May 26, 2016
May 26, 2016
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The Church of the Holy Virgin St. Mary was built on the remains of one of the gates of the Roman fortress, Babylon. The high position earned her the name the Hanging or the Suspended Church.

Moving the Muqattam Mountain

It all started when Anba Abraham the Patriarch of the Copts was summoned by the Khalif of Egypt. The Khalif asked him "Dear Patriarch, is it true that your Bible says that if you have faith as little as a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain to move from here to there and it will move? The Patriarch answered saying "yes". The Khalif replied, "Therefore I command that the Muqattam Mountain be moved, and if not moved, all the Copts in the land will be put to the sword! You only have three days! The Patriarch left the palace and ordered all Christian to fast and pray for three days, and he went to the Hanging Church to fast and pray.

On the third day our Lady the Virgin Mary appeared to Anba Abraam while he was asleep and said, " Don't be sad, go immediately and open the Iron Gate and you will see a one-eyed man called Simon the Tanner. This man will help you." The Patriarch woke up and went to the Iron Gate and opened it. He saw a one-eyed man walking with a big water pot on his back. The Patriarch said," Simon, you were chosen by God to help save our people. St. Mary appeared in a dream and told me that you are the one to help us.

The next morning, at the mountain, the Khalif came on his horse with many soldiers. His minister and advisers came also. Anba Abraham was there with the bishops, priests and the elders, all carrying their censors, crosses and candles. The Patriarch led the people in prayer. Simon stood humbly behind him. After the reading of the gospel, the Copts chanted in one voice Kerialeison (Lord have mercy) forty one times, bowing down at the end with one accord. Every time they raised their heads the high mountain moved upward by the power of God.

And every time they bowed their heads the mountain came down again! It was a terrifying scene for the Khalif and his companions. The Khalif pleaded the Patriarch to stop. The Patriarch stopped and it became silent. A few moments of silence passed. Then the Copts burst into a loud cry praising God. When the Copts finished the Khalif confessed to the Copts that they follow the one true God. The Khalif insisted on paying a large sum of money to apologize for his troubles. The Patriarch refused and asked instead for permission to fix the Al Muallaqa church.

After the miracle, the Khalif became Christian. Simon the Tanner disappeared after the mountain stopped moving.

The Monastery contains seven churches and chapels hidden in a series of caves in the mountain. A monastery was built and dedicated to Saint Simon the Tanner a thousand years after he died. It is called the monastery of Saint Simon the Tanner. The Monastery contains seven churches and chapels hidden in a series of caves in the mountain.