Last Update: 9 April 2006: Holy light in Assiut (Watani - issue of 9 April 2006; in English) (mirror copy)
Apparition in Assiut: Eyewitness Account (in English)
Statement from the Coptic Orthodox Metropolitanate of Assiut (Watani - issue of 9 April 2006; in Arabic)
Heavenly lights reappear in Assiut on Wednesday 29 March 2006 (Watani - issue of 2 April 2006; in Arabic)
See also: Videos; Photos; More videos and photos: , ; Official Church statement (5 April 2006; in Arabic)
20 April 2001: Our Lady of Assiut Revisited (Watani International - 15 April 2001; in English)
Related Miracle: The Holy Light as it appears from the Holy Sepulchre - Jerusalem
1 March 2001: Miraculous light in Assiut (English and Arabic articles and photos)
21 February 2001: Watani 18 February 2001 - International (English) Edition and Page 5 of the Arabic Edition
7 February 2001: Watani report on miracles of cure (Arabic)
23 January 2001: Real Photos of the Luminous Doves (Watani)
Marian Update: Science Stunned by Virgin of Guadalupe´s Eyes
3 January 2001: Watani report of 31 December 2000
29 December 2000: Watani report of 24 December 2000
22 December 2000: Watani report of 17 December 2000 (with photo)
12 December 2000: H.H. Pope Shenouda III Approves Assiut Apparitions (Watani Report - 10 December 2000)
8 December 2000: Pope Implores Mary´s Aid for New Millennium - "Mary Guides Our Steps to Meet the Lord"
7 December 2000: Ten More Videos (clips 16 to 25; zipped)
All clips require or later
2 December 2000: Watani report of 26 November 2000 - A Latin Catholic nun from Columbia recounts what she has witnessed in Assiut on 28 October 2000 (English/Arabic)
1 December 2000: Eleven Additional Videos (zipped)
All clips require or later
23 November 2000: Watani report and photos (19/11/00)
18 November 2000 - Three Additional Videos: Clip 1: assiut2.wmv, Clip 2: assiut3.wmv, Clip 3: assiut4.wmv; you may also listen to a Traditional Coptic Marian Hymn
All clips require or later
12 November 2000: Watani report
5 November 2000: Watani report with photos (English/Arabic)
29 October 2000: Watani report (Arabic only)
22 October 2000: Real photo of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary photographed by Dr. Helmy Nazmy Beshara (thumbnail on the right). The luminous apparitions continue to increase accompanied by miracles of cure
15 October 2000: Nearly two million persons have witnessed Assiut Apparitions to date - Read Watani semi-official Coptic Orthodox weekly newspaper, 15 October 2000 - Page 5 on Assiut Apparitions (in Arabic)
Pope reveals Mary's role in his life
13 October 2000: Reflections about Assiut Apparitions
Declaration of the Coptic Priests in Assiut
(El-Keraza Official Coptic Orthodox Magazine)
11 October 2000: An Eyewitness Report with Real Photos
8 October 2000: The dazzling apparition lights continue over the domes and towers of St. Mark's Church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, accompanied with miracles of healing (Watani)
The largest meeting of Catholic bishops since Vatican II concluded on Sunday 8 October 2000, when Pope John Paul II -- surrounded by 80 cardinals and more than 1,500 bishops (a third of the world's total) -- solemnly prayed for the protection of the Virgin Mary over the entire world and entrusted humanity and the third
millennium to Her (Vatican - ZENIT.org; see below)
1 October 2000: St. Mark's Church becomes a shrine for pilgrims from all over the world (Watani)
24 September 2000 - His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and His Grace Metropolitan Anba Michael of Assiut: The Coptic Orthodox Church is currently following observantly the apparitions of the Holy Virgin Mary and other spiritual phenomena at St. Mark’s Church, Assiut (Watani)
His Holiness Pope John Paul II says Jubilee is occasion to rediscover Mary (Zenit - 24 September 2000)
Video: Assiut - Light from Heaven
Requires or later
+ Listen to Part of the Holy Rosary in Arabic
+ Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed
On the 17th of August 2000, the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary started Her apparitions at St. Mark's Church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, accompanied by glorious lights and big, bright white doves. Those who have witnessed the apparitions have reported seeing dazzling supernatural lights and blue-green flashes over the church (without any source of light to explain them). Many residents and pilgrims also recount seeing the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary in a full figure. This is just a glimpse of what "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). May God be glorified forever. Amen.
