Saint Simon Monastery is located in the eastern part of Cairo, the Egyptian capital. On its top is the sanctuary carved out of the rock on the slopes where 17 thousand garbage collectors live. Legend has it that after three days of prayers and fasting, a certain saint called Simon the tanner had been chosen to perform the miracle. Discover the whole story here!
Once you enter the are of Mokattam Mountain and get close to the Abagya area, your eyes will lead you to one of the rarest architectural artifacts carved in the heart of Mokattam Mountain and one of the creative signs of the mountain. The high mountain to blend in with the distinctive architecture in which the monastery was built, and has become a world visit site by large numbers of tourists around the world.
St. Simon the Tanner was a craftsman who lived during the 10th century and his Monastery is considered one of the important things to do in Cairo but it is not usually visited during the short time itineraries and Cairo Day Tours, and the cave church that was dedicated to him might not last for 10 more. Using a pre-existing cave and the slope that led into the monastery seats 20,000 people about a central pulpit. Various caves have also been formed into separate church spaces, and all of them have been linked to create a massive Christian complex in the heart of garbage city. Hundreds of thousands of people make the pilgrimage each year to the monastery. Hundreds of thousands of people make the pilgrimage each year to the monastery.
The main Church there is named after the Virgin Mary and St Simon in commemoration of the story of opening the Mokattam Mountain in November 979 when Simon the Tanner has been chosen to complete this miracle.
Mokattam mountain is facing The Citadel Of Saladin.
According to historians, Ya’qub ibn Kulas, of Jewish origin, the minister of Caliph al-Mu’izz Ledin Ellah, was fiercely anti-Christian, and the caliph was a man of knowledge and of literature. The latter invited the Patriarch of the Copts to discuss the Jews in matters of religion in his presence, and the patriarch answered the invitation, accompanied by Bishop Sawyros Ibn Al-Maqfa. During the discussion, Sawyerus accused the Jews of ignorance, citing a verse from the Book of Isaiah that says: "The bull knows his cane, and the donkey is the owner of his owner. Israel does not know! My people do not understand!" (Isaiah 1: 3). This sparked the wrath of Ibn Kallas, who decided with one of his companions to respond to the Christians by hunting a hole in their books, and his research concluded a verse in the New Testament in which Christ addresses his disciples: “If you had faith like a grain of mustard, you would say to this mountain go from here to there So it moves, and nothing is not possible for you. " (Matt 20:17).
The minister presented that verse to the caliph and asked him to compel the Christians to prove the claim of their book. This appealed to the caliph, who wanted to get rid of the mountain east of Cairo. On the other hand, if the Christians evaded the fulfillment of the evangelical verse, it would be evidence of the invalidity of their religion and beliefs. Al-Moez sent the patriarch to inform him of his request, threatening him if he failed with severe consequences and giving him three days to implement this. The whole church in the country during that period fasted and prayed.
The religious narration completes the story, speaking about the appearance of the Virgin Mary on the patriarch on the third morning. I told him to go out to see a man carrying a jar of water, who would be the chosen one to complete the miracle on his hands. Upon carrying out the commandment of the Virgin, Simon found the Kharaz and told him about what happened. As for the latter, he asked the patriarch to remain among the people on the day scheduled to move the mountain and from there he would perform the prayer while the patriarch would draw the sign of the cross. This was done, he said, as a great earthquake occurred and the mountain moved until the sun panted under it. After that, Al-Kharaz escaped so that no one could be praised.
On 2 stages constructed the Virgin Mary and St Simon Cathedral were. first, it was only a huge cave of limestone in the mountain. The 2nd stage was in November 1994 which happens on the feast of St Simon. Fixed seats were constructed around the altar in the form of a quarter-circle auditorium to accommodate up to five thousand people and that's why it became the biggest church in the Monastery.
Different astonishing Church in the Monastery is St Bola's Church, named after St Bola the first Pilgrim for virtues he possessed. He lived in caves and solitude for 70 years during which he never set eyes upon a human face.
The Chapel cave was discovered in 1986 during construction works when a huge rock fell showing an opening in the ceiling of the cave. An interesting story about this church took place in January 1992 when it was endangered by a fire caused by an electric spark. The image of Jesus Christ stretching in the church and the alter were by no medians damaged even though the whole interior of the cave was damaged.
Then we have the church of St Mark's Church(which is named after St Mark, the first preacher and considered to be the first church in Africa and Egypt.) and St Simon the tanner's Hall. This enormous grotto was invented in 1979 full of hundreds of tons of stones at a height of 17 meters from the ground. The walls are adorned with many wonderful pictures carved on the rocks representing scenes from the Bible.
If you're planning to visit Egypt, then you should consider reviewing our detailed Egypt travel guide, as it is a very unique experience during Egypt Tours that is not comparable with any other things to do in Egypt. You can enjoy one of the Classic tours in Egypt, that all travelers would like to cruise the Nile River during Christmas tours in Egypt or while the best weather during Easter tours in Egypt. Covering most of Cairo day trips, Luxor day tours in addition to Aswan excursions, that is why our travel information section is meant to useful before proceeding with Egypt's best tours for those who seek culture, history of Egypt, and luxurious accommodation while sailing the Nile Valley.
Egypt Tours including a visit to Saint Simeon Monastery during our Coptic Cairo tours as well as many other churches, monasteries and historical sites:
- Unusual Cairo Day Tour to Coptic Cairo and the Cave Church of Saint Simeon