Building the New Library 2007-2013

In June 2007, the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt granted planning permission to the Monastic Council of Deir al-Surian to construct new library building within the ancient walls of the compound, to house the collection in a controlled environment.   

The purpose of the new library building was not just to ensure the permanent survival of the collection, but also to facilitate greatly improved conditions, while ensuring that the manuscripts did not suffer as a result of improved access. Accordingly, the Monastic Council agreed to the construction of a new building, within the grounds of the monastery compound, to house the entire collection and conservation activities. It was to provide a world-class storage facility for the ancient manuscripts, a modern library, plus education and conservation facilities to enable the monastery’s priceless collection to be properly cared for.  A controlled stable environment was to be created, together with modern museum standards of accessibility and security.  

With enormous practical input, advice and dedication from Fr. Bigoul el Souriany, Elizabeth Sobczynski, CEO, The Levantine Foundation and the foundation trustees a design for a new library was achieved in 2008. The design was in perfect harmony with the original monastic buildings, and was not only to serve but to enhance the timeless spiritual heritage of the monastery. Bishop Mattaos and Fr. Bigoul were in charge of the project, the rendering and finishes to ensure their sensitive accord with the other monastic buildings. The Levantine Foundation who initiated the whole idea actively assisted with planning, design as well as funding, advising on the environmental issues and the internal layout of the building.

The architectural firm of Morad Bebawy & Meleka Farah were appointed by the Monastic Council to lead and to oversee the design. The building works were carried out by a local contractor and the engineering design is by Arab Consulting Engineers in Cairo.  The project was completed in January 2012. In March 2013, the entire collection was moved from the modern tower library to the new building. 

The Levantine Foundation registered in England 4506398, in The Arab Republic of Egypt under Law No 84 (2002). Registered charity number 1094436.