8 October 2000: The dazzling apparition lights continue over the domes and towers of St. Mark's Church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, accompanied with miracles of healing (Watani) The largest meeting of Catholic bishops since Vatican II concluded on Sunday 8 October 2000, when Pope John Paul II -- surrounded by 80 cardinals and more than 1,500 bishops (a third of the world's total) -- solemnly prayed for the protection of the Virgin Mary over the entire world and entrusted humanity and the third millennium to Her. 24 September 2000 - His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and His Grace Metropolitan Anba Michael of Assiut: The Coptic Orthodox Church is currently following observantly the apparitions of the Holy Virgin Mary and other spiritual phenomena at St. Mark’s Church, Assiut (Watani) His Holiness Pope John Paul II says Jubilee is occasion to rediscover Mary. On the 17th of August 2000, the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary started Her apparitions at St. Mark's Church in Assiut, Upper Egypt, accompanied by glorious lights and big, bright white doves. Those who have witnessed the apparitions have reported seeing dazzling supernatural lights and blue-green flashes over the church (without any source of light to explain them). Many residents and pilgrims also recount seeing the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary in a full figure. This is just a glimpse of what "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). On the official level: During his recent visit to the US and Canada (August 2000), His Holiness Pope Shenouda III confirmed the validity of the reports of these apparitions. Pope Shenouda said that these apparitions are a message of comfort from heaven and one of confirmation of the faith of Copts, that heaven is aware of their struggle and is pleased by their perseverance. Moreover, in El-Keraza Magazine dated 15 September 2000, which is the official newspaper of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a short news paragraph said: "Since Friday 18 August 2000, thousands of people gathered around the old Church of St. Mark in Assiut to view spiritual appearances of Virgin Mary. A declaration on those appearances was issued by the Diocese of Assiut and was published in Watani Newspaper." It is noteworthy that 2000 years ago, the Holy Family visited Assiut when they fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
"I haven't seen any light," Father Baki Sedka, head of the first biblical church (protestant), a neighboring church to Saint Mark, told The Associated Press on Monday night. "I stayed up all night and I didn't see anything except a few pigeons." "The appearance of a few pigeons doesn't justify a miracle," Sedka said. "This case needs a lot of consideration before we can authoritatively assert these sightings." Since word of the apparition spread, the synod said thousands of Egyptians and some foreigners have come to Assiut, 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Cairo, the capital, where they've been singing hymns and reciting prayers while waiting for the next vision to appear. Copts make up less than 10 percent of the population in Egypt, where Islam is the state religion. Assiut has a substantial Coptic Christian population, but also has been a hotbed for Islamic fundamentalism and sight of violent attacks targeting Christians and tourists.
Virgin Mary 'appears' in Egypt. The apparitions come months after the Pope's (John Paul II) visit to Egypt : From BBC News Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK H.H. Pope Shenouda III approves the luminous apparitions that took place in Assiut during the last 4 months, saying that they have resulted in a great spiritual revival, and that devils are always afraid from the sign of the Cross and can never approach it to make it luminous as happened over St. Mark's Church in Assiut