Tuesday, March 13, 2018

THE COPTIC CHURCH OF HURGHADA (EGYPT)

March 13, 2018

Although I thought to know the old Hurghada very well as I have been so many times in this city, but I had never been in the Coptic Church. Amongst the Mosques it is the only Christian one.



The Copts are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. Although integrated in the larger Egyptian nation state, the Copts have survived as a distinct religious community forming around 10 to 20 percent of the population, though estimates vary. They pride themselves on the apostolicity of the Egyptian Church whose founder was the first in an unbroken chain of patriarchs. The main body for 16 centuries has been out of communion with both the Roman Catholic Church (in Rome) and the various Eastern orthodox churches.

I have visited Catholic, Protestant, Anglican,  and Mosques in various countries, but I had never seen a Coptic Church. I have seen Orthodox churches in Greece, and apparently they are very similar.



As there is always a fight between Muslims and Christians (mostly in Cairo) the church was surrounded by a wall and we had to go through a scan not to smuggle any bomb inside. But all this was done in a rather cheerful way. In the courtyard in front of the church, students sat with their smartphones, men discussed and women too. The ambiance was really very relaxing ! There were also young couples holding hands, inside and outside the church.



Before we went into the church we had a look in the souvenir shop. There were Christmas trees laying around and of course all possible Saints were hanging on the wall. As I was raised in a protestant family, I am very ignorant concerning Saints.



Besides the entrance of the church I discovered a grotto like looking cavern, which was dedicated to
Shenoute the Great, Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite was the abbot of the White Monastery in Egypt. He is considered a saint by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and is one of the most renowned saints of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Unfortunately it was getting dark when we arrived so my photo is not of the best quality.







The entrance





inside the church



Beautiful carved benches


x





and cabinets



My friend we had met 2 years ago in our hotel had taken us with her, as she believes in this church but also lights a candle for Saint Rita who is a catholic Saint. I didn't know for what she was responsible and learned later that it was for lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, and mothers. Nicole and I lighted candles too. Just in case.



There was also a beautiful luster



and paintings of the different Saints.





Many people, men, women, teenagers and children were in the church, but I didn't want to be disrespectful and take pictures. They chatted together softly, while the children ran around the benches, some people were praying and one priest tried to sing for the evening service or is it called mass ? Anyway I regretted not to have my earplugs with me because his song was terrible, due to the microphone which didn't work properly.

I had never seen such a church in my whole life which was so full of life ! The people smiled at us very friendly despite the fact that we were curious tourists. Some wanted to know where we came from and we met a man who spoke perfectly French and he asked us if he could take us around and explain everything. We gently declined his offer, it was late and we had to go back to our hotel.

It had been a very interesting visit !



Linking to OUR WORLD

4 comments:

Fun60 said...

I did not visit a coptic church when i visited Egypt a few years ago so i was very interested in your post. It looks far more relaxed than many other christian churches.

Jo said...

Oh my word, I scream,ed out loud with laughter that you and Nicole lit candles just in case! Just like you! I loved this post and the fact that at last here was a Christian institution which emanated happiness and joy. Thanks for this interesting post. I read every word. Lovely!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It is a beautiful church -- and sounds incredibly more friendly than any church I've ever visited.

TheChieftess said...

Definitely a beautiful church. The architecture seems to be a blend of East and West... a Mosque and a Cathedral. Really lovely.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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