Egypt: Holy Family Tour - Maadi

Part Six

The Holy Family at Maadi

(Above: Virgin Mary Church - Maadi. Below: An icon of St. Demiana - Virgin Mary Church - Maadi.)

After their short, but all-too-felt, stay in Old Cairo, the Holy Family moved in a southerly direction, reaching the modern Cairo suburb of Maadi which, in earliest Pharaonic times, was an outlying district of Memphis, the capital of Egypt then; and, at Maadi, they boarded a sailing-boat which carried them up the Nile towards southern Egypt. The historic church built upon the spot from which they embarked, also dedicated to the Virgin, is further identified by the denominative, 'Al-Adaweya', the Virgin's Church 'of the Ferry'. (In fact, the name of that now modern suburb, Maadi, derives from the Arabic word which means 'the Crossing Point'). (Above: Virgin Mary Church - Maadi. Below: An icon of St. Demiana - Virgin Mary Church - Maadi.)

The stone steps leading down to the River's bank, and believed to have been used by the Holy Family, are accessible to pilgrims through the Church courtyard. An event of miraculous importance occurred on Friday the 3rd of the Coptic month of Baramhat the 12th of March 1976 AD. A Holy Bible of unknown provenance was carried by the lapping ripples of the Nile to the bank below the Church. It was open to the page of Isaiah 19:25 the page declaring, "Blessed be Egypt My People". The Bible is now behind glass in the Sanctuary of the Virgin in the Church for all to see.

( The Holy Bible - Birgin Mary Church, Maadi. Above Right: The ancient stone steps - Virgin Mary