Flight in Egypt

Schonguda III Pope, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, accepted us, a group of foreign journalists, in the building of Patriarchate in Alexandria. In this city, "Northern capital" Egypt, the first pyramid christian community appeared in the country.

– Our church has several remarkable traits, "says Pope Schonguda. – This is the first Christian Church on the African Continent; From Egypt, Christianity spread to Nubia, Sudan, Ethiopia. In Egypt, the first translation of the Old Testament on Greek. It was about the 70th year. And finally, Egypt is the only country where Holy Family visited.

And they left Bethlehem

Jesus’s trip to Egypt was predicted in the Old Testament. It was, however, forced, for King Herod, having learned about the birth of Jesus, commanded the extermination of all babies.

"The angel of the Lord is in the dream of Joseph and says: Get up, take it to the baby and Mother, and run to Egypt, and be there, the docome will not tell you; for Herod wants to look for a baby to destroy him" (Matt. 2:13).

Joseph obeyed. Young mother with a newborn son in his arms he planted on a donkey, and they left Bethlehem. The same old carpenter was ahead, driving a donkey under the head. The path was lying to the West, to the border of Egypt.

In the New Testament, nothing is said about what places a holy family in Egypt was visited, how long it was there. The Copt is the same – Egyptian Christians – this story has been designed quite detailed. The classic source is the works of Pope Theophilus, the 23rd Patriarch of Alexandria (384-412.). In them, he tells how one day, after a long prayer, Virgo Maria came to him and told about the journey of the Holy Family to Egypt. Coptic church has long been canonized several places where it stopped. Now is the places of worship of many Christians.

It was believed that the Holy Family stayed in Egypt for about three years. But in mid-1998, German scientists made a find, clarified this period. In the library of the University of Cologne, they found Papyrus IV century with the text on Coptic language – the successor of the ancient Egyptian language based on the Greek alphabet. In papyrus, it is argued that Jesus spent 3 years in Egypt and 1 1 months.

Through Sinai in the Neil Delta

Rafah – a small town in the extreme northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, is known from antiquity, and Copts are convinced that it was at this place that the holy family of Egypt began in this place.

From Rafach through Sinai at that time there were three cavertis roads. But the Copts believe that the Holy Family did not use any of them. It feared the persecutors sent by the king of Herod, and therefore went non-turret. Only by moving almost a hundred kilometers from the border through the inner side of Sinai, the fugitives again went to the seashore at 37 kilometers west of El Arish. As in Rafach, there are no traces of their stay.

Further, the Holy Family moved along the seashore to the West and came to Peluzium. At that time it was a big prosperous city, competing with Alexandria. Through the Pelusia, the most east sleeve of the Nile; These were the Genuine Eastern Gate of Egypt. But then the Nile in these places is silent, and people left Peluzia. Where exactly the Holy Family stopped in the Peluzia – it is also unknown, although the excavations of the ancient city go for the second decade.

The Sinai Desert remained behind, and the fugitives moved to the southwestern, along the edge of the Nile Delta. So they came to the city Bast. It is located about 100 kilometers from Cairo.

Basta, the place of worship of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastete, depicted in the form of a cat, did not differ in particular from other Egyptian provincial cities of that time. For Jesus, the ancient deities were just idols. Legend says that when the Holy Family was part of the cities, idols fell and broke. So it was in Baste. That’s why her inhabitants met the fugitives hostile, and they had to leave the city soon.

For reasons, the holy family is not fully understood by the delta (see. Map: Mostrode, Bilbeis, Sakha), until it came to Wadi Natrune – extensive depression in the western desert.

Subsequently, Wadi Natrune turned into the most important center of the Copt Monastic.

Mataria. Tree Mary

From Wadi Natrune, the Holy Family continued the path to the south and came to Mataria, the northern outskirts of Cairo. There it rested in the shadow of Sicomora. Of course, that tree has not existed for a long time. But over the centuries from the dying Sicomora took processes and put them nearby. Last time – June 14, 1906. Near the living tree – the dried barrel of his predecessor. It is known for certain when it was planted: in 1672.

