December 2019 Retreat

Peace and grace,

I am planning a personal enrichment trip to Egypt in December 2019. I plan to visit some monasteries and attempt a spiritual retreat (khelwa). Given that this will be during the Advent Fast, many monasteries will be closed to visitors. Does any one have a personal experience visiting monasteries and staying overnight for retreats during fasts?

Your prayers,


  • Beloved @anba_antonios,

    I went to Egypt in December of 2015 and I was able to stay overnight in the Monastery of St. Mary El Sourian, attending the Koiahk overnight vigil. While at St. Mary El Sourian we visited St. Pishoy Monastery.

    I also went to the Monastery of St. Anthony (Red Sea) and stayed 3 days. Both of these were during the Advent Fast. While at St. Anthony we visited the Monastery of St. Pola (Red Sea).

    I also visited St. Mina Monastery near Alexandria.

    While I did have some connections (through family) with some monks, at each of those monasteries I saw that there were other people staying overnight for khelwa so I imagine it isn't too uncommon.

    We were not able to enter the gates of St. Macarius Monastery.

    Hope this helps!
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