing design used in all three: Niches between columns on ground level and in middle register, semidome at top.

Much stone work survived the fire, some displaced pieces were reused, and some replacement occured.

See also
Easter Mass in the White Monastery
The photograph at this link can be rotated to show the interior in all directions
and show the pattern for use of the church by monks and laity.