Desert Monastery opens state of the art Library housing some of the oldest books and manuscripts in the world


Over one thousand years ago two Syrian monks Matthew and Abraham established a Coptic Christian Community in the north east of Egypts’ desert.
Here in the 9th century a library grew containing Gospel manuscripts, various religious texts and theological writings.

Leap forward to May 25th 2013 and a new state of the art Library begun in 2006 will celebrate the continuation of this desert home to priceless manuscripts.

Acclimatised storage conditions, Conservation studios and reading rooms for scholars are housed in a building designed to be in harmony with the original monastery buildings.

Some of the desert Fathers have been trained in Conservation and Preservation Practice both on site and in Conservation Studios of international Museums.

I was privileged to be involved with The Levantine Trust in London who, along with organising training programmes and Conservation seasons at the Monastery, set about raising funds for this huge undertaking.

I will be at the ceremony on Sunday – pictures to follow :)

For more information on the project and the history of Deir al-Surian visit their website.

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About Lucia Scalisi

Conservator of Paintings working in London and on Conservation projects and training abroad. Formerly Senior Conservator of Paintings, Victoria & Albert Museum and BBC1's series 'Restoration Roadshow'. Accredited Conservator; FIIC; Dip Cons; B.Ed.