See also: An Eyewitness Report with Real Photos
On the official level: During his recent visit to the US and Canada (August 2000), His Holiness Pope Shenouda III confirmed the validity of the reports of these apparitions. Pope Shenouda said that these apparitions are a message of comfort from heaven and one of confirmation of the faith of Copts, that heaven is aware of their struggle and is pleased by their perseverance. Moreover, in El-Keraza Magazine dated 15 September 2000, which is the official newspaper of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a short news paragraph said:
"Since Friday 18 August 2000, thousands of people gathered around the old Church of St. Mark in Assiut to view spiritual appearances of Virgin Mary. A declaration on those appearances was issued by the Diocese of Assiut and was published in Watani Newspaper."
It is noteworthy that 2000 years ago, the Holy Family visited Assiut when they fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). You may download this small program (576 Kb - for Microsoft® Windows® 9x/Me/NT/2000) to learn more about the journey of the Holy Family in Egypt.
Following is the official Church report on the apparitions in Arabic (Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2019 (Vol. 42) Sunday 3 September, 2000 - Page 1).
ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) -- Thousands of Egyptians and some foreigners have been flocking to this southern Egyptian city in recent weeks where residents say they've seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary and a flock of exceptionally large, white pigeons in an inexplicable shining light.
Hundreds flock to Egyptian town for glimpse of Virgin Mary
September 4, 2000
Since the first reported apparition on Aug. 17 in skies surrounding the dome of Saint Mark's church, villagers and visitors have descended on the neighborhood, waiting in the streets and on rooftops for a glimpse of Mary.
The city's local Coptic Christian synod released a statement on Sunday stating that civilians had reported seeing "spiritual features" on several occasions and at different times since Aug. 17. The statement did not say whether religious leaders had confirmed any sightings personally.
"I haven't seen any light," Father Baki Sedka, head of the first biblical church (protestant), a neighboring church to Saint Mark, told The Associated Press on Monday night. "I stayed up all night and I didn't see anything except a few pigeons."
"The appearance of a few pigeons doesn't justify a miracle," Sedka said. "This case needs a lot of consideration before we can authoritatively assert these sightings."
Since word of the apparition spread, the synod said thousands of Egyptians and some foreigners have come to Assiut, 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Cairo, the capital, where they've been singing hymns and reciting prayers while waiting for the next vision to appear.
Copts make up less than 10 percent of the population in Egypt, where Islam is the state religion. Assiut has a substantial Coptic Christian population, but also has been a hotbed for Islamic fundamentalism and sight of violent attacks targeting Christians and tourists.
Zeitun-eg.org: Ordinary pigeons do not fly by night!
From BBC News
Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK
Virgin Mary 'appears' in Egypt
The apparitions come months after the Pope's (John Paul II) visit to Egypt
By Caroline Hawley in Cairo
Church officials in southern Egypt say thousands of Christians have been converging on the town of Assiut after reported sightings of the Virgin Mary.
The secretary of the Council of Churches in Assiut told the BBC the town had never experienced anything like it.
He said people had been sleeping in the streets around the Church of St Mark, where the apparitions happened, and standing on rooftops to catch a glimpse.
Assiut has been best known until now as a stronghold of Islamic militancy during the 1990s.
Light, incense and pigeons
Christians in Assiut say the first apparition came two-and-a-half weeks ago but that there have since been several more.
One woman told the BBC she had had two sightings, both times between three o'clock and six o'clock in the morning.
She said she had seen the Virgin Mary with outstretched hands and a light emanating from them, accompanied by a smell of incense and large numbers of pigeons.
The birds seem to be a common element of the sightings.
The secretary of the Assiut Council of Churches, Father Mina Hanna, said other people had seen a big white, brightly lit pigeon appearing and disappearing - but he said the apparitions were different each time.
He would no reveal if he had had a personal experience himself.
But another priest has been quoted as saying he spent the entire night awake and saw only ordinary pigeons, and that that was not a miracle.
None the less, Father Hanna said the reported sightings were "a blessing" for Assiut.
The priest said relations between Christians and Muslims were now very good and that the sightings had made people of both religions happy.
10 September 2000: The Apparitions Continue...
Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2020 (Vol. 42) Sunday 10 September, 2000 - Pages 1 and 4
Light from Heaven
Pilgrims, Residents in Southern Egypt Report Seeing Virgin Mary
An apparition of the Virgin Mary has been spotted in the small Egyptian town of Assiut.
By Hoda Abdel-Hamid
C A I R O, Egypt, Sept. 11 Every night Marcelle Maurice comes to Saint Mark’s church in the little town of Assiut, Egypt, to stand outside and watch the sky. She says she sees an apparition of the Virgin Mary every night. "I saw the Virgin Mary, flashing lights and big white doves," says Marcelle, clutching her 5-year-old daughter.
