Saint Onouphrius

The small Chapel of Saint Onouphrius is located in the Valley of Arbain, to the south of the monastery. It is built at the site of massive boulders that converge to form a small natural enclosure beneath them. This provided shelter for ascetics in centuries gone by. ‘They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth’ (Hebrews 11:38).

The chapel is easily overlooked amidst all the stones and boulders in the valley.

These small, humble chapels are pervaded with stillness and spiritual presence. The carved iconostasion is painted in bright colours.

The carved and paneled door is now cracked from exposure to the desert sun. It is being held open by a leaning stick. These make it easier to stand during the long Orthodox services.

A detail of the blue cross painted on the chapel door.

The incense holder? A tin of Huntley and Palmers biscuits.

2 comments to Saint Onouphrius

  • Dominique Baron

    Dear Father Justin,
    I am trying to find the exact location of this hidden chapel.
    In the valley of Arbain or wadi Arbain, there is the Forty Martyrs monastery and close by, the Ramadan’s garden. Both being built near massive boulders like those around St Onophrius. Is the chapel there ?
    Thank you Father Justin.

    • Father Justin

      Since the chapel was built next to large boulders from the local stones, it is camouflaged. To reach it, you must enter the walled enclosure where we have the Church of the Forty Martyrs and so many olive trees. From there, it is a short walk south, in the direction of the village, to the tiny chapel.

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