Deir el-Muharraq in Egypt

Deir el-Muharraq

Just south of El Qusiya is Deir el-Muharraq. Known as the Burnt Monastery, it is claimed that Mary and Jesus spent six months and ten days here on their flight from Herod in Egypt, their longest stay-over anywhere. There are about 100 monks here, but between June 18th and 28th, for ten days thousands of pilgrims attend feasts to celebrate the consecration of the Church of al-Adhra (Church of the Virgin), which was built over the cave. Many Coptics hold this church in high esteem, believing it to be one of the first Christian churches in the Egypt.The altar stone is dated 747 AD. Next to the church is a square tower built to provided additional defenses in case of hostile attacks (many desert monasteries have fortifications). Behind al-Adhra is the Church of St. George (Mari Girgis), which was built in 1880 and has a number of religious paintings including the 12 apostles. The monastery is unusual in that it is one of the only ones in Egypt that is not located in the desert.