Like her, thousands of Egyptians have been flocking to this southern Egyptian town more than 300 miles south of Cairo, once known as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism.
Outside the church, hopeful pilgrims each night chant "Come Mary, Come," or "Your Light is on the Cross," hoping to beseech the Virgin Mary to appear between the two towers of the church, as she has done the previous nights, they say.
Muslims also revere the Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ--considered a prophet in the Islamic faith--but their religion prohibits them from worshipping images.
Witnesses say the apparitions occur in the wee hours of the morning. "I saw Mary, she was beautiful, wearing a blue veil," says Sarwat Hani Marzouk.
"Light was emanating from her hands, then doves start flying, they were as big as ducks." Others say they simply saw strobe-like lights and big doves flying around the minarets of the church.
‘A Blessing for Egypt’
People living around Saint Mark’s church began reporting the appearances last month.
"The first time we heard of the Virgin’s apparition was on Aug.17," says one local resident. "We did not give it too much importance as we thought it was an isolated case."
But the day after, he said, "more people reported the same and then hundreds and thousands."
Father Labib, from the nearby Orthodox Copt Dronka Monastery, is excited by the sighting. "If you look for the source of the light , you can’t find it. This is light from heaven" he says.
Father Mina Hanna, secretary of the Assiut Council of Coptic churches, says the Virgin chose to appear in the town of Assiut because she had journeyed there during the Holy Family’s exile from Herod’s Palestine.
Coptic Christians, who form the bulk of Egypt’s 6 million Christians, believe the Holy Family stopped in Assiut on their way back to Palestine.
The Priest would not say whether he has seen any appearances of Mary at the church, but, he said, "This is a blessing for Muslims and Christians alike. It is a blessing for Egypt."
Christians make up about a quarter of the population of Assiut.
Fortunate Turn of Events
Skeptics, however, say the apparitions are rather timely. Since the massacre of 58 foreigners in 1997 at the popular tourist site of Luxor, Egypt has struggled with external perceptions of its religious tolerance.
Assiut , among other towns along the Nile, was closed to the outside world for security reasons.The government has began an ambitious 3-year plan to revamp the sites where Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are said to have stayed during their exile, hoping to promote religious tourism.
Egypt’s main weekly magazine, Rosa el Yousef, dismissed the apparitions as a "legend."
But British and Egyptian journalists who have been to Assiut said suddenly there were flashing lights in the sky and they could not find the source.
Authenticated photo of the Apparition Lights
Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2021 (Vol. 42) Sunday 17 September, 2000 - Page 1
24 September 2000
Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2022 (Vol. 42) Sunday 24 September, 2000 - Page 1
1 October 2000
Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2023 (Vol. 42) Sunday 1 October, 2000 - Page 1: St. Mark's Church becomes a shrine for pilgrims from all over the world
8 October 2000
Watani Egyptian Newspaper - Issue No. 2024 (Vol. 42) Sunday 8 October, 2000 - Page 1: The dazzling apparition lights continue over the domes and towers of St. Mark's Church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, accompanied by miracles of healing
POPE SAYS JUBILEE IS OCCASION TO REDISCOVER MARY
Conclusion of International Congress Dedicated to Mother of Christ
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- On a day marking two Marian events, John Paul said, "The Jubilee of the Son is also the Jubilee of the Mother."
The events were the end of an international congress dedicated to Mary, and the Jubilee of Marian Shrines around the world.
During a Mass in St. Peter’s Square, attended by 50,000 faithful, the Holy Father spoke about the love that Christ's followers, and not just Catholics, should have for Mary.
John Paul II cited a passage from St. Mark's Gospel in which Christ embraces a child and gives him as an example to his disciples. The Holy Father said it is a lesson given by the one who, although above all, did not hesitate to become "the least of all."
In this way, the Pope explained, one can understand better Mary's greatness, whose primacy is "rooted in humility," and whose privileged relation with the Holy Spirit "did not free her from the hardships of the human condition during her earthly life."
"Mary totally lived the daily reality of so many families of her time," he said. "She experienced poverty, pain, exile, misunderstanding. Her spiritual greatness does not 'distance' her from us: She traveled our road and has been in solidarity with us in the 'pilgrimage of faith.'"
The celebration of 2000 years of Christianity, therefore, is also dedicated to the Virgin, the Holy Father said. Hence, he added, the Jubilee is not just an opportunity to live with a stronger love for Christ, but also to experience "renewed Marian devotion."
