The Apparition of Virgin Mary in Assiut, the western mountain, 1988
Thousands of Christians are used to going to Dronka, Assiut in order to celebrate the Marian feast during its final days every year. One of the most important apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Dronka, Assiut was her apparition in 1988 over Dronka for two hours, and this was witnessed by more than a thousand visitors. That apparition of the Virgin Mary was followed by white doves flying in the darkness of the night above the monastery.
As related and clarified through the Coptic Church Tradition, that the southwestern part of the old cave is one of the last destinations on the Holy Family's journey through Egypt. In the late 60s there were some Coptic girls who had dedicated themselves to Jesus Christ and they spent their time praying and worshipping God. Once they were praying inside the cave by the light of the candles, and all of a sudden, a small luminous spot appeared in the southern part of the cave and expanded gradually until it filled the whole cave. That miracle granted this cave many blessings and caused it to be a special holy place.
Why the western mountain in Assiut is considered a holy location?
Dronka, Assiut was one of the main places that was visited by the Holy Family on their journey through Egypt escaping from Herod. According to the Ecclesiastical Tradition of the Coptic Church, it is known that there is a sculpted cave in the mountain that dated back to the reign of the pharaohs. It was inhabited by the Egyptians escaping from the flood which was covering their lands around four months per year. These Egyptian inhabitants welcomed the Holy Family, and the Holy Family lived with them for a while.
When the Egyptians began to believe in Christianity, it made sense to transform this cave that was blessed by the Holy Family, into a church – named after the Virgin Mary. When monasticism spread throughout Egypt, this church was transferred to a monastery under the patronage of Fr. Peter El Assiuty. He lived in the wilderness of Sheheet for ten years, after which he moved Western Mountain in Assiut. He remained there for 30 years in a cave that he had dug for himself. The cave is about 100 meters north of St. Mary’s Monastery.