The Desert Fathers only discreetly revealed any apparition of saints or angels. In the Apophthegmata patrum, it is mentioned that it is better to see our own sins than to see the angels. However, in the of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church, there are many references to apparitions of saints and the Virgin Mary. These apparitions took place usually in difficult times, such as times of persecutions or defeat. The French priest M. Vansleb listened to this phenomenon while visiting the Monastery of St. Damiana and did not believe it.

In the of the defeat of the army in 1967, the Virgin Mary appeared at the in the suburb of in Cairo, on the evening of 2 April 1968. Many people, both Christians and non-Christians, saw her and many took place. In the year 1986, the Virgin Mary appeared in the suburb of Shubra in a small church named after St. Damiana. This year is marked by the Islamist attacks against Coptic targets as well as tourists. Following the tensions between and Muslims in Upper Egypt, in the year 2000, the Virgin Mary appeared in the Church of St. Mark in Assiut.

Mahmud Salah, a Muslim author, wrote a book about the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Egypt in which he documented carefully all the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, both in Egypt and elsewhere (Haqiqat Dhuhur al-‘Azra’ [The Truth about the Virgin Apparition] Cairo, 2001). He investigated the apparitions and concluded that they are real.