Once a quarry for the pharaohs, now the largest church facility in the Middle East, Cairo’s Cave Church is several churches, in fact. Historically marginalized and evicted from Giza in 1970, a
community of Coptic Christians took up residence at the foot of the Mokattam hills in ‘Garbage City’, south east Cairo, where families earn their living by processing Cairo’s trash. Burned by
their previous experience, the religious group hesitated to build permanent churches in their settlement..
The first 1,000 square foot cave church was carved at the foot of Mokattam mountain. The largest in the Middle East – the Monastery of St. Simon the Tame, a Coptic Christian saint – has an amphitheatre that boasts a seating capacity of 20,000 devotees. St. Bola’s Church, St. Marks Church, and St. Simon the Tanner’s Hall are among the six additional cave churches carved out of the rock, which continue to serve the community to this day. Despite their status as outcasts, the Zabaleen Christians have proven themselves to be not only excellent craftsmen whose attention to detail in the cave churches is sensational, but their garbage recycling operations are exceptionally effcient.
The Zabaleen also used to raise pigs (which are considered Haram by Muslims), to manage Cairo’s organic waste as well. But then the government culled most of them in response to the swine flu epidemic in 2009. A small handful of pigs have made a quiet comeback since then, though they remain in hidden corners of Garbage City. Amidst increasing oppression, Egypt’s Christians are bold and full of joy. ‘You can’t help but rejoice as you hear them worship,’ says South African prayer leader Bennie Mostert. You can see some of the vibrant praise to Jesus on
youtube. Just type in Cairo Cave Church to see heartwarming videos.
Sat-7; Amusing Planet; Joel News International
Bible Study: 1 Thessalonians 3:12
PRAISE God that this beleaguered community is vibrant in its love, faith and hope in Christ.
PRAY that many Muslims will be moved to follow Christ.