Jules Leroy, the French art expert, spent several months touring the Near East in search of Early Christian remains. During this time he visited most of the monasteries in Egypt, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.
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French art expert Jules Leroy spent several months touring the Near East in search of Early Christian remains. During this time he visited most of the monasteries in Egypt, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, some of them in ruins, some of them still flourishing. He has written a vivid account of his impressions of these monasteries and of the reception he got from the resident monks. Not all the places he visited were Christian, for he describes visits to the Muslim Bektashis in Cairo, the dervishes at Tripoli, and the Yezidi devil-worshipers in the mountains of Iraq.
But his book is not just another travel account. Leroy makes it a comprehensive study of monasticism, of ascetism in its many forms (such as the Stylites and the hermits) of the dissemination of Christianity, and of the history of Near Eastern religious foundations in the area.
The text is illustrated with about a hundred black-and-white photographs, together with maps and plans.