Last article tackled the care provided by Saint Pope Kyrillos VI to his congregation, and how did he serve with honest heart and abundant love that was obvious to all, he opened his door for every person, arming himself with prayer in solving problems and satisfying needs; thus, his papacy was a bright phase in the history of Egypt and the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Pope Kyrillos was father for all, spending hours in meeting his children, that he hardly cared for eating or having rest in order to receive his visitors. Reportedly, the reposed Anba Athanasius, Metropolitan of Beni Suef then, once went to visit Pope Kyrillos at 2:30 P.M to find His Holiness still receiving those who visited him after the Mass, while he had not eaten his breakfast yet! The father bishop insisted to accompany the pope to his cell in order to eat and have some rest. Few hours later, the father patriarch had returned to sit among his congregation and children for other hours, praying for and blessing them, listening to their complaints and needs! His Holiness used to ask about the sick priests, bishops and people, whether by visiting or calling, his disciple, Archpriest Rafael Ava Mina says: “During his early papacy, he visited the Coptic Hospital in Cairo and Alexandria, visiting first the third-class patients, which greatly impacted hearts.”
His Holiness’ love has been extended to all, that he even loved those who offended him; he prayed and offered love to them, accepting those who return repenting with a forgiving wide heart of a father who restored his son. One magazine used to attack His Holiness through articles for long time, yet it was shut down one day; however, His Holiness mediated for all who worked there to be compensated with jobs in other newspapers.
In light of such sacrificing service, overwhelming love, and a life of constant prayer, heaven bore witness to the Pope’s holiness, his era was honored by the heavenly apparitions of the Saint Lady Virgin, on the domes of her church in Al-Zaitoun in 1968, which we celebrated on the second of last April. At half past eight in the evening of Tuesday 2/4/1968, one of the Public Transport Authority Garage guards, as he was approaching the church, saw a girl walking over its dome; he, as well as his companions, started shouting, thinking that she wanted to commit suicide! Passers-by gathered called the police who came, but everyone noticed that the girl’s facial features had become more clear and brighter, and she began to walk quietly over the dome of the church, holding in her hand what resembled an olive branch, then a swarm of white pigeons appeared, and a circle of light around her. Some thought this apparition was a light or visual illusion. The flood lights focused on the luminous body to show it more sparkling! The lights were turned off in the area, to reveal Saint Virgin Mary brighter! Soon, news of her apparition broke out all over Egypt and the world. Visitors from all over Egypt and the world flocked to see these apparitions, which lasted for months.
The apparitions of Saint Virgin Mary were accompanied by great blessings; many people of different nationalities and religions were cured of their incurable diseases. Saint Pope Kyrillos VI issued a papal statement regarding the apparitions of the Lady Virgin, which was broadcast on Saturday 4/5/1968 in an international press conference, and it was read by the reposed Anba Athanasius in Arabic then in English. It stated: “… The papal residence, issuing this statement, decides with full faith, great joy, and with contrite thanks before the divine glory, that Saint Virgin Mary, the Mother of Light has kept appearing in clear and constant forms, along various nights, for varying periods, some of which lasted for two continuous hours! This was starting from Tuesday evening 4/2/1968, corresponding to the twenty-fourth of Baramhat 1684 A.M., until now, at the “Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church” located in Tuman Bai Street in Al-Zaytoun district, on Al-Matareya Road in Cairo, this is the path historically proven to be sought by the Holy Family during its flight in Egypt. May God make this blessing a symbol of peace for the world, a blessing for our dear homeland and for our blessed people, whom was previously blessed by the divine revelation: “Blessed is Egypt, My people.” And … stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center7 April 2021