Sleeping Mary Greek Orthodox Church (OLD CAIRO)
THIS LITTLE CHURCH placed in the back northern area of the Greek Orthodox cemetery next to the Church of St. George in Old Cairo, is dedicated to The Virgin Mary. The formal name, the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, tells the story of the belief that the Virgin Mary simply went to sleep, her body never experienced decay in her tomb and was directly taken, assumed, into heaven. This was the belief of early Christian communities.
Both Catholic and Orthodox Churches upheld this tradition even though it was not in the Gospels. During the sixth century the feast of the Dormition was begun by the Eastern Church. The Western churches taught the Assumption, the Orthodox that Mary went to sleep, her dormition.
Through the sanctuary to the left is a cave with a shrine to the Holy Family and a well that is said to have healing powers. It is also said the Holy Family stayed in this cave when on their return journey to Jerusalem.