THE VIRGIN'S APPARITION: WHY AT EL-ZEITOUN, IN PARTICULAR?
In my belief, the apparition has two missions, one of which has been accomplished, and the other will be accomplished in due time.
The one that has been accomplished is the consolidation of faith at a time when heresy spread and when materialistic beliefs, i.e. communism and dissipation, deny resurrection, immortality, the existence of the soul and of God and of the Metaphysical.
The apparition of the Virgin, then, was a strong urge that has strengthened the faith of the believers and disproved the claims of the sceptics.
The apparition of the Virgin has consolidated the Orthodox creed. Had we been in the wrong, the Virgin would not have made Her apparition for a whole year over the domes of an Orthodox church. THE MOTHER VIRGIN HAS THUS MADE HER APPARITION OVER THE DOMES OF THE CHURCH THAT HAS PRESERVED FAITH FOR US!
It is an act of Providence that the Virgin Mary Church at El-Zeitoun should become a sacred visiting-place at a time when the Copts were denied the right to visit the Holy Places in Jerusalem because of the occupation of the city. This apparition was also the herald of the forthcoming victory of our valiant army that crossed the canal and destroyed Ber-Lev line (1973).
As for the mission that has not been accomplished; it is still unknown to us. It must impart a lot of good to all the world, to our land and to the cause of peace. We are looking forward to it.
WHY HAS THE VIRGIN MADE HER APPARITION?
The Arabic word El-Zeitoun means "olives," and olives are the symbol for peace. When Noah sent a pigeon to see if the water had receded, it returned with an olive branch in its beak indicating the appearance of trees and of life in general.
When Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, He was welcomed by the crowds carrying olive branches and shouting: "Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." Olive branches are thus a symbol of salvation and of peace.
According to the law of Moses, olive oil was used in the lantern upheld in the tabernacle of faith.
When we chant for the Virgin on the first day of Bashans (a Coptic month) we say: "Peace be on thee, O Mary. Peace be on Mary, the source of the righteous. Peace be on Her who is more chaste than the angels. Peace be on the "olive tree", the basis of all believers. Peace be on the blessed Mother of Christ.
The olive tree is ever-green; so, it is a symbol of growth, of fertility, of constant regeneration and of the integrated fruitful Christian life that does not wither.
On the Mount of Olives the Saviour used to spend the night praying, and on the eve of His suffering, the earth was soaked with his sweat that flowed like drops of blood. So, that land has been sanctified ever since.
Furthermore, the Virgin has made Her apparition at El-Zeitoun because in that place, in particular, She and Her beloved Son had rest from the weariness of travel during the Holy Family's Journey to Egypt.