St. Macarius descended from the north of Wadi El-Natrun to its far south around the year 360 A.D., when he was sixty years old. After the northern region was crowded with monotheists, and he had built a church for them and left his disciple Paphnutius to manage their lives.
Here, in the south of the valley and on the edge of the rocky surface, he dug for himself a cave with a long basement that ends with another secret cave in which he sought refuge, in order to avoid meeting visitors, because he loved solitude and stillness to the maximum (the monastery finally found the saint’s cave with a basement).
However, soon his students multiplied and gathered in groups and built separate residences called “Manshoubiat”, which is a Coptic word meaning collective or individual housing. They started individually, then their number increased until they became several thousand.
And the only thing that brought them together was the weekly church attendance on Saturdays and Sundays to hear the teaching and partake of the Holy Communion.