Al Muharraq monastery Asyut, Egypt information, tours, booking
Al Muharraq monastery located 385 kilometer south of Cairo in Asyut, Egypt. In fact, Al Muharrq monastery is the Arabic translation of the “Burnt Monastery”. Moreover, Al Muharraq monastery also known as the Monastery pf the Holy Virgin Mary. In fact, the monastery burnt by the foreign invaders in the middle centuries. Moreover, Al Muharraq monastery is one of the few monasteries which not built in the desert of Egypt. In fact, the Holy Family traveled from Maadi to Upper Egypt by a boat. They reached the village of Qusquam (El Quseya) which lies 60 kilometer south of Asyut. The holy Family stayed six months at this village where they lived in a cave. In fact, Al Muharraq Monastery built on the site where the Holy Family settled.
The Angle of the Lord believed that he appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said to him “Arise, take the young child and his mother and go into the land of Israel”. (Matthew 2:20 & 21). The site indeed is holy to Egyptian Christians. Moreover, they call it “Second Bethlehem”. In fact, multitudes of pilgrims made the journey to the Al Muharraq monastery’s churches. It was from every district during the ancient times. Furthermore, the location is famous for signs and wonders. It said that the site healed many diseases. In fact, Al Muharraq monastery is one of the largest and most wealthy Coptic Monasteries in Egypt.
Further details about Al Muharraq monastery:
The walls of the compound enclose an area of 30 feddan. Furthermore, Al Muharraq monastery houses five churches and about 100 monks. Moreover, Al Muharraq monastery comprises a large library. The monastery indeed is a fine example of a fortified monastery. In fact, it is like many monasteries which located in the desert of Egypt. Thousands of pilgrims attend feasts to celebrate the consecration in the monastery. In fact, the consecration of the church of the Virgin is during June 18th and the 28th each year. This church built over the cave where the Holy Family stayed. Moreover, the church is one of the oldest churches in Egypt which built in the first century AC. The alter-stone dates back to 747 AC and located on the spot where the baby Jesus rested.
The Main Churches at Al Muharraq monastery:
The monastery houses the church of the Holy Virgin Mary. In fact, the church lies next to the square tower. Moreover, the church is the oldest church in the monastery and dates back to the first century AC. St. Pachomious was the one who built the original monastery around the church. In fact, the church predates Al Muharraq monastery by three centuries. Moreover, the ancient alter lies in the sanctuary of this church. In fact, the church is not the original, but it is ancient and supposed to be the same as that of the original. Pope Theophilus was the 23rd Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria. In fact, he wrote that he noticed that the church was small and simple. Because of the holiness of the site, he wished to build a great cathedral to replace the small church.
He voiced this wish in his prayers. In a vision the Holy Virgin Mary visited him and explained that the church was the will of her son. She added, the church should kept as it is, as a symbol of Christ’s humility. Moreover, before Christ’s Ascension, the Lord, the Disciples and she came together. They came upon a cloud to the small church to bless and dedicate it. In fact, it was the first liturgy which held in the church. The Nave inside of the church divided into three main sections. The first section is for the believers and the second for the penitents. Moreover, the third section is for the catechisms (people who are not baptized in the faith). The second church in Al Muharraq monastery is the church of St. George. In fact, the church located behind the church of the Holy Virgin.
Further details about Al Muharraq monastery churches:
In fact, this church built in 1880 AC. Moreover, the church houses many of religious paintings including that of the twelve apostles. The most notable characteristic of this church is its two high steeples. Another of its characteristic is the Byzantine Greek styled iconostasis. The third church in Al Muharraq monastery is the church of the Archangel Michael. In fact, this church renovated at the time of Patriarch Gabriel. Patriarch Gabriel was the 95th Patriarch of Alexandria (1525-1568 AC). Moreover, the church built on the upper level of the keep. The keep was a tower which protected the monks. In fact, it protected them from the invasion by barbarians or other foreign invaders.
In fact, the library of Al Muharraq monastery divided into two main sections. The first section contains thousands of modern books and reference material. In fact, they date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Moreover, they cover religion, science and other subjects which written in various languages. In fact, they written in Coptic, Greek, Arabic, English and Amharic languages. The second section of the library contains hand-written manuscripts in Coptic and Arabic. In fact, these priceless manuscripts date back as early as the 13th century.