The Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary, known as Syriac Monastery is regarded as one of the oldest monasteries not only in Egypt, but throughout the Christian world. Its creation dates back to the sixth century. This place is sacred for the visit of the Holy Family in the first century AD.
The monastery houses a collection of rare manuscripts in five languages (Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, Greek and Ethiopian) . So, like the library of the Monastery of Santa Katalina in the Sinai, the Monastery library Syriac enjoys a special position among the libraries and museums of the world and among the research facilities around the world.
The collection of manuscripts from the Monastery of the Syrians is considered one of the oldest and most important collections of manuscripts in the possession of the Coptic Orthodox Church as the oldest dating from the sixth century. It is a tome written on paper in Syriac , and is considered the oldest Christian manuscript worldwide . The manuscript contains texts from the New Testament.
There are also sheets of papyrus manuscripts dating from the eighth century, in which you can read various texts of the Holy Bible in Syriac .
The manuscript of the Gospel of John in Coptic, which is a tome on paper, is considered the oldest complete manuscript of this Gospel in Coptic, in possession of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Dating from the late eleventh century D.C. and is considered the second oldest Coptic gospel around the world , as the oldest manuscript in Coptic Gospel is preserved in the library of Burham , in the U.S., and dates from 889 AD.
The library also maintains the oldest reference in the Coptic Orthodox Church for the consecration of the new church . It is a tome on paper dating from the twelfth century AD and is written in Coptic.
There is also a manuscript with the interpretation of the Holy Gospels in Arabic, in a volume on paper. Data from the beginning of the thirteenth century D.C.
The library also double manuscripts (the same text on the same page, in two languages, as the Coptic and Arabic) . Example of these manuscripts is that of the Psalms of David and the Praises sung by hermits and XIII century. Pope Gabriel III (No. 77) has copied this manuscript, a paper tome. This copy is particularly important because it is the copy that documented the prayers and praises the Institute of Coptic Studies, and from that published the book of the seven daily prayers, known as “Al Agebia " in the sixties of the last century .
There are also many manuscripts that include issues Liturgy, ie ecclesiastical prayers and readings. Or manuscripts that include explanations in more than one language, written in the margin of the pages in Syriac , Greek and Coptic, on written in Arabic, Coptic and Syriac . There Syriac manuscripts that read in Arabic. All this diversity of manuscripts are based, in one way or another , a lot of research and linguistic and literary studies .
The library also has a superb collection of manuscripts with colored illustrations of plants and animals and letters belonging to Coptic art in ecclesiastical writings headers (Coptic letter ornaments (I) , pronounced Yuta : twisted , stained and drawings geometric ) . An example is the manuscript of the New Testament, a tome on paper, written in Coptic dating from the beginning of the thirteenth century . The father and French scientist Le Roix studied some of these manuscripts.
Now they are conducting scientific studies and recording all funds of the library with the latest methods. They take digital photographs of the manuscripts that are treated by computer to clear the images and to restore the original text of the manuscript.
So the library of the Monastery of the Syrians plays an important role and enriches other libraries providing scientific and cultural research, whether Egyptian or foreign researchers in technical fields , linguistic, literary, historical , and Christians in particular.