Dayr Abu Hinnis

Dayr Abu Hinnis is a Christian village, with three Orthodox, and two Evangelical churches. The most important location related to the Holy Family is Kom Maria ‘the hill of Maria’, a slightly elevated hill of sand just outside the village , where the Holy Virgin is said to have rested. Kom Maria is less than one kilometer from the fifth century Church of Abu Hinnis, it was founded by St. John the Short, a Coptic hermit and saint who once lived in Wadi Al-Natrun, but fled to this area in 407 A.D. after the Wadi had been attacked by raiders.

Remarkable in this area are the dozens of sixth century hermit caves and the rock-cut church in the mountains between Dayr Abu Hinnis and Dayr al-Barsha. On walls of caves, one will see the beautiful muruals of the archangel instructing Joseph to take the Holy Family to Egypt, and the King Herod giving orders to slay the children of Bethlehem. These are among the oldest murals in the world depicting the Fight into Egypt.

The area of Kom Maria and Dayr Abu Hinnis is usually quiet with only a few people coming for prayer. But, if you go there in January, when the church commemorates the murder of the children of Bethlehem or in June, when the feast of the Holy Family takes place. You will witness an unsurpassed celebration. The bishop of Mallawi will decide the the exact days of the celebrations every year. On the celebration day, the Bishop will cross the Nile in a boat decorated with paintings of the Holy Family. He then will walk with the congregation in a very heart-touching procession with icons and singing deacons through the village ending at Kom Maria.

Dayr Abu Hinnis in Celebration

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