Monday, April 6, 2009

Christianity In Cairo

I didn't know that 10% - 15% of Egypt's population is Christian. They are Coptic Christians, who follow the Coptic Church. (Which is looks very similar to the Russian Orthodox Church to me. ) The Copts have their own Pope through. We were lucky to get to visit several of Cairo's Christian Churches.

The Hanging Church is Cairo's most famous church. It was built in the late 600s, on top of a horseshoe shaped Roman wall - hence the name "Hanging Church." In one spot there is an opening in the floor where you can look down to see that it really does hang between the two sides of the wall. It is a beautiful church.

This must be field trip time for Egyptian schools, because there were several school groups here too. Then we went on to a crypt where the Holy Family hid during their flight to Egypt.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, along with other Christians hid in the crypt, under a church, behind this door. We touched the same door they went through. I've never felt such a personal connection to the Bible as I did when I touched that door.

We also visited the Cave Cathedral. It was amazing! It is a huge church built in a natural opening under a cliff. It is the largest Christian church in the Middle East - seating 20,000 people. It is located in Garbage City, a slum of Cairo where many of the city's Christians live. I'll try to post more about Garbage City later. I don't have many photos - they wouldn't let me get out of the car and walk around when we were there.

Here's a close up on the carving above the alter. A Polish artist comes every summer and works on the carvings, which are all over - donating all his time. The photos really don't do it justice.

9 comments:

cinnamongirl93 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cinnamongirl93 said...

I can't even imagine the feelings that you must have experienced. Just awesome!
I'm sure everything you witnessed was far more beautiful in person.
Thank you for sharing.

The WoodLand School said...

The carvings are just amazing! Thanks again for sharing your trip : )

Mum-me said...

What lovely churches, especially the Cathedral cave. I didn't know there were so many Christians in Egypt.

Allie said...

Beautiful pictures. I don't think I could go into the hanging church, lol....

Marcia said...

Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I feel like I'm on a little field trip when I visit your blog!

Betts said...

That's so cool that you got to touch the door. If it was in the US, it would be surround by velvet ropes and watched by a guard.

Molly said...

Wow what an experience! The cave cathedral in incredible!

misschris said...

Wow. All of it. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing all of this, Liz. It looks amazing!