News of a new Benedictine foundation in Egypt
The Congregation of Saint Ottilien has recently founded a monastery in Cairo (Egypt)
In January 2018 Dom Michael Reepen of Münsterschwarzach and Abbot President Jeremias Schröder returned to Cairo to accompany the progress of the foundation. Legally the monastery had existed since 8th December, 2017. On the 6th January the first Egyptian Benedictine, Brother Arsanio, pronounced his temporary vows. Brother Pio, who had to interrupt his noviciate because of bureaucratic difficulties, began again on 20th January. With two Kenyan brothers, Bruno and Dom Maximilian, the superior, they are living in Cairo in a rented house in the Moqqatam quarter of the city. In the future they will be able to move to a position better adapted, near the town of Ismailiya, not far from the Suez Canal. There they will cultivate mangoes, oranges and olives, and also dates.
The Coptic bishops of the country are glad of the arrival of the Benedictines. Someone said, with disarming simplicity, ‘While the Orthodox have three monasteries in our diocese, we, the Catholics, have none!’ The desire for spiritual places with a real community life is great, and there are almost always young men in the house, wanting to get to know monastic life.
How can Benedictine monastic life be lived in Egypt in the context of the Coptic Catholic Church? That is a question which was much discussed during their stay between the two German priests, the Kenyan brothers and the young Coptic monks. Little by little a specific form of Benedictine life is coming into being, adapted to the circumstances of the country and to the mentality of Egyptian Christians. On 9th March the Coptic Catholic Patriarch celebrated with the monks internally the official opening of this Benedictine foundation, and Benedictine daily life was able to begin in Egypt.