The Hanging Church is also referred to as the Suspended Church and it is known in Arabic as al-Muallaqah. It is called the Hanging Church because it was built on the southern gate of the Roman Fortress.
The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The famous miracle of moving the Moqattam Mountain is closely related to al-Moallaqa. Al-Mu’izz asked Patriarch Abraham to move the Moqattam Mountain in order to prove the words of the gospel “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain: Remove from hence to yonder place, and it shall remove“(Matthew 17-20).
After three days of praying and fasting in front of the painting of the Virgin Mary depicted on a column in al-Moallaqa, the Virgin Mary appeared to Patriarch Abraham in a vision and told him what to do.
Entrance to the Hanging Church is via a beautifully-decorated gate. This leads into an open courtyard, flanked by mosaics, from which there are 29 steps to the church. At the top of the stairs are three wooden doors decorated with geometric patterns. Then there is a nave (place of prayers), the church is remarkable for its marble pulpit, inlaid screens, icons and murals.
The marble pulpit surmounted by 13 pillars, representing Jesus and the 12 disciples, one of the pillars is black, representing Judas, and another is grey, for doubting Thomas.
The Hanging Church is a unique church and has a wooden roof in the shape of Noah’s ark.
The oldest icon in the Hanging Church dates from the 8th century. Many other artifacts from this church are now displayed in the Coptic Museum, including a lintel showing Christ’s entry into Jerusalem that dates from the 5th or 6th century.
In the eastern end of the church are three sanctuaries with altars, dedicated to the Virgin Mary (center); St. George (left) and St. John the Baptist (right).
A total of 110 icons are kept in the Hanging Church, the oldest of which is the “Coptic Mona Lisa” dating back to the 8th century A.D. and representing Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.
There is a door at the south-eastern corner of the church leading to the oldest part of the building. This part has three sanctuaries at the eastern side. The one in the middle is called after St. Dimiana, the one to the left is named after St. Takla Hymanot (an Ethiopian saint), and the one to the right is named after St. Andrew.