All posts tagged: Monastery of Saint Simon

Inside Egypt's cave church where 70,000 meet in services on a weekly basis. The church can seat 20,000 inside and thousands more outside. Photo: vagabondblogger/Flickr/Creative Commons

Egyptian cave church has 70,000 people attending services every week

I was surprised to find out one of the largest churches in the world is found in Egypt. With the increased activity of Muslim militants, Christians are increasingly under threat in the Middle East and many are leaving. But in the midst of this turmoil, a church thrives in Mokattam mountain located southeast of Cairo, Egypt. Over 70,000 people attend the weekly services held at the Coptic church built into the mountain, that is part of the ancient Monastery of Saint Simon. The church itself holds about 20,000 people including those who sit inside and out. There are also several other chapels built in caves inside the mountain that connect with the main sanctuary. Though a Coptic church, it has a definite Charismatic flavor as you can see in a video of a service below as the congregation sings “Emmanuel”: So who attends this church? Most of them are Zabbaleens, literally “garbage people.” They etch out a living pouring through Cairo’s (population 6.8 million) massive garbage dumps. The Zabbaleens were originally farmers who came to …