A Bright Light on Top of a Church Attracts Attention
Residents of Assiut, Egypt were awakened in the middle of the night on August 17, 2000 by an exceptional bright light coming from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church. Those who looked toward the church saw an apparition of Mary between the church's two towers, accompanied by large, glowing white doves (a traditional symbol of peace and the Holy Spirit) flying around her.
The figure of Mary emanated a brilliant white light, and so did the halo around Mary's head. Witnesses said they smelled the fragrance of incense (which symbolizes prayers from people traveling to God in heaven) while they watched the apparition.
The Apparitions Continue
The apparitions continued to appear on various nights over the next several months, until January 2001. People often gathered outside the church at night to wait to see if an apparition would occur. Since the apparitions usually took place in the middle of the night, those hoping to see them often camped out overnight on the local streets or on nearby rooftops. While they waited, they prayed and sang worship songs together.
Mary most often appeared with the white dove birds flying nearby, and sometimes flashing blue and green lights appeared over the church as well, drawing the attention of people miles away.
Thousands of people witnessed the apparitions, and many recorded them. Some took video that they then posted on the Internet; some took photos that were published in newspapers. While Mary didn't speak during the Assiut apparitions, she did gesture toward people in the crowd. It appeared as if she was blessing them.