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Anba Shenouda Monastery

Anba Shenouda Monastery

Giuseppe Garibaldi Avenue, 13, Lacchiarella (Milano) – Italy



The Anba Shenouda Monastery is located in Mettone, a hamlet of Lacchiarella in the countryside between Milan and Pavia. Farm abandoned for more than fifty years, it was bought in 1989 by the Holy Coptic Patriarch Pope Anba Shenouda III. The construction of the Monastery began in 1996 thanks to Bishop Anba Kirellos: the land was cleaned and looked after and the cells for the monks were built. Inside the monastery two churches have been built: the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary in the form of Noah's Ark and the Church of St. Thomas, as well as the bell tower that ends with a copper-covered wooden dome. Consecrated on 6 June 1998, the monastery belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Milan, one of the two existing in Italy, established in 1984 to respond to the need of the faithful Egyptian immigrants in Italy to maintain the culture and religious traditions.
The Copts are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who primarily inhabit the area of modern Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Coptic Christians base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to the St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity. The Coptic language descends from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, according to the World Council of Churches. The word "Copt" is a Westernized version of the Arabic qibt" which is derived from the ancient Greek word for Egyptian, Aigyptos. The head of the Coptic Church is the Pope of Alexandria, who is based in Cairo. Coptic Christians have been targeted for violence throughout history, notably under the Byzantine Empire and periodically after the Arab conquest in the 7th century. An Islamic caliph in power around the year 1000 A.D. is said to have destroyed 3,000 Coptic churches and forced large numbers of Copts to abandon their faith. The periodic persecutions are at the origin of the diaspora that led the Copts to emigrate to different countries. Today in Italy it is estimated that there are about thirty thousand people, distributed throughout the country, especially in the Milan area, thanks to immigration started in the mid-1970s. This is how the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Milan was formed, with the Anba monastery Shenouda - Episcopal seat -, about twenty regularly functioning parishes, and other communities in formation.
The relations between Catholics and Copts are excellent. Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II met in the Vatican on 10 May 2013, forty years after the first historic meeting between a Pope of the Catholic Church and a Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, the one between Paul VI and Shenouda III. On that occasion Bergoglio noted that the meeting strengthened "the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already unite the See of Peter and the See of Mark" and in 2017 he returned the visit to the Coptic Pope during his apostolic visit to Egypt. Even John Paul II in 2000 had met Shenouda III. The Copts are engaged in interreligious dialogue also with other Orthodox and Protestant churches.
The Coptic Church, which finds in Italy a non-hostile Christian environment, shows all the vitality of a Christian minority that has had to treasure centuries of persecution: in addition to an intense liturgical life, centered on the radical experience of desert monasticism, has an active interest in the mutual support of the faithful in various fields of social and family life.
Direct visit
Class activities (pre and post visit).
In-depth reports on monasticism in Egypt and on the desert Fathers.
Activity of verification of the acquired knowledge and skills.



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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.