The Holy Family Flees to Egypt
You all have heard the story of Jesus and the journey his parents, Mary, and Joseph, took to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. But do you know the story about another journey the Holy Family took?
Not long after Jesus was born and the shepherds went back to their sheep and the magi, returned to their countries an evil leader named Herod ordered that all infants under the age of two should be killed. This guy was afraid that the child would grow up and replace him, hence his decree. Can you guess what child might be included in this decree?
Lucky for Jesus, an angel visited Joseph in a dream and told him to take his family to Egypt to avoid Herod’s madness. Of course, Mary and Joseph were very scared, but they trusted God and got out of Bethlehem, saving Jesus from the soldiers killing all the babies.
After escaping Bethlehem, the journey to Egypt on foot, a donkey and a sailboat took them about a week. Once in Egypt the Holy Family stayed in several different towns. Churches and monasteries have been built in the cities to commemorate the Holy Family’s time there. There are several stories associated with the places the stayed.
In one town, Tel Basta, it is said Jesus blessed the land and caused a water spring to explode from the ground. In another town, Matorod, which means the bathing place, it is said that the Virgin Mary bathed the child Jesus and washed his clothes.
Another story told is that the Holy Family crossed the Nile River and went to the city of Samorid, Jesus touched a stone and water came from the stone.
Soon the Holy Family moved into the areas surrounding Cairo. While there people reported Jesus blessing water wells. Where Jesus’ clothes were washed and the water used was dumped on the ground, a balsam tree bloomed.
The Holy Family then moved to a cave in Old Cairo. Today the Church of Abu Serj in Babylon rests on the site and is now a center of pilgrimage.
During the rest of the three and a half years in Egypt, the Holy Family stayed in several different cities where miracles were reported, and churches were built.
Finally, after crossing the Nile once again, they ended up in Qussqam where they stayed for six months. It was here where Joseph dreamed of an angel telling him ‘Herod was dead and he along with his family could return to Palestine.’ It was time for them to go home, so Joseph packed up the donkey and the sailboat, and the Holy Family went home.
All told the Holy Family stayed in twenty-six different places to stay hidden from Herod’s spies. As I already mentioned it has been reported that miracles occurred in those cities and many churches and monasteries were built at the sites.
Several Bible verses point to this Journey:
Today the Egyptian tourism has made it possible for us to visit these sites. So next time you go to Egypt you might want to look up these places.