The Center for Coptic Studies of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), the modern-day version of the great historical Library of Alexandria, is preparing for a mega-event in Rome next October/November, the focus of which will be Coptic culture and the Biblical flight of the Holy Family into Egypt in the first AD century. This is the flight mentioned in the second chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew, when St Joseph took the Child Jesus and His mother Mary into Egypt to flee from the face of Herod the King who wished to kill the Child. The Holy Family travelled into Egypt and remained there some three years till Herod died. The trail of the Holy Family in Egypt is now a Vatican pilgrimage destination.
Louay Mahmoud Saied, Head of the BA’s Center for Coptic Studies, told Watani that the Rome event was being organised jointly with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Franciscan monks; the Franciscan Order is affiliated to the Catholic Church in Rome.
“This will be the first time Coptic heritage is represented in the Vatican,” Dr Saied said. “The event will include an exhibition of Coptic icons; a concert of Coptic melodies and hymns, and a collection of cultural activities and lectures on Coptic heritage.”
Dr Saied concluded: “We won’t wait for the tourists to come; we’ll take the initiative to introduce them to Coptic heritage and familiarise them with the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.”
“The BA’s Center of Coptic Studies,” Dr Saied said, “is especially interested in the trail of the Holy Family in Egypt. On 8 March this year, we celebrated Coptic Heritage Day at the BA’s Cairo venue, the magnificent Islamic-era medieval house Bayt al-Sinnari, with a day of cultural activities the main topic of which was the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. Research papers on the topic were presented, and an exhibition was held that displayed icons of the Holy Family painted by more than 20 Egyptian artists. There was also a performance of Coptic hymns by a deacon choir.
“Another icon exhibition was held for one day at the Journalists’ Syndicate last May,” Dr Saied said, “organised jointly by the BA and the prominent Coptic mediaperson Nagy William.”
9 June 2018