The hermitage became a coenobium led by Elias' successors. Although some changes were made in the sixth century, According to FitzGerald, the structure was constructed as a single unit. Di Segni (1997: 404-406) suggested that the eastern wing was built first, with the chapel and some rooms, to serve the recluse Elias and his desciples. The southern part may have been constructed sometime later. The mosaics are dated by the inscriptions beginning in 567 CE. This may have been the time when some changes were made, especially in the refectory where the mosaic paving is ascribed to the time of the Hegumen George.