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Christianity in Egypt: Shenute

The exact birth date of Shenute is not known. The following dates are given in ancient literature: 332/350 to 451/466 - all authors agree that he died aged 118 years. He was born near Akhmim, and in about AD 370 became monk under his uncle Pgol, who had founded the 'White monastery' near Sohag. After the death of his uncle, Shenute became abbot of the monastery. The life of Shenute is well documented by letters and biographies. The Copts honour him as a saint and as the Father of the Coptic Church. He is also known as the foremost original writer in the Coptic language.

Shenute tightened the rules of monastic life. In the 'White monastery' two monks always shared one cell. About 2200 monks and 1800 nuns lived there. There were also many subsidiary monasteries.


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