Conservation of sanctuary door


Conservation program for the doors to the sanctuary

and the doors to the khurus

In the chuch Al Adra in Deir As Surian



The doors consist of two triple leaves panelled doors held by a wooden frame. Each leaf contains seven panels with ivory inlay. The leaves are joined by tenons blocked with wooden pins. The main material is cedar while the panels and marquetry are made of padouk. The brass hinges are cylindrical knuckled together and secured by iron pins.

Causes of damage

The doors are in use from Xth century in their original location. The wooden joints and hinges sockets were not precisely done and it caused the misplacement of elements and wearing of wood and metal.  The geometry of the doors was then affected and the lower part of the doors was damaged. The threshold is broken and half part is missing, therefore is no support for the door leaves. Most of the wooden pin locks have been replaced in the past and the rest is missing. The unblocked door moves under human pressure and causes stress and cracking of particular elements. The surface is scratched, dirty and over painted. Dust has blocked panels causing stress and cracking. There are many loses of the ivory inlay due to the degradation of the binder and vandalism.

Conservation program

-    Removal of later additions which cause damage to the door
-    Removal of later additions aesthetically unacceptable
-    Hinges repair
-    Preparation of the hinges sockets and montage
-    Restore the geometry of the leaves (to rectangle)
-    Restore of the original dimension of the ID leave (shortened in the past)
-    Cleaning of wooden surface
-    Cleaning of the ivory surface
-    Consolidation of the ivory inlay
-    Reconstruction of gaps in the wood and marquetry
-    Reconstruction of wooden bolts (to close the leaves)
-    Reconstruction of the ivory inlay in the geometrical panels
-    Reconstruction of the ivory inlay in the figurative panels to the state published by Evelyn White in 1920
-    Infiling of missing putty of the inlayed panels
-    Making new designed rings to lock the doors (instead of the provisory additions)
-    Colour unification
-     Protection layer to wooden surface
-    Protection layer to ivory surface


Video for conservation of the sanctuary door