Dayr al-Garnus

Dayr al-Garnus is approximately 10 km west of Ishnin al-Nasara. There we will visit the Church of the Holy Virgin and receive a blessing from the water of the Holy Family well. Tradition says the Holy Family quenched their thirst from it and thus blessed it.

Pilgrims frequently visit the church to drink from this well to get baraka (Blessing in Arabic). The current Church of the Holy Virgin in Dayr al-Garnus, was founded in 1924. It was built on the site of a 17th century church, which in turn was built to take the place of a 7th century church. The iconostasis in the current church of the Holy Virgin dates back to 1591. One can find a beautifully decorated 19th century liturgical book in the church.

Pamphlets from the local church suggest that al-Garnus is a phonetic corruption of the French word Argīnūs meaning “to check; inquire” because of the Nilometer wells designed to measure the water level of the Nile. However it is impossible to  find such a word in the French vocabulary. The closest correlation might be the Italian word Arginos, which has the same notion of checking and measuring.  Moreover, the historic names of the place — Pei-Isus (Coptic) or Bayt Isus/Dayr Bisus (Arabic) literally mean the  “House of Jesus.”

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