Only In Asyut
Only In Asyut
Comparing to nearby cities like Al Menya or Qena there are not much to explore in Asyut but what a traveller can experience only in Asyut is the Coptic Pilgrimage takes place every year in August.
For the Copts, pilgrimage is a religious act of public worship of high spiritual and social value, consisting of an act of veneration offered directly to God and his saints, or to God through his saints. In contrast to abstinence, fasting, and almsgiving, which are simple acts of corporal asceticism or charity, pilgrimage is a complex event.
It implies, in effect, bodily fatigue, asceticism, and often a vow, with an offering being made and the poor receiving their share of alms. In short, pilgrimage is a religious act, perfect and complete, and if made with pure and righteous intent, it is a means of sanctification and glorification of God and his saints.
While the private and public usefulness and the sanctity of pilgrimage are evident, yet at all times and in all countries, it has been abused. Such abuses have been denounced by responsible spiritual people, like the monk SHENUTE, who, in the fifth century, accused the pilgrimages of being commercial fairs and sites of fun and leisure. There are more than sixty centers of Coptic pilgrimage in Egypt, of which the main ones are those of the Virgin
Mary at Musturud, Saint Menas at Maryut, Saint George (Mar Jirjis) of Mit Damsis, Sitt Dimyanah near Bilqas, Anba Shinudah at Dayr al-Abyad, near Suhaj, and the Virgin Mary at DAYR DURUNKAH.
DAYR DURUNKAH, is a center of concentrated religious activity for the Coptic community, situated about 6 miles (10 km) southwest of the city of Asyut. It is better known for the monastery bearing that name. Dayr Durunkah is the residence of the Coptic archbishop of
Asyut. This is a highly frequented religious center, especially during the fifteen-day period of the Virgin’s fast preceding the celebration of her feast on 16 Misra (22 August). The Catholic Copts have constructed a special church of their own honoring Our Lady for their own pilgrims.
Al-MAQRIZI, the fifteenth-century Egyptian historian, enumerated several monasteries in the region of Adrunkah, as he called it. He described it as the most Christian area in Upper Egypt.
He also noted that the population of that district still used the Coptic language in its daily life. The cluster of convents in the Durunkah region is a significant indication of the strength of the Coptic community in Asyut and the adjacent regions, such as Abu Tij and al-Badari, among other cities of Upper Egypt.