Virgin Mary 'Appears Over Egyptian Church'

Cairo - The Virgin Mary has been making occasional appearances over a
church in the central Egyptian city of Assyut since August 17, an
Egyptian Orthodox priest claimed on Thursday.
"She appears in an spiritual atmosphere of bright light, very quietly,
without a sound," Father Mina Hanna said by telephone.

"Since August 17, she appears on an irregular basis but the spiritual
phenomena continue," he said, adding that " yesterday (Wednesday Aug 30)
she appeared in a complete image."

The Egyptian Orthodox, or Coptic, Church of Assyut issued a statement
saying that Egyptians have occasionally seen the Virgin Mary over the
domes of St Mark Church in Assyut.

The church's neighbors noticed almost a month ago, at different times of
the night, spiritual phenomena such as "hovering groups of large white
pigeons." "On August 17, the Virgin Mary appeared," the statement said.

Father Hanna said the Virgin Mary appeared a few years ago at The Virgin
Mary monastery in the Assyut mountains, a few kilometers away, but this
is the first time she came into Assyut itself.

People from several Egyptian cities have come to Assyut and were waiting
on rooftops, streets and alleys around the Church to receive the Virgin
Mary's blessings, the statement said, adding that "spiritual matters are
not subject to human aspirations or time limits."

. Story originally published by .
Agency France Press - August 31 2000 .



Reported Religious Sightings Attract Thousands to Egyptian Town
The Associated Press
ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) - Thousands of people were traveling to this southern Egyptian city in recent weeks after reports of an apparition of the Virgin Mary and a flock of exceptionally large, white pigeons in a shining light.
The local Coptic Christian synod released a statement Sunday reporting some sighting of "spiritual features" since the first one Aug. 17 over the dome of Saint Mark's church.  The statement did not say whether religious leaders had confirmed any sightings personally.
"I haven't seen any light," Father Baki Sedka, head of a neighboring church, said Monday.  "I stayed up all night and I didn't see anything except a few pigeons."
"The appearance of a few pigeons doesn't justify a miracle," Sedka said.
But the synod said thousands of Egyptians and some foreigners have come to Assiut, 180 miles south of Cairo, where they've been singing hymns and reciting prayers while waiting for the next vision.
Copts make up less than 10 percent of the population in Egypt, where Islam is the state religion. 

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