Tree Mary is one of three places in Cairo, associated with the stay of the Holy Family. Not only kopts, but also Christians from other countries often come here. I also had in this courtyard behind the stone fence. Not far from the tree well in the form of a letter "F". Judging by the stone masonry, cooked at least in the Roman era. According to the Coptic tradition, the well is built on the spot, where in the command of Jesus from the Earth scored a source. Baby blessed him, and the whole family quenched thirst. Then Maria posts his son’s clothes. Next to the source she watered the earth – where flowers are now growing.

While I looked at the well, a young couple came to the tree of Mary. By type – Egyptians. Bowed to the sacred tree. Prayed hanging on the left, on the fence, the icon of the Virgin Mary. When I left, they still stood in the cool shadow of Sicomora.

In Babylon Egyptian

Modern Cairo was founded in 969. But long before that people lived on its current territory. Mataria is one of these places. Other – Christian Old Cairo. It is also called "Babylon Egyptian". At the site of the old Cairo, the time of the centuries existed to settle the settlement from the Nile, on the way from Memphis to he. Over time, given the strategic importance of the place, they built a fortress. The one that exists and today has a hundred years later after visiting the Babylon of the Egyptian Holy Family, under the Emperor Tradyan.

In the old Cairo, the fugitives visited twice – at the beginning of the journey and at the end, on the way home. The first of their stop was brief: the local ruler, angry with the fact that at the appearance of Jesus the idols fell, it was removed to kill him. The fugitives were hidden in the grotto, which was later built church of St. Sergius (Abu Serga). And yet soon they had to move on.

The second stop in Babylon Egypt was, apparently, more prolonged. German professor Otto Mainardus, scientist and theologian, in his book "Holy Family in Egypt", published in Cairo in 1965, notes that, according to legend, Joseph had distant relatives in Babylon, who persuaded him to swim a little from them. Mainardus believes that this time they lived in a grotto under the current church Abu Serga.

To get into the narrow neuro-coming streets of Old Cairo, it is necessary from the street of St. George to go down the steep steps down. Abu Serga Church Externally is not remarkable – just a quadrangular building. The bell tower is not. And inside the church is finished simply, by architecture it resembles the Byzantine Basilica.

From a small room down, under the altar, lead stone steps. There, under the altar, – the grotto where the Holy Family stayed. Alas, it is impossible to get there: the grotto is covered with water.

There is a competitor in Babylon, a competitor who knows about. On the Greek Orthodox Cemetery of the former Monastery of St. George is a small church. From her left side, behind the altar, a chapel with a well and a grotto. Greek bishop Cairo Porfirius claims: It is in this grotto that Holy Family stayed. One of the inscriptions in the chapel is made in our, with pre-revolutionary spelling. "In this place in ancient times there was a modest abode in which the baby Jesus Christ lived with his mother, hiding from Herod", Choose on the marble plate. Left the inscription Beloeamigrants, which lived a lot in Egypt between the two world wars. They are buried nearby, in a general sclepe, over which the chapel in ancient our style is raised. Only those who are cooled, rest in personal graves.

So who is right – Copda or Greeks? Maybe those and others? After all, as already noted, the Holy Family visited Babylon Egypt twice. It is impossible to exclude the fact that both places are worshis. At least, such is the opinion of my long-time familiar employee of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo Peter Grossman. Dr. Grossman is considered leading authority in early Christian architecture. In the mid-1990s, he spent excavations of the remains of the fortress wall of Babylon – it was preserved only partially. Archaeologists have determined that Abu Serga, and the Greek cemetery church are located inside the fort. According to Strabo and some other ancient authors, the Roman Legion was quartered in Babylon. It is unlikely that civilians were allowed to fortune.

Flight in Egypt

But, after all, is it important, where exactly the holy family stayed in the old Cairo? The main thing is that the memory of this is alive for two millennia later.

Near Maadi, southern outskirts of Cairo, Nile flows in their former shores. There, as in Babylon, Egypt, was also crossing. Among the locals were the Jews, and the crossing was a small synagogue.

Now at the site of the synagogue Coptic Church of the Virgin Mary, built in the IV century, during the time of Emperor Konstantin, who legalized Christianity. On the side of the embankment, only a deaf wall and three dome over the altar part are visible. Entrance to the church from the river.

