Alle Artikel mit dem Schlagwort: Coptic

Weihnachten unterm Minarett

Von Manfred Maurer Schwester Juliana Baldinger hat Weihnachten heuer schon gefeiert. Und zwar am 6. Jänner. Die aus Meggenhofen stammende Sions-Schwester lebt seit 18 Jahren in dem ägyptischen Dorf El Berba, etwa 300 Kilometer südlich von Kairo. Weil für die koptischen Christen hier der orthodoxe Kalender gilt, fällt Weihnachten auch für die katholische Ordensfrau aus Oberösterreich auf den 6. Jänner, das Fest der Erscheinung des Herrn. Muslimbrüder wollen Christentum verdrängen Weihnachten unter Muslimen erfordert wohl ein gewisses Fingerspitzengefühl, zumal in Zeiten wie diesen. Die Lage der Christen am Nil hat sich verschlechtert. Die herrschende Muslimbruderschaft wolle das Christentum genauso verdrängen wie die noch radikaleren Salafisten, sagt der Präsident der Ökumenischen Stiftung Pro Oriente, Hans Marte. „Der Unterschied liegt nur in der Strategie.“ Entführungen koptischer Mädchen, Erpressung von Schutzgeldern und Zwangsislamisierungen seien an der Tagesordnung. Schwester Juliana kennt all diese Probleme, hat aber mit den Muslimbrüdern, die es auch in El Berba gibt, irgendwie zu leben gelernt. Erleichtert wird dies wohl durch die Tatsache, dass die Sions-Schwestern hier wichtige soziale Dienste erbringen, die auch Muslimen zugute …

St. Simon and the Zabbaleen

Like at our first visit with Juliana in Cairo she again took us to the Mokattam area so also Maria and Gerhard could get this very special impression. El Mokattam is a mountain at the edge of Cairo with a special religious story. It is linked to St. Simon the Tanner whom a monastery behind the Manschiyyet Nasser neighbourhood, where the Zabbaleen (Garbage people) live, is dedicated. The Manschiyyet Nasser village is mostly inhabited by coptic christians (Zabbaleen) who collect and sort the garbage of Cairo. Both the Sister of Mercy (Mother Theresa) and Sr. Emmanuelle (a Sister of Notre Dame de Sion) did here great work for the education and healthcare of the people. For example, she founded Gabal El Mokattam School, which is now run by the Daughters of Mary, and a clinic. This school and the clinic are important sources of education, health and values for these families. After driving through the narrow roads of Manschiyyet Nasser you get to the Monstery of St. Simon the Tanner with huge churches cut into the rock. …


After having been to Luxor already several times we thought of some other “events” and places to go, or just to walk through town and promenade along the cornish. A calm promenade along the Nile Cornish is IMPOSSIBLE! Every meter, every second some Egyptians “welcome” you with their commercial interest! Of course, there are almost no tourist! But after telling them that I am not interested in a Feluka ride, in a ride with the calèche to the Egyptian market (Only today, very cheap,…) and what else they offer, every additional offer is just hassling! Barbara and I walked to the Bishops House (Mutrania) to see if there is anybody at home. In earlier visits we liked to stay there in the guest rooms and enjoyed Bishop Joannes hospitality. Really a calm place right at the Cornish to rest from the tourist program. After we did not succeed to contact him before we were happy to meet Suzi, the cook. She immediately recognized us and invited us for tea. Whenever you want to stay with …

Theben West

Again with the little rest of gas Juliana drove us to the other side of the Nile. Gerhard and Maria wanted to see Hatschepsut Temple and the Valley of the kings. Barbara and I wanted to climb the mountain and cross from the Hatschepsut Temple to the Valley of the King as we also did in January 2010. We succeed and again enjoyed this walking through the desert. With the help of the bus driver of “Christian Transport” we got the information where to find gas. One day there is gas in east of the Nile, the next day on the west side. So we find the one and only gas station with a long queue for gasoline and luckily also 92 Octan fuel where only a few cars where waiting.

Deir Pachomius

Near Nag Hammadi, on the eastern Nilshore you find the Pachomius Monastery with three churches. Here the old scriptures of the Nag Hammadi Library with gnostic philosophy were found. The best know of them is the Gospel of St. Thomas.

Monasteries in the Nil valley

On our way from El Berba to Luxor we stopped at some monasteries in the Nil Valley and stayed over night in the Mutrania (Bishops House) of Sohag. Area of  Sohag: Eastern Nilshore: ca. 6km northeast of Akhmin: Monastery of the Archangel Michael (Malak); Monastery of the Martyrs (Deir al-Shuhada); Monastery of the Virgin Mary Western Nilshore: White Monastery; Red Monastery. Here Italian Specialists where just finishing there work of restoration. So we saw beautiful old frescos.

Deir Abu Vena

Quite close to Berba, “just” 24km south on the western edge of the desert you find the monastery of Abu Vena. He was a Saint and monk from the end of 4th century. The old monastery founded by him was hidden in the desert for centuries. The monastery was most likely built around the burial site of Saint Fana. His tomb was found during excavations of an international team representing seven European academic institutions and led by Austrian scholar Prof. Dr. Helmut Buschhausen in 1992. We visited it already for the third time and again enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the desert and the strong spiritual feeling of the monks. One of the monks was even speaking a little bit German and telling us his touching personal story.