Simeon Monastery in Egypt
The huge cave monastery, though not at all ancient, but its cathedral, bearing the name of the Holy Virgin Mary and St. Simeon, is the largest Christian religious building in the Near and Middle East
Let's take a closer look at it ...
The Egyptian Monastery of St. Simon (The Monastery of St. Simon the Tanner) is notable for being located inside the cave of Mount Mokattam. This is an architectural structure of amazing beauty, where the religious services of the people of Zabbalin are held, professing not their traditional Muslim religion, but their very special beliefs, which they take very seriously and reverently. The Monastery of St. Simon the Tanner, Cairo, Egypt. In these parts, St. Simeon lived at the end of the tenth century, at the very time when the ruler of Egypt was Fatimid Kalife al Muise.
It is known that Simeon was an artisan in Babylon, but the exact information about his work, unfortunately, has not been preserved to this day.
The monastery of St. Simeon was founded in 1957. It is noteworthy that it appeared in a natural way, without needing the help of professional architects at all.In the vastness of its amphitheater can fit 20 thousand believers or tourists. This structure is undoubtedly striking in its enormous scale. However, besides him, there are six other churches inside the cave of Mount Mokattam, which are also sacred.
There is such a legend. Simon Tanner is a Christian who lived in Egypt at the end of the ninth century. The Egyptian ruler of that time was very fond of inviting the heads of different religions to his palace so that they could discuss among themselves. Once Abraham, who confessed to Judaism, and Yacoub ibn Killis, a Jew who professed Islam, entered into the debate. In the dispute, Abraham won, which Yakub didn’t like very much. To prove that Abraham was wrong, Jacob asked him to demonstrate in reality the words that were spoken by Jesus once. Their meaning is as follows: for a person who has faith, nothing is impossible. If the true believer tells the mountain to move to another place, she will do it.
The Egyptian ruler said that this was a fair demand, and ordered Abraham to demonstrate "the movement of the mountain on the orders of a believing Christian." And he added that if Abraham could not do this, all Egyptian Christians would be killed.
Abraham said he would do it in three days. All the Christian priests of Egypt prayed during these days, and at the end of the third day the Virgin Mary appeared to Abraham. She told him to go to the market, and to find there a one-eyed man with a bag for water - it was he who would perform this miracle. Abraham went to the market and found such a man - it was Simon the Shoemaker. Abraham told Simon what had happened and explained what he should do.
The next day, all the participants of this story gathered at Mount Mukattam: the ruler, Abraham, Yakub and other witnesses. Simon threw a cross on the mountain three times, said “Lord, have mercy,” the same was done by the present Christians. And in the eyes of astonished people, Mount Mukattam moved to where Simon ordered it. The ruler recognized the victory of Abraham. And he decided to thank Simon and turned to him. But that and the trace was gone - Simon disappeared.
Since then, Simon the Shoemaker is canonized and is called Saint Simeon.
It was assumed that he was buried in the old cemetery of Cairo, but in the nineties of the last century, during archaeological excavations near the ancient church, that human remains were found at the foot of Mount Mukattam.The priests claim that this is the skeleton of St. Simeon.
It was in this place and it was decided to build a temple complex, which was done. It includes chapels, churches, a monastery and other Christian institutions.
The first church appeared here in 1975, but a year later it burned out. Then in its place was built a huge temple of more than a thousand square meters.
On the top floor of the monastery of St. Simeon is a hall that can accommodate two thousand people. Its walls are also decorated with bas-reliefs with biblical scenes.