Ancient Dining room
The ancient dining room is a rectangular hall measuring 14 meters in length and about four meters in width. It is located west of the ancient church. In the dining room, on the eastern side, there is a sickle made of white stone in the shape of the letter Y, where the abbot of the monastery stood in front of it to read from the book of the monks’ orchard until everyone finished eating, and the table itself is made of stone.
This dining room dates back to the ninth century AD, and its walls were previously decorated with fresco drawings, but they are no longer exist today. The stone table was divided into three sections, between one section and the other, about 15 cm long, with a slight protrusion. The seating at this table from east to west: the elders, then the middle ones in monasticism, then the new monks.
The two Minarets
The monastery has two tall minarets that are famous landmarks of the monastery. They are located at the entrance to the northern park. We find that the western minaret (15.80 meters) is larger than the eastern minaret (15.10 meters) and it was built in 1923 AD by Anba Thomas, the late Metropolitan of Minya – one of the monks of the monastery.
A large bell was hung on each one with the names of the four evangelists (Matthew – Mark – Luke – John) in the Russian language.
These two minarets were restored and painted in 1981, and the last restoration was in 1997.
The feeding room is a room at the top of the northern door of the monastery in which some bread and water are kept for any passerby who doesn’t need to enter the monastery. The supplies are delivered through an opening in its floor, by means of a small basket hanging from a rope.
Gypsum Grinder and Oven
Next to the stairs leading to the feeding room, there is an oven for burning gypsum, in the form of a small well made of red bricks.
From the Southern side there is a gypsum mill; a room with a large stone that rotates on a base surrounded by a low wall to preserve the gypsum when it is ground.
The Palace was built by Pope Yoannis the nineteenth in 1911 AD, and it is in the middle of the monastery from the southern side. It was built of two floors, and it has bedrooms, reception halls and a dining room, which made it fit to receive senior visitors,as bishops and clergy, and the Pope himself used to stay in it when visiting the monastery.
A foreign visitor who visited the monastery in 1920 AD described it as a semi-European style building at the time.
The second floor was removed in 1978 AD after it was damaged, and the building became only one floor, but later it was restored in 2007 AD to return to its first two-storey era.
Old Monks’ Cells
In the monastery, there are a group of cells that adjoin the archaeological wall from the inside, and these cells differ from each other in antiquity. In the year 1923 AD, a cell was built for the monastic fathers next to the two minarets at the expense of the late Anba Thomas, Metropolitan of Minya.
In 1960 AD, Anba Makarios, the deceased abbot of the monastery, built more cells in the western side, next to the western wall of the monastery.
In the seventies of the last century, the group of cells adjacent to the eastern wall was cracked and demolished, and new four individual cells were built in modern style instead of the old ones.
Tafous is a Greek word meaning “tomb” or “cemetery.” This word is prevalent in monasteries and is said about the burial of the monks and is located in the corner beside the southern monastery wall.
The cemetery was small until 1932 AD, when the monastery built another one beside the first, then a third was built in 1990 AD, and the fourth was built in the second decade of this century.
The Old Oven
Until 1894, the monastery used a bakery located behind the Palace, that worked with wood. Than a new one was built on the far western side of the old monastery and south of the archaeological church, and it was working with coal until the sixties of the last century, then replaced by natural gas.
The first to install a pump to extract potable water was Pope Yoannis the nineteenth in 1914 AD. His Holiness also installed a new machine in 1931 AD that was suitable for irrigation, grain grinding and electricity generation. After that, the fathers and officials in the monastery took care of maintaining this machinery until the reign of Anba Makarios, the late Bishop of the monastery, who renewed it in the year 1956 m and built a tank with a height of 11 meters with a capacity of 12 cubic meters.
In the summer of 1992, this tank was removed and replaced by a new one in its place, with a height of 14.5 meters and a capacity of 30 cubic meters. And from it, water was connected to the facilities of the old ancient monastery.
The old library is located on above the northern sanctuary of the Church of St. John the Baptist and is adjacent to the old monastery wall. It is considered one of the most valuable libraries in the monasteries, and the credit for this great heritage goes back to Father Abdel-Masih Salib Al-Masoudi Al-Barmoussi, who took care of it, organized it and added to it, and put many of his important notes on many of its books and manuscripts.
The ruins of Anba Musa Al-Aswad Monastery
The ruins of the monastery of Anba Musa Al-Aswad is located to the northeast of the current Monastery of Our Lady of Barmus.
These ruins became clear when a man of the French Campaign visited this area in 1799 AD. He even estimated the demolished buildings outside the monastery wall at about ten or twelve buildings, including the Church of Maximus and Domadeus and the cave of Anba Musa Al-Aswad.
In 1935, Prince Omar Tosson identified the speculated place after its features had completely disappeared, and he set up a monument of reinforced concrete on the ruins of this ruined monastery in the form of the Coptic letter P, perhaps meaning the first letter of the word meaning strong. We do not know exactly when this monastery was destroyed, except that it was mentioned in the biography of Pope Benjamin 82 (1327-1339) that the Pope visited it after making the holy Chrism. Thus, it remained in existence until the fourteenth century at least.
In the year 1994 AD, excavations were carried out under the auspices of the Netherlands Institute of Archeology and Arab Studies in Cairo, in cooperation with the Department of Archeology and Art History of Leiden University in the Netherlands, under the supervision of Dr. Karl Anime, and from working in the region in 1996-1997, the following became clear:
There was a form of social stability there from the 5th century at least, based on the pottery remains that have been examined.
In the fourth and fifth centuries, this place was not a monastery in the sense now understood, but it was an assembly of some cells.
Antiquities were found among which where copper coins, copper lamps, copper plates with inscription of a monk in a prayer position, pottery vessels, glass jugs, pottery cups, a wooden spoon, copper lamps, pottery, and an ancient sacrificial seal.
Children of the Kings Hill
At a distance of about 4 km northeast of the monastery there is a high hill called “Jabal” or “the hill of the kings”, refering to Saints Maximus and Domadeus. and geographically there are indeed lakes close to the hill of the children of the kings, and one of them is known as (Lake of the Kings) also, one of these lakes had natural fresh water flowing out of it.