According to thousands of witnesses, the Virgin Mary appeared in different forms over the Coptic Orthodox Virgin Mary Church at Zeitun for a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968. The apparitions lasted from a few minutes up to several hours and were sometimes accompanied by dove-shaped luminous bodies. They were purportedly seen by millions of Egyptians and foreigners, including Copts, other Orthodox and Roman Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews and people of no particular faith. The sick and blind are said to have been cured, and many people converted to Christianity as a result.
The Coptic Pope [[Cyril VI of Alexandria
(Coptic)|Kyrillos VI]] appointed a committee of high ranking priests and bishops to investigate, headed by Anba Gregorios, bishop of postgraduate studies, Coptic culture and scientific research. On May 4 the Coptic Orthodox Papal Residence in Cairo issued an official statement confirming the apparitions. They were also confirmed by Father Dr. Henry Ayrout, S.J., and Rev. Dr. Ibrahim Said of the Protestant Evangelical Ministries. Nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart witnessed the apparitions and sent a detailed report to the Vatican, resulting in the arrival of an envoy on April 28 who also saw the apparitions and sent a report to Pope Paul VI.