daniel nour

Christian Egypt

In egypt on July 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Egyptians are a deeply religious people.

The  Coptic spirituality, the monastic tradition which helped the country retain its unique Egyptian cultural identity throughout Roman dominion, is central to the country’s history.

The photographs below, taken at various monasteries and churches throughout Upper Egypt, help illuminate the importance of Egypt to Christianity. Egypt has been called “the Second Jerusalem” because of its significance as the dwelling place of Christ and the Holy Family for three years.

Still shot of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Zeitoun church, Cairo, in the 50’s.

Papal residence in West Asyout.

Transcedental beauty of a Cathedral in West Asyout.

Sanctum erected in West Asyout to commemorate former home of the Holy Family.

Monastery of St Paul the first Hermit, at the Red Sea Mountains.

Its wall paintings date from 1700 AD

It is also said to have been a resting place for the prophetess Miriam during the Exodus from Egypt.

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Egypt on fire

In Political on July 19, 2015 at 6:24 pm

It’s my second week I’m Egypt, and along with the sweltering heat, the country has also weathered some social and political fires.

In Upper Egypt, where I’m teaching children English as part of the Coptic Orphans programme, I’m beguiled by the endless, sometimes overwhelming chanting of the Muazzin. His prayers emanate from two or three gaudy Minarets, decorated with electric lights. There are two mosques in this small village in El Minia province, within a mere block from each other.

The Coptic a Orthodox masses here are long, loud and multi-sensory: the churches, which are named after St George or the Blessed Virgin, serve as hubs for their communities. Rows of Fellahin in their long flowing gallabeyas, sit unmoving, almost like statues, throughout the services. Women sit cross legged on the floor in the corridors of the church during masses.  

Stormy Egypt

In Political on July 3, 2015 at 8:19 am

I’ve been in Cairo for barely five days now, but feel that it’s my duty to reveal some of her more intriguing peculiarities. 

Now that Midan al-Tahrir has been cleaned and refurbished , some Egyptians worry that it bears no resemblance to their original square. That simple, dirty, paved, concrete hub for revolution, has now been beautified and sanitised by new grass, and the Government’s intervention. Here I stand before “Mogamaa Tahrir”, a kind of central civil administration office.

The College of Music in Cairo’s Zamalek has an air of chic oriental beauty, and of aging neglect. The suburb has a heavy concentration of foreign diplomats living in Cairo with their families. The suburb is a relic of another age.

St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Zamalek, run by the Columbi community, is full of French nuns and Eritrean Priests. When I left my bag in the aisle to take a phone call outside, I returned to find them fretting over the bulky ominous potentially explosive package left by the swarthy bearded stranger.

Egypt has weathered storms, both literal and figurative in the past few days. Apart from the sandstorm which whipped through Cairo earlier this week, there’s been an earthquake, the murder of Cairo’s public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, and a bomb on the October 6th bridge in the heart of the city.  Dozens of soldiers have been killed in the Sinai peninsula by Islamist militants, to boot.

More to come on all of this in my next post.

Make sure to follow me on twitter @daniel_nour to keep up to speed with my Cairo adventures.

Salam!

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