The Bishop of Rome specified the fundamental principles that must guide this devotion for the Virgin that, at times, has been tainted by superstitions. Above all, he said, true devotion "must be well founded on Scripture and Tradition," and that the believer must find in the liturgy "a sure orientation for the most spontaneous manifestations of popular religiosity."
The Pope also said that devotion must not be based on words but "must be expressed by an effort to imitate Holy Mary on the road of personal improvement."
In order to overcome "every form of superstition and vain credulity," the Pope advised the faithful to accept "in the right way, in harmony with ecclesial discernment, the extraordinary manifestations that the Blessed Virgin often grants for the good of the people of God."
The Holy Father called for healthy prudence given the numerous Marian apparitions that are claimed today around the world. Yet, he added, Mary continues to communicate her message of love to people, at times in a surprising manner.
Finally, if love for the Virgin is real, "it must always be able to rise to the source of the greatness of Mary, in an incessant 'Magnificat' of praise to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
At the end of the Mass, before reciting the Angelus with the pilgrims, the Pope mentioned the places of Marian devotion that celebrated their Jubilee today.
Along with Lourdes (France), Fatima (Portugal), Guadalupe (Mexico), Lujan (Argentina), Jasna Gora (Poland), he mentioned the lesser-known shrines, such as Lavang (Vietnam), Walsingham (England), Knock (Ireland), the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.), Our Lady of the Good Voyage (Philippines), Velankanni (India), Ostra Brama (Lithuania), Merced (Ecuador), Montserrat (Puerto Rico) and Our Lady of the Angels (Costa Rica).
John Paul II also announced that the Diocese of Le Puy-en-Velay in France will host the next international congress dedicated to the Mother of Christ.
JOHN PAUL II ENTRUSTS THIRD MILLENNIUM TO MARY
Ceremony Before the Statue of the Virgin of Fatima
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- In a moving ceremony, and with 1,500 bishops on hand, John Paul II entrusted humanity and the third millennium to the protection of the Virgin Mary.
The Pope pronounced the solemn words before the original image of the
Virgin of Fatima, which was brought to St. Peter's Square for the occasion.
In the statue's crown was the bullet that almost ended the Pope's life on
May 13, 1981.
St. Peter's Square was a sea of people. The statue of Fatima was received
with enthusiastic applause, brought in procession and followed by John Paul
II. The Holy Father was visibly moved by the event.
During the homily at the concelebrated Mass, John Paul II described the
scene of faith and prayer unfolding before him as a "great cenacle." He
first addressed the bishops who were celebrating their special Jubilee.
"Given the relativism and subjectivism that contaminate a large part of
contemporary culture, bishops are called to defend and promote the
doctrinal unity of their faithful," the Holy Father said.
"Attentive to every situation where the faith is lost or ignored," he
added, "bishops work with all their strength in favor of evangelization,
preparing priests, religious and laity with this objective in mind."
The most awaited moment came at the end, which Vatican Radio described as
the "zenith" of the Holy Year. At noon, the pontiff pronounced the act of
entrustment of all humanity to the Virgin Mary at the dawn of the third
The Pope spoke on behalf of all the world's pastors when he asked Mary for
her maternal protection, confidently imploring her intercession given the
challenges the future holds.
"Today we wish to entrust to you the future that awaits us, and we ask you
to be with us on our way," he said. "We are the men and women of an
extraordinary time, exhilarating yet full of contradictions.
"Humanity now has instruments of unprecedented power: We can turn this
world into a garden, or reduce it to a pile of rubble. We have devised the
astounding capacity to intervene in the very wellsprings of life: Man can
use this power for good, within the bounds of the moral law, or he can
succumb to the shortsighted pride of a science that accepts no limits, but
tramples on the respect due to every human being.
"Today, as never before in the past, humanity stands at a crossroads. And,
once again, O Virgin Most Holy, salvation lies fully and uniquely in Jesus,
The Holy Father entrusted all humanity to the Mother of God, beginning with
the weakest: "the babies yet unborn, and those born into poverty and
suffering, the young in search of meaning, the unemployed, and those
suffering hunger and disease. We entrust to you all troubled families, the
elderly with no one to help them, and all who are alone and without hope."
"O Mother," he said, "you know the sufferings and hopes of the Church and
the world: Come to the aid of your children in the daily trials that life
brings to each one, and grant that, thanks to the efforts of all, the
darkness will not prevail over the light."
At the end, when the Virgin of Fatima was taken to St. Peter's Basilica,
John Paul II greeted the thousands of waving pilgrims from his
"popemobile." However, the great majority did not leave the square.
Thousands waited as long as was necessary, in some cases for hours, to be
able to see the statue of Our Lady of Fatima before it returns to Portugal