The date 1 June marks the Coptic Church’s Feast of the Entry of the Holy Family into Egypt on its flight from the face of Herod the King who desired to kill the Christ Child. The feast is exclusive to Egypt, and has come to be increasingly celebrated as an Egyptian, not only Christian, feast.
Traditionally, churches all over Egypt hold joyful celebrations during Vespers service on the eve of the feast, and Mass is celebrated on the feast day. Copts flock to churches at sites visited by the Holy Family, where special celebrations are held. Among the most famous are those held at Old Cairo’s Cavern Church of Abu-Serga; the church of the Holy Virgin in Haret Zweila in Fatimid Cairo, and the church of the Holy Virgin on the Nile Bank in Maadi, south Cairo.
This year, Pope Tawadros prayed Mass at the church of the Holy Virgin in Sakha, Kafr al-Sheikh in the North Delta, some 130km north of Cairo, a spot visited by the Holy Family. The church houses a rock on which the foot of the Child Jesus is imprinted.
In Tell Basta in Sharqiya east of the Delta, some 85km northeast Cairo, an event was held on Thursday 2 June at Zagazig University to commemorate the Holy Family in Egypt. Tell Basta is the scene of the ancient temple of Bubastis where idols spontaneously destroyed upon arrival of the Christ Child. The Holy Family left the place and rested under a leafy tree. The Child, who needed to drink, struck the ground, and water sprung up; it is now a well. The entire area has been turned into an open air museum which was opened in March 2021. Zagazig University was instrumental in the discovery of the well, and in conducting studies and excavations at Bubastis.
In Isaiah 19, the Lord says: “Blessed be Egypt my people”. Watani prays for the blessings of the Holy Family to grace Egypt.
1 June 2022