CAIRO: The Coptic Orthodox Church held a celebration Sunday at St. Sergius Church in Old Cairo to commemorate the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt, an event described in the Christian Gospels as the escape of biblical figures Jesus Christ and his mother the Virgin Mary into Egypt, Youm7 reported.
The celebration was attended by a large array of political and religious dignitaries, including Minister of Culture Saber Arab, Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim, Cairo Governor Galal Al Said, Minister of Information Doriya Sharaf al-Din and prominent former diplomat Mostafa Al Feky. British Ambassador to Egypt James Watt and movie stars Elham Shahin and Wafaa Amer also attended.
According to Christian tradition, Mary and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt in the first century fearing persecution by King Herod I, a Roman client king of Judea in what is now Palestine and Israel. During their three and a half year stay in Egypt, they crossed the Sinai Peninsula and visited several spots in Upper and Lower Egypt.
“Choosing Egypt as a safe place to flee reflects its importance in the ancient world and the decent human nature of its inhabitants,” Feky said.
“During the journey, they rested in several spots which were regarded later as holy places and several churches and monasteries have been built in these spots,” Ahmed Abu el-Magd, Coptic History Department head at the Faculty of Arts at Minya University told The Cairo Post.
The Christian establishments built on sites associated with the journey include the Hanging Church in Old Cairo, Al Muharraq Monastery in Asyut Governorate in Upper Egypt and St. Sergius Church in Old Cairo, where according to tradition Jesus and Mary are believed to have rested for a while, Magd said.