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Tin Church

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Chronology
  • 979 27 November: miracle of the moving of Muqattam Mountain through the prayers of Simaan the Tanner.
  • 1890s Migrations of Muslim people from oases to Cairo.
  • 1900s  Migrations of poor Christian families from Upper Egypt to Cairo and their engagement in rubbish collection.
  • 1969 Government moves the rubbish collectors to Manshiyat Nasir district, under Muqattam Mountain.
  • 1972 The rubbish collector Qiddees invites Brother Farahat to visit his people, the zeballeen.
  • 1974 Brother Farahat comes to the zeballeen area. First meeting of church in building of corrugated iron. Bishop Samweel registers Society of Rubbish Collectors.
  • 1975 Brother Farahat's wife, Su'aad, starts a school with two kindergarten classes.
  • 1976 Fire destroys Manshiyat Nasir: redevelopment begins. Construction of church below the mountain on a site of 1,000 square meters. Healing of Adham's head. First visit of the Coptic Patriarch, Pope Shenouda.
  • 1978 Ordination of Brother Farahat as Father Simaan. First modern celebration of festival of St Simaan.
  • 1980s World Bank, Egyptian government and private agencies get involved in redeveloping Manshiyat Nasir. Rubbish collection service extended to low-income families.
  • 1986  Opening of 'the cavern' as a permanent place of worship. Discovery of site of Anba Boula.
  • 1991  Opening of the Church of Anba Boula seating 400 people.
  • 1992 Earthquake leads to resettlement of people from other parts of Cairo on the Muqattam Mountain. Some remains of St Simaan are brought in procession to the church named after him. (Other remains go to the Church of St Mary and the Hanging Church in Old Cairo.)
  • 1993  School sponsored by the Patmos Foundation of Finland opens.
  • 1994  Opening of Patmos Hospital. Re-opening of 'the cavern' as a Roman-style amphitheatre on a site of 10,000 square meters. Three other churches open for worship: St Mark, the Angel & St John and Anba Abraam.
  • 1996  Father Simaan receives the Robert Pierce Award for Christian Service, presented by World Vision.
  • 1997  Some 120,000 people visit the Muqattam Mountain site during two weeks of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

Transferring experience from one culture to another is a delicate process. My sincere thanks go to friends in Egypt, who shared their insights, and those in England {starting with Naomi Starkey}, who helped me to express them to the British reader.

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