The Church of the Holy Virgin (ZAYTUN)
THE CHURCH STANDS ON TUMANBEY STREET IN ZAYTUN, CAIRO. In 1924 Tawfiq Bey Khalil entrusted the Italian architect Limongelli to erect a church there for the Holy Virgin Mary. We are told that Khalil Ibrahim Pasha had seen a vision of the Virgin, who ordered him to build a church in which she would appear fifty years later.
On the evening of April 2, 1968, the employees of the municipal garage in front of the church witnessed the first apparition of the Virgin. The apparitions in bright blue or orange light recurred several times until the beginning of September. The Virgin was often seen accompanied by doves on the dome or on one of the windows of the northeastern copula of the church. Thousands of pilgrims, both Christians and Muslims, flocked to witness the miraculous event.
In 1969 Patriarch Cyril VI (1959-1971) sanctioned a liturgical feast of the Transfiguration of the Holy Virgin Mary; it is celebrated on the fourth day of the Coptic month Baramhat.
The wooden screen of the sanctuary is decorated with two large depictions of Christ and the Virgin and Child. The dome features a large painting of the Virgin. In 2000 an Italian team of conservators cleaned and preserved the beautiful interior decoration of the church on the occasion of the two-thousand-year celebration of the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt.