Last saturday I had the chance of visiting the monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi el Natroun with a group of friends. And I must say it really is a beautiful place.
Actually this was my second time to visit it, but this visit was very special to me. first of all I discovered a lot about the coptic traditions, and also had the priviledge to talk with Father Kyriulius. He is really a great and pure man, when he was talking about the universal language of love (love of God and of all the human kind), I almost had tears in my eyes. And the monks there were all very kind to me even though I am just another veiled girl visiting the place.
In Wadi El Natroun there are four monasteries:
the monastery of Saint Macarius (Anba Maqar),
the monastery of St Mary (known as the monastery of the Romans, or Deir Al-Baramus);
the monastery of the Holy Virgin and John Kame (known as the monastery of the Syrians, or Deir Al-Suryan);
and the monastery of St Bishoy (Anba Pschoi).
St. Macarius monastery can be considered the most important one. Note that it requirs a prior notification before entrance.
There are the relics of the forty nine martyers killed by the Berbers and buried in the church of the Elders. Also the relics of John the Baptiste lies there after being transported from Jerusalem to Alexandria and then to the monastery (according to the monk who guided us in the monastery).
I learned about Father Matta El Meskeen (20 September 1919 – June 8, 2006) who was the spiritual father of the monastery and who was a great scholar, he wrote many books (I bought from there “The Orthodox prayer life / حياة الصلاة ” which is supposed to be one of his first and most important books).
Among his quotes:(3)
“Whenever physical hunger turned cruel against me, I found my gratification in prayer. Whenever the biting cold of winter was unkind to me, I found my warmth in prayer. Whenever people were harsh to me (and their harshness was severe indeed) I found my comfort in prayer. In short, prayer became my food and my drink, my outfit and my armor, whether by night or by day.” –Father Matta El-Meskeen
This was indeed a memorable weekend.
(photos will be posted soon)