One day I took the metro the Mar Girgis, the Coptic neighborhood of Cairo.
It is a much quieter neighbornood than downtown Cairo, and there are a number of churches worth a visit.
They all have nice quiet and well tended courtyards where you can forget the size of the city around you.
There was also an old solitary Jew who wanted me to visit his little synagogue. I misplaced the photo of him somewhere, but I hope to find it soon. He did not mind if one came into the synagogue bare-headed.
The streets of Mar Girgis were busy but quieter -- dirt streets don't make as much noise.
Note the Virgin Mary and other religious imagery on the upper left wall.
Just 'cause I'm like that I thought I'd just mention as extra info for your readers that Mar Girgis is actually St. George of the dragon slaying fame. He was born in Palestine and was a Roman soldier until being tortured and then decapitated at the age of twenty three. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George
Thanks, Mark. I'd love to know more about Coptic Christianity. I believe it goes back to the time of the apostles, doesn't it?
This is amazing, Kerououac. It's like a breath of green fresh air after the views of crowded downtown Cairo. Great to see more of that beautiful Egyptian architecture. Those curves into the suggestions of columns on the front of the church harken back to ancient Egypt and are satisfying on some profound level as well.
Your photos suggest the simplicity and serenity of this neighborhood. I especially like the #8 photo...this is lovely, a courtyard? The final shot of the small street is also calming and seems so far away from the noisy complexity of inner Cairo. Whatever, this area feels like an oasis, yet I think it is very close to the centre of Cairo.
Mark, the article is excellent but I need some time to absorb it. And I did note, "Saint Mark, who brought Christianity to Egypt..."
We are thought of as Christians, yes. And there has been extra security around the nearest church to me. But .... I still don't feel threatened or any danger whatsoever. Never once have I had a problem with religion here, no-one has ever insulted me or said anything at all - which is to be expected as it can only be a very small minority who do. The normal common man in the street doesn't hate Christians or think much of them at all, they are part of life here and that's about it. The extra security hasn't affected us in any way at all, especially as we don't go to the church in any case, or in fact any church.
Egypt Muslims to act as "human shields" at Coptic Christmas Eve mass.
.......widespread call by Muslim intellectuals and activists upon Egyptian Muslims at large to flock to Coptic churches across the country to attend Coptic Christmas Eve mass, to show solidarity with the nation's Coptic minority, but also to serve as "human shields" against possible attacks by Islamist militants. “I know it might not be safe, yet it’s either we live together, or we die together, we are all Egyptians,” Cherine Mohamed, a 50 year old house wife said.[/i]
Thank you so much for that article, Mark, and especially for your earlier answer. Why does the media so often emphasize certain things to the point it creates a distorted picture? Well, sensationalism sells, plus it presents the reporters as fearless seekers of truth, even in the face of danger.
I was struck by this part of the article: Mariam Yassin, a 24 year old video editor, will take Thursday off to travel to Alexandria to attend the mass at the Two Saints Church “I am not going as a representative of any religion. I am supporting all those who died as a result of ignorance.” Yassin’s friend, Mariam Fekry, was killed along with her mother, sister and aunt in the Two Saints Church attack “I feel great sympathy for her family’s loss, yet I don’t feel that as a Muslim I should apologize on the behalf of murderers.” Yassin added..
It's quite beautiful that so many Muslims are making this eloquent gesture of protection and solidarity. But it's sad that many of them probably also feel the need to correct popular perception of all Muslims as fanatics.