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July 14, 2012

  Figure 1: Lantern outside a Coptic church in Cairo.

A beautiful Coptic lantern in front of a Coptic church in Cairo.[i] The decorative motif is Christian displaying bundles of grapes (representing the blood of Christ, and also the wine used in Mass) and the famous Coptic cross. The date of its manufacture is unknown but looks to me as early 20th century.

Update (22 July 2012):

 The beautiful photograpg by Scott D. Haddow showing the entrance to the Hanging Church, and the beautiful two Coptic lanterns of each side.

When I posted the beautiful photograph of Coptic lantern in my original article “Coptic Lantern”, I wasn’t sure of its location other than it was outside a Coptic church in Cairo. I can confirm now it is at the entrance to the Hanging Church (al-Kanisa al-Mu’allaqa) in Old Cairo (or Coptic Cairo) which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as the magnificent picture by the photographer Scott D. Haddow, above, would prove. You can see that there are two lanterns, one on each side of the entrance.

The Hanging Church which dates to the early Christian centuries, and has been a frequent destination of tourists and visitors, is perhaps the most beautiful church in Cairo. The Church’s historical, archaeological, artistic, and spiritual significance is enormous. The entrance to the church from Shari’a Mari Jirjis (St. George Street) is, likewise, the most beautiful entrance of all churches of Egypt. It has wooden gate under pointed stone arch, and is beautifully decorated. Above the door a script in Arabic that reads “إسألوا تعطوا، إطلبوا تجدوا، إقرعوا يفتح لكم” (Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you).[1]At the top of the facade is a script strip in Coptic and Arabic which represent a prayer for those who sponsored the building of the entrance.

The date of this entrance is more modern, but for that we shall return in another article.

[1] Matthew 7:7 (KJV).

[i] The picture is credited to


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