Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody
The Ragheb Moftah Collection at the Library of Congress
Map Detail: Deserta Ægypti (1700-1750)
This map from the first half of the eighteenth century again shows the dwelling places of the Desert Fathers in Egypt and Thebes at the left as well as the sites of other hermits in Palestine, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula on the right. The details shown here are the Desertum Scetis and the Desertum Nitriae in Egypt. The name of the Scetis Desert may derive from the Greek word askētēs, meaning monk or hermit. In Coptic, it was called Shee-Hyt, meaning balance or measure of the hearts. It was in the Scetis Desert and the Nitrian Desert to the northeast that so many saints lived. Today this valley is still a holy place, Wadi Al-Natrun, where several monasteries are located. This map was engraved by Matthaeus Seutter (1678-1756) after a drawing by Gottfried Rogg (1669-1742). Both artists were from Augsburg. Rogg was a draughtsman and engraver known for his city views. Seutter was a draughtsman, engraver, geographer and art publisher who also engraved coats of arms and portraits. Note that there are several 1995 photographs of Ragheb Moftah at two monasteries in Wadi Al-Natrun -- three taken at the Anba Bishoy Monastery, and one taken at the Anba Macarius Monastery.