I am looking for a detailed description of the life of the desert monks of the Coptic Church. Such detailed information such as: diet, daily and weekly schedule, clothing, hygiene, layout and construction of monasteries and individual cells, etc., etc., etc.
Hi Athanasios, unfortunately I don't have much detailed information on our monks regarding those aspects, as many monks have different schedule's and duties determined by their abbots. But basically, most monks follow a strict schedule, at x hour they wake, at x hour they work, x hour eat, x hour pray, etc. I'm not all too familiar with hygiene or diet, but monks wear the same vestments for the most part. Those in the training period of three years wear white instead of black for they aren't yet tonsured. Someone else might be able to present some more information but here is a wonderful link to the BBC program Extreme Pilgrim. It's a documentary which features Fr. Lazarus an anchorite living in the mountains. He was an atheist for 40 years and after the death of his mother, who he was very close to, he began to pray after hearing that St.Mary could also become his mother. He left Australia and became a monk. This video (though somewhat long) will give you a good idea as to the thought process and life of many monks (though most don't live in mountains, they remain in their monasteries below). http://orthodoxfathers.org/bbc-extreme-pilgrim-ascetic-christianity.htm
There's also a short clip from another bbc documentary (2 minutes) which shows how the monks pray, I'd definitely watch it to see how they pray communally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMzrH8c7x-o
I apologize for all the video clips, but I think the videos show much more than I can articulate on here, so here is one more video featuring Father Maximous el-Antony. It's primarily about the restoration of St. Anthony's monastery but it gives some history and shows some of the habits of the monks. Perhaps this could also be beneficial. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAh-qxh1_Ic