On Friday, March 12, 1976, a real miracle happened next to the Church. The Nile’s waters beat the Bible to the shore, revealed on that page of the book of the Prophet Isaiah, where it is said: "Blessed people My Egyptians" (19:25). The Bible was placed in a glass showcase in a small place attached to the church on the left, near the entrance.

This Bible attracts a lot of pilgrims-Copdes. But much more famous for the church to others. There is a pavilion in the courtyard, and in it – stoned stone steps leading to water. Copts believe that it is over these steps a holy family of boat descended to start their journey to Middle Egypt.

The fugitives crossed them across the Nile and long begins along the edge of the Western desert, until they went to the river near the current city of Samolyut, 250 kilometers of South Cairo. There they again moved to the eastern shore to the mountain Gabal AT-TEIR, which means "Bird Mountain". The name it was given to the grief because of the thousands settled in it. Travelers found shelter in the cave. Now this mountain is called more "Gabal Alcaf" ("Mount Hand"). According to legend, when the Holy Family rested in the shadow of the mountain, Jesus noticed that the huge stone was ready to break from her top. He extended his hand and pushed a stone from the edge, leaving his imprint on it, which is noticeable and so. And the church was subsequently built over the cave, then the monastery was founded, the name of the Virgin Mary.

Neal in these parts is pressed against the mountainous eastern shore, and its green "strip of life" Located on the West Bank. It can be seen so to be closer to people, and again the travelers in the West Bank crossed. From Gabal AT-TEYR, they went south another kilometers and stopped near the Mount Kasam.

In the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah there are such words: "That day the altar of the Lord will be in the middle of the land of Egypt, and the monument to the Lord – at the limits of the. And it will be a sign and evidence of the Lord of Savaof in the Egyptian land" (19: 19,20).

– According to the tradition of the Coptic Church, "says Pope Schonguda, mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah, the altar is located in the Church of the Virgin Mary in the Al-Muharrak Monastery at Mount Kaskam. It is believed that this is the most important place of all those who visited the Holy Family during his long journey in Egypt. In this place the holy family spent more than six months. The stone turned into the altar, served as a young Savior Lie. The monastery is really located "In the middle of the Egyptian land" Practically in its geographical center.

Well, as for "Monument to the Lord at the limits of the", then this prophecy came true. I mean the patriarchy throne of the Apostolic Church in Egypt, – continues Pope, – based on the Holy Mark himself and in Alexandria, in the northern limits of Egypt.

In the monastery Al-Muharrahk, located near the city of Assiut, I arrived with a group of foreign journalists. We were met by the Governor of the monastery, father Pach, and immediately led the spacious courtyard to the church of the Virgin Mary. According to legend, it was founded in the 1st century on the site of a hut built by Joseph for his family. Father Past entered the altar part of the temple and allowed us to follow him – but only men. He removed the silk bedspread from the altar, and we saw a marble slab with a deepening, similar to a crib. In the upper part of the plate – the inscription in Greek, made, according to the father of Pakhoma, at the beginning of the VII century and the stuck that this stove served as a lie to young Jesus.

Monastery and its surroundings Saints for Cocks. They even call it place "Second Bethlehem". I do not undertake to judge how exactly this name is. However, Egypt, who primed Christ at the time of mortal danger, became the second birthplace for him.

. But the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: "Stand, take the baby and the mother of him and go to the land of Israel, for they died looking for a baby’s souls" (Matthew, 2:20).

And trades moved on the way back. The route of their return to the homeland was about the same as flight. They overcame about two thousand kilometers. During his long journey in Egypt, the Holy Family suffered from the exhausting summer heat and burning winter cold, from hunger and thirst. Baby Jesus, Virgo Maria and Joseph were strangers on the banks of the Nile and often faced hostility. But they persistently moved all the adversity in the name of the salvation of humanity and returned to Joseph’s old house in Nazaret, from where then the Epistle of Christ People were separated throughout the world.

Every year, June 1, the Coptic Church celebrates the entry of the Holy Family to Earth Earth. On this day, in all churches of the country, the same prayer sounds: "About Egypt, about the people of Egypt, about the children of Egypt and everyone who lives in his borders, rejoice, for came to you the lover of all living things that existed before the light of all centuries".

Flight in Egypt

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