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"The Hanging Church": The Church of Mother of God Saint Mary in Cairo

IreneOlinyk

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I was just reading about Greek Orthodox Churches in Cairo and saw a reference to the historical Coptic Orthodox know as "The Hanging Church": The Church of Mother of God Saint Mary one of the oldest Coptic Churches in Egypt with an amazing carved iconostasis made of ebony inlaid with ivory.

There are some pictures accompanying the article in wikipedia. 

I was wondering about the pews.  I assume this is a modern addition: do Coptic churches usually have pews?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Church


Is there a more extensive article in English on this unique chrch in English available on the web?


 

Alveus Lacuna

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Everybody besides Russians use pews or carved chairs. It's just the way it is.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Every Indian, Coptic, Armenian, etc. church I've been in or seen has seating aside from the very rare monastery or historical church. Are you telling me that the church you attend doesn't have chairs or pews?
 

hecma925

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Mor Ephrem said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Everybody besides Russians use pews or carved chairs. It's just the way it is.
I guess Indians are just Russians with better food.
If there is an Indo-Russkiy Old Believer parish you're not telling me about, I'm down.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Every Indian, Coptic, Armenian, etc. church I've been in or seen has seating aside from the very rare monastery or historical church. Are you telling me that the church you attend doesn't have chairs or pews?
Indian church?  Yes.  No pews or carved chairs.  Some folding chairs are at the back for the old and infirm: they have to take one and bring it to their place as well as put it back when done.
 

Dominika

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I visited this church 12 years ago, I wish I have had camera like the one I have now... It's so beautiful. I've heard that such pews had appeared firstly in Egypt, but it may be a total mistake.


Alveus Lacuna said:
Everybody besides Russians use pews or carved chairs. It's just the way it is.
Well, Romanians have carpets on which they sit and kneel.
 

Alpha60

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Even Old Believers have seating provided for the infirm.

~

By the way, Ethiopian churches in Ethiopia, of the ancient rock-hewn variety, like St. Michael’s, which is located in the countryside and is not part of the Lalibela cluster, also tend to be primarily standing, and indeed, the video I’ve seen of worship there in Around the World in 80 Faiths depicts what could only be called crush-load conditions, during an actual all night vigil.  This is why I consider the Ethiopians the most pious Christians: imagine the spiritual strength required to stand in church, on relatively little food (just bread and a church-issued beer, the one time out of the year such a beer is sanctioned), all night and into the morning, with a crowd present in the church roughly equivalent to that on the Victoria or Central Line in Zone 1, or lines 1 or 4 of the Paris Metro, or any downtown-bound NYC subway train, at rush hour. I suspect only the absence of ushers previously employed as “pushers” on the Tokyo Metro reduces further crowding.

As churches go, the only other place I have seen with equvalent crowding is the courtyard around the aedicule at the Holy Sepulchre on Pascha.  Which indeed is another church where the monks do actual all night vigils.
 

Ainnir

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biro said:
Sitting down is unholy. Chairs are unholy.
They're not unholy, they just get in the way.  :)
 

Luke

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What about sitting down during the Epistle reading? :police:
 

hecma925

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Luke said:
What about sitting down during the Epistle reading? :police:
Nooooooooooooo
 

IreneOlinyk

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Dominika said:
I visited this church 12 years ago, I wish I have had camera like the one I have now... It's so beautiful. I've heard that such pews had appeared firstly in Egypt, but it may be a total mistake. 



Thanks Dominika.  What started this was that I was watching a BBC dvd "Ancient Invisible Cities".  One of the cities was Cairo with a visit to the Babylon Fortress.  I was also very impressed with St. George's Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Alexandria. Did you see it too?  A circular church: huge and very majestic.  I would just love to visit it in person too.
 

WPM

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Mor Ephrem said:
Luke said:
What about sitting down during the Epistle reading? :police:
We don't, but whenever people want to (or are allowed to) sit, they sit on the floor.
I see your picture.

…?
 

Dominika

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IreneOlinyk said:
Dominika said:
I visited this church 12 years ago, I wish I have had camera like the one I have now... It's so beautiful. I've heard that such pews had appeared firstly in Egypt, but it may be a total mistake. 



Thanks Dominika.  What started this was that I was watching a BBC dvd "Ancient Invisible Cities".  One of the cities was Cairo with a visit to the Babylon Fortress.  I was also very impressed with St. George's Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Alexandria. Did you see it too?  A circular church: huge and very majestic.  I would just love to visit it in person too.
yeah, the pics taken by me:





And from the Hanging Church:




 

isxodnik

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Everybody besides Russians use pews or carved chairs. It's just the way it is.
But we have in some monasteries the gyms open!
 

