//Skip to content

The Colossal Cave Church of St. Simon

February 23, 2022

Tucked into the cliffside is a sight unlike any other: etched likenesses of the Holy Family are paired with pale sunlight, rows of modest pews and unparalleled glory: The Monastery of Saint Simon is more than a religious place of worship; it is a place of worshiping beauty and heritage, the meeting point of the divine and the man-made in a bloom of architectural inventiveness. Sitting at the base of al-Mokattam hills, the site was initially created to cater to the large population of Coptic Christians in the area; they were a humble group, from modest upbringings and without a centralized place of worship that could attend their spiritual needs. The Monastery of Saint Simon was a remedy to this, a solution that came in 1975. It borrows the name of Simon the Tanner, a craftsman saint who lived during the 10th century AD; “the cave church that was dedicated to him seems as though it might last for ten more [centuries].” With seven individual chapels making up the monastery, it is considered the largest church in the region and is considered a place of pilgrimage for many who traverse…

Hi guest,

You've read all of your free articles.
Subscribe now to support independent journalism and to enjoy:

Unlimited access to all our articles

Exclusive events and offers

First access to new premium newsletters

Ability to comment on articles

Full user profile