Today 1 June, 24 Pashons on the Coptic calendar, the Coptic Church celebrates a feast close to the heart of Egyptians: the Feast of the Entry of the Holy Family into
Egypt. The feast is uniquely Egyptian; it marks a blessing granted by God to Egypt and her people.
In the Gospel of St Matthew, Chapter 2, the Bible says that the Holy Family—the Christ Child, His mother St Mary, and St Joseph—fled to Egypt from the face of Herod the King who wished to kill the Child that would grow up to be ‘King of the Jews’.
They stayed there till Herod died and the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to take the young Child and His mother and go back
home to the land of Israel.
Tradition has it that the Holy Family stayed in Egypt for some three years. They entered Egypt from the north-easternmost point, present-day Rafah in North Sinai.
They travelled southwest to the Nile Valley at what is today Cairo, then further south till Assiut, 350km south of Cairo, where they stayed till they embarked on their return journey.
Almost every spot in Egypt along the route travelled by the Holy Family carries some relic of their stay. Churches have been built around caves where they resided, trees under the shade of which they took rest, wells from which they drank, ovens
where St Mary baked, and springs in which she bathed Baby Jesus. Visitors have over the centuries and until this day flocked to these places for blessings.
Watani wishes Egypt and all Egyptians the joy and blessings of the holy visit.
1 June 2016
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