Alpha60

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Somehow I can’t imagine a Coptic or Athonite monk exercising in a gymn.  The very idea of monastics exercising in a facility the Greek name of which literally translates as “place of nudity” seems contrary to the monastic ideal, and it seems to me that the obediences of the monastery assigned to the monks are often quite sufficient in terms of physical exercise.
 

IreneOlinyk

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Thanks for the fantastic pictures.

I have know Greeks from Canada who went a pilgrimage to St. Catherine's Mt. Sinai Monastery: arriving first in Alexandria but the churches of Cairo were not included as a stop on the tours. 
 

Dominika

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IreneOlinyk said:
Thanks for the fantastic pictures.

I have know Greeks from Canada who went a pilgrimage to St. Catherine's Mt. Sinai Monastery: arriving first in Alexandria but the churches of Cairo were not included as a stop on the tours.
So me contrary: I've visited some churches in Cairo, but no Mt. Sinai nor Alexandria.
 

hecma925

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Alpha60 said:
Somehow I can’t imagine a Coptic or Athonite monk exercising in a gymn.  The very idea of monastics exercising in a facility the Greek name of which literally translates as “place of nudity” seems contrary to the monastic ideal, and it seems to me that the obediences of the monastery assigned to the monks are often quite sufficient in terms of physical exercise.
The Mr. Athos competition left a lot to be desired.
 

Alpha60

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Dominika said:
IreneOlinyk said:
Thanks for the fantastic pictures.

I have know Greeks from Canada who went a pilgrimage to St. Catherine's Mt. Sinai Monastery: arriving first in Alexandria but the churches of Cairo were not included as a stop on the tours.
So me contrary: I've visited some churches in Cairo, but no Mt. Sinai nor Alexandria.
St. Catharine’s monastery is an adventure to reach, I hear.  That does not stop me from wanting to go there.  There are beautiful Coptic and Alexandrian Orthodox cathedrals in Alexandria as one might expect, as well as awesome tramways.  So Alexandria might be a nice place to unwind after the intensity of a Cairo-St. Anthony’s*-St. Catharine’s type itinerary.

*I hear for security reasons, St. Anthony’s isn’t taking overnight pilgrims right now, which is a shame, as it would be a delight to climb the hills at midnight for the liturgy in his cave conducted by Fr. Lazarus, but there are other Coptic monasteries of great antiquity which are.

My ideal pilgrimage would involve a Cairo-some coptic monastery-St. Catherine’s-Alexandria-Jerusalem-Lebanon-Nineveh/Erbil region-Tur Abdin-Armenia-Georgia-Caucasian Russia type of route, returning via Moscow.  These places collectively have some of the best (and most endangered) churches in the world; I would say only Ravenna, Rome, Lalibela, Mount Athos, Paris, Munich, and London (specifically, the City of London, and certain parts of the City of Westminster, for example, the area between Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey) have a comparable quantity of thrilling,  interesting churches packed so tightly together.  Elsewhere, one tends to find a city with two or three spectacular churches, sometimes close together (like Leipzig), but in reduced quantity, or else one finds a city where one particularly majestic church dominates (such as Sophia, Istanbul*, Cologne or Dresden).

*Of course, a thousand years ago Constantinople would have been on the list of places with lots of beautiful churches, close together; Constantinople, along with Rome and Jerusalem, was a place where you had station churches and elaborate liturgical processions linking these churches together, something which partially survives in Rome and Jerusalem but which is of course history in the former Byzantine capital owing to mosque-conversion.  But I suppose if you’re a Muslim or into Mosques, Stamboul would be thrilling...
 

Aram

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hecma925 said:
Alpha60 said:
Somehow I can’t imagine a Coptic or Athonite monk exercising in a gymn.  The very idea of monastics exercising in a facility the Greek name of which literally translates as “place of nudity” seems contrary to the monastic ideal, and it seems to me that the obediences of the monastery assigned to the monks are often quite sufficient in terms of physical exercise.
The Mr. Athos competition left a lot to be desired.
Legit LOL. Thank you.
 

dzheremi

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Alpha60 said:
The very idea of monastics exercising in a facility the Greek name of which literally translates as “place of nudity” seems contrary to the monastic ideal
In my off-internet life I hold two degrees in linguistics, so it feels weird to write this, but dude, you know too much about words if this is meant to be a serious criticism of what other people are doing.
 

peterfarrington

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I wish we didn't have pews but in the West they are often a feature of the church buildings we have taken over. Moveable chairs would be better for flexibility. Most people are standing much of the time in any case.
 

kijabeboy03

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It really is a pity. Often when I move the local Coptic Orthodox church is the friendliest, but the tight rows of pews are just difficult to navigate...

Father Peter said:
I wish we didn't have pews but in the West they are often a feature of the church buildings we have taken over. Moveable chairs would be better for flexibility. Most people are standing much of the time in any case.
 
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