Stele of Apa Shenoute

5th–6th century
Made in Egypt
20 7/8 x 12 3/16 in. (53 x 31 cm)
Credit Line:
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin (4475)
Not on view
Apa Shenoute (346/47–465) was among the most dynamic religious figures in late antique Egypt. Recruited as abbot (apa) of the White Monastery in Sohag when the community included only a few dozen elderly monks, Shenoute oversaw the monastery’s expansion to a population of more than three thousand. He provided a model for monastic communities in Egypt through his reforms and writings and remains a popular figure in the Coptic Church today. The bearded figure, identified in Coptic as "Apa [Father] Shenoute," may commemorate the saint or perhaps a monk sharing his illustrious name.
Inscription: [in Coptic:] Apa [Father] Shenoute
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.