Marian Apparitions outside the Catholic Church

On April 2nd 1968 something rather remarkable is said to have happened in Cairo, Egypt. The Virgin Mary herself is said to have appeared bathed in light above a Coptic Orthodox Church. Not only that, she would appear many more times over the next three years.

The Copts are not the only ones who claim a miracle such as this, while apparitions of the Virgin are recorded far more rarely in Protestant Circles they are far from unknown in the Orthodox world.

How does the Vatican presently treat these cases? Obviously when the Virgin is said to appear to Catholics as she is believed to have at Fatima the Church investigates and makes an authoritative judgement on the matter. How are Non-Catholic Marian apparitions to be treated? Are they false, hoaxes at best or diabolic manifestations at worst or can the Virgin appear to non Catholics?

I’m just curious, because if schism is such a threat to the Church, indeed an offense to Christ why does Mary and numerous other saints send such mixed messages, seemingly of approval to the schismatic churches? I can find no record of her ever ordering the Copts or Greek Orthodox to join the Catholic Church, but perhaps then again I have not looked hard enough.

Any thoughts on this are welcomed.

I first heard of this Apparition from the DVD "Marian Apparitions of the 20th century…
some are approved, some are not. I found this:

The Official Statement from the Papal Residence in Cairo on the Apparition of Saint Mary in the Zeitoun Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt

Since the evening of Tuesday April 2, 1968 (the 24th of Bramhat, 1684 A.M.), the apparitions of the Holy Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of Light, have continued in the Coptic Orthodox Church named after Her in Zeitoun, Cairo.

The apparitions occurred on many different nights and are continuing in different forms. The Holy Virgin Saint Mary appeared sometimes in full form and sometimes in a bust, surrounded with a halo of shining light. She was seen at times on the openings of the domes on the roof of the church, and at other times outside the domes, moving and walking on the roof of the church and over the domes. When She knelt in reverence in front of the cross, the cross shone with bright light. Waving Her blessed hands and nodding Her holy head, She blessed the people who gathered to observe the miracle. She appeared sometimes in the form of a body like a very bright cloud, and sometimes as a figure of light preceded with heavenly bodies shaped like doves moving at high speeds. The apparitions continued for long periods, up to 2 hours and 15 minutes as in the dawn of Tuesday April 30, 1968 (the 22nd of Barmouda, 1684 A.M.), when She appeared continuously from 2:45 am till 5:00 am.

Thousands of people from different denominations and religions, Egyptians and foreign visitors, clergy and scientists, from different classes and professions, all observed the apparitions. The description of each apparition as of the time, location and configuration was identically witnessed by all people, which makes this apparition unique and sublime.

Two important aspects accompanied these apparitions: The first is an incredible revival of the faith in God, the other world and the saints, leading to repentance and conversion of many who strayed away from the faith. The second are the numerous miracles of healing which were verified by many physicians to be miraculous in nature.

The Papal Residence has thoroughly investigated the apparitions and gathered information by way of committes of clergy who have also witnessed the apparitions by themselves and recorded everything in reports presented to His Holiness Pope Kyrillos VI.

By issuing this statement, the Papal Residence declares, with full faith and great joy and humility of a thankful heart, that the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Light, appeared in clear forms on many different nights, for periods of variable length, lasting on occasions more than 2 continuous hours, starting on the eve of Tuesday April 2, 1968 (the 24th of Bramhat, 1684 A.M.) and up till now (the date of the report) in the Coptic Orthodox Church named after Her in Zeitoun, Cairo. It is historically proven that the location of this church in Tumanbay street, in Zeitoun quarter, on the way to El-Matarya, Cairo, is on the path taken by the Holy Family when visiting Egypt.

May God make this miracle a symbol of peace for the world, and a blessing for our nation as it has been prophesized: “Blessed be Egypt My people.”

Saturday May 4, 1968
Barmouda 26, 1684 A.M.
Papal Residence in Cairo

Fascinating, this is a wonderful bit of information, thank you ever so kindly for sharing this! :smiley: I’m going to have to see if I can get a copy of this DVD from somewhere.

So some of them are genuine? (Obviously I can see why the Church wouldn’t accept something like Our Lady of the Roses as genuine, but I wasn’t sure if something like this might be). Hrrm…It seems I’ve got more poking around to do. I wonder why she would appear to schismatics then, but not non believers.

The apparition above the coptic church in Egypt was filmed at the time, and can be found on you tube. Dunno what the link is, but a brief search will get you there. Interesting stuff!

Oh she appeared to non-belevers all right–Egypt is a Muslim country and the first people to see the apparitions were Muslim workers, one of whom was healed of a gangrenous infection. The Muslims honor Mary as the mother of Jesus. Here is an account.

Thank you for sharing this. I only wish I could have been there. It surely demonstrates that God loves us ALL equally, whatever path we follow towards Him.

I lived not too far from where “Our Lady of the Roses” took place. I did not visit there. After some time it was officially condemned due to some of the oddities that came from there, and the disobedience of the “seer”.

I’ve seen photos of this alleged apparition and I’ve never been able to make out anything other than blobs of light. Since there was also no locution of any kind, I’m wondering on what grounds anyone would think that this was an apparition of the BVM.

The Coptic Catholic Church is an Alexandrian Rite particular Church in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Yes, but St. Mary’s in Zeitoun, Egypt is not Coptic Catholic, it is Coptic Orthodox.

If it was Our Lady appearing I am sure she desires unity just as her Son does.

Your statement comes from the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. The “Papal Residence in Cairo” refers to the papal residence of the Coptic Pope of Alexandria and has nothing to do with the Catholic Pope of Rome. I think some posters in this thread took it as an official papal statement from the Catholic Church.
That being said…to the OP…Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christians are still Our Lady’s children. I don’t see why she couldn’t appear to them. Why wouldn’t she “order” them to convert? I dunno - but perhaps they are where they need to be, until reconciliation can be achieved between our Churches. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches are true Churches in a way that Protestant communities are not. Certainly, if an individual Orthodox Christian comes to the full knowledge and acceptance of the Petrine ministry as exercised by the Pope of Rome, full communion with the Catholic Church would become a moral imperative, but the Church does not hold individual Orthodox Christians accountable for the sin of schism committed many centuries before they were born.
This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit