Church known as
St. George Church
H. G. BISHOP BIGOL
of the holy virgin mary
Monastery at al-muharraq mount
H. H. POPE TWADROS II
the 118THpope of
alexandria and patriarch of
the see of St.mark
The area where the Monastery of Al-Muharraq is located at Mount Qosqam, was a barren desert and so every town surrounding it today was non-existent, except for an abandoned house and a water well adjacent to it. The Holy Family; (the Child Jesus and His mother St. Mary, St. Joseph the carpenter and Salome, who was their helper), rested in this modest house after it was repaired by St. Joseph. They settled in Qosqam for a period of six “Coptic” months and a few days (185 days).
The Ancient Area
The Holy Virgin Mary Ancient ChurchThis church is the oldest in the monastery and is unique in its simple structure, taking into consideration the maintenance, repairs and modifications that have been made through the history of the church. It cannot be categorized under the geometrical style of the architectural art of any Coptic churches. In other words, it is distinguished by its simple and unsophisticated - not factitious - architectural structure. It is built of sun - dried brick. Its
Walls are unsymmetrical and unsystematic. There are no ornamental ancient Coptic patterns, engravings, dappling, variegations or drawings on its walls...etc.
THE ANCIENT KEEPThe history of the keep began in 6th/7th century. However some archaeologists dated back to the 8th century. It is one of the smallest Keeps existing now in the inhabited monasteries. Generally speaking, keeps were built to protect the monks against barbarian fierce raids.
The first and biggest keep was built in St. Macarius Monastery in Shiheete Wilderness in the 5th century, during the reign of King Zeno (Zenon) who died in 491 A.D. It is known that Saint Illaria, daughter
Of King Zeno, who escaped from the Emperor’s palace disguised in?
Male clothing. Long after King Zeno discovered that matter, began to donate money and gifts generously and compassionately to St. Macarius Monastery, along with other monasteries. When he learnt of the barbarian raids on Shiheet Wilderness, King Zeno ordered for keeps to be built in the monasteries starting with St. Macarius. (See Coptic Monasticism, Abu Makar Monastery, p: 394 - 395, 591 - 620, Arabic edition).
The Holy Virgin Mary Church Known as St. George ChurchThe church was established in the late 18th century, with very simple resources.
In 1878 A.D., the Monastery Abbot, started establishing a new church called “The Holy Virgin Mary” over the ruins of St. George Church. He accomplished it in 1880 A.D.; named the northern altar after “John the Baptist”, and the southern altar after “St. George”, on the basis that the middle altar is in the new name of the church “The Holy Virgin Mary”.
A notable characteristic of this church is the Byzantine/Greek styled Iconostasis.
A number of biblical verses are carved on this iconostasis, in a one of the most beautiful Arabic calligraphy, as well as selected decorative ornamentals.