My daughter Emma is soon to be five years old – getting old enough to enjoy the occasional Daddy – daughter date. The idea came up when I was invited by friends at the Coptic Bible Institute I attend to go to the Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel in the Fayyoum region of Egypt. This post will be mostly pictures from our adventure.
Many Copts enjoy taking weekend trips to the dozens of monasteries scattered throughout Egypt, mostly in desert regions. Besides being a fun getaway, they honor their Christian heritage, taking blessing from the ascetic monks and ancient relics. I have joined them on quite a few trips so far, and wrote once about the ‘miracle stories’ that abound in their faith.
It is fun to take the whole family along, but as our youngest is no longer an infant but not yet a toddler, packing three daughters along can be cumbersome. Fayyoum is only an hour and a half away, but as they often like to squeeze several monasteries into a trip, it is common to leave early in the morning, have breakfast and lunch on site, and not return until late in the evening. Coptic children often come along, but we have found we have different priorities in terms of naps and bedtimes.
So, given that this was mostly a fun trip, we thought perhaps Emma could come along too. She missed mommy at points along the way, doesn’t like the attention given to her as a four year old American sideshow in an ocean of Egyptian-ness, but had a good time all the same. Nothing a little monastery ice cream can’t fix.
I wrote about Abd al-Masih al-Manahari previously, click here for an account of his life and the process of transforming an ordinary pious man into a saint.