"The Red Monastery (Deir al-Ahmar) in Sohag, Upper Egypt, is a basilica church with a stunningly preserved triconch from the fi fth or early sixth century at its eastern end.1 All three lobes are completely intact, each
with two layers of niches, in elaborate sculptural programs of columns and pediments, and topped with a semi-dome; in Late Antiquity, almost all of this space was covered with brightly colored paintings, themselves densely packed with text.2 The Red Monastery basilica stands alongside more familiar churches,such as Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, as one of the few r emaining structures in which a sense of the full effect of ancient, monumental ecclesiastic architecture, including decoration, is still possible. As Elizabeth
Bolman notes, the Red Monastery “functions as an index to Late Antique aesthetics, from the unexpected perspective of Egypt”.3 Since 2002, the magnifi cent paintings have undergone sustained conservation by the
Red Monastery Project, under the direction of Bolman. Luigi de Cesaris heads the conservation team.4 As of December 2006, the work on the north lobe was almost complete, and I publish here the extant inscriptions in the conserved paintings, with the benefi t of three onsite visits in the winters of 2004–6, when the extensive scaffolding permitted close inspection of the often fragmentary text."