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Posted on September 15, 2010 | Updated on October 25, 2010


RARE COPTIC ICONS

Photographer shares 10 year's worth of historic images


Photographer Romany Latif just sent us some amazing shots from the Monastery of Saint Anthony Red Sea. View his large collection of rare photos from Egyptian monasteries and churches at www.romanylatif.com!

Author Paul Perry also visited several monasteries during the production of the Visions and Miracles: Out of the Land of Egypt documentary, most notably the Monastery of the Martyrs in Akhmim. To receive Visions and Miracles updates and the latest on Paul's journey in Egypt, be sure to become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/VisionsAndMiracles.

Posted on August 30, 2010

 

 

SCREENING AT ST. MARK'S

On August 1, 2010, Paul Perry presented Visions and Miracles: Out of the Land of Egypt at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ. Church-goers had previously viewed Perry's other work, Jesus: The Lost Years. They were excited to see his latest documentary on the religious visions and miraculous events of modern day Egypt!

To organize a screening in your community, please contact us at info[at]visionsandmiracles.com.

Posted on August 5, 2010

 

A VISION OF LIGHT

The making of Visions and Miracles: Out of the Land of Egypt

An excerpt by Paul Perry

The photograph that runs with this column has been declared an official vision by bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. It consists of a mysterious spray of light coming down from the heavens directly over the church of St. Mark in Assiut, a Nile River town about 250 miles south of Cairo.

Egyptian legend say that it was near this spot that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him King Herod had died. From here the Holy Family began the return trip to Israel that would end its five year exile in Egypt, which Egyptian or "Coptic" Christians believe began on June 1st when the Holy Family crossed the border from Israel to get away from King Herod who wanted to kill the baby Jesus. There is nothing written in the Bible about what the Holy Family did nor what they learned on their flight to Egypt. But Egyptian Christians and Muslims have collected stories over the centuries and assembled a Holy Family Trail in their country, which includes 33 sites venerated by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I am the Westerner who took this photo. Several years before taking it I was in Egypt working on a documentary film about the stone temples of the Nile when I became obsessed with documenting the Holy Family's flight to Egypt. It represented a significant period in the life of the world 's most influential man. And although there was nothing about it in the Bible, I knew from my dealings with the people of this region that there were many stories in circulation about historical figures that had never been written down or were written in documents not included in the Bible.

At the monastery of Deir Muharraq, I was given the rare opportunity to visit the altar stone Coptics believe was used as a bed by Jesus for six months while the Holy Family lived in a house that was once on this site. This is the holiest spot in Egypt for Egyptian Christians, who consider this the "altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt" referred to in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Upon touching the altar stone, the monk accompanying me said that I should now pray for something I truly wanted. "No one is ever refused what they ask for at this altar," he declared.

My translator said I should pray for a best seller, but I thought of something I wanted even more. I wanted a sign from God that would answer the questions I had about the Holy Family trail. I stood silent for a moment while I formed the question in my head: is there truth in the Holy Family trail or is it all just folklore? Then I let it go in the form of a prayer.

The next night, at the church of St. Mark in Assiut, I became the first westerner to photograph the vision of light. Perplexed by the photo, I showed it to two Bishops and asked them what it meant. Both agreed that it was meant to be a personal message to a question I had asked God. I tried to take the experience apart in the way of Western science, but a Bishop told me I would ruin it if I chose to dissect it. "Receive it in the way that you feel it," he said.

I turned off my intellect and let my heart be my guide. The historic Jesus had eluded me, but the effects of his brief presence in this country were everywhere. I had seen the light, and that was enough.

Visions and Miracles: Out of the Land of Egypt is now available on DVD.

Posted on July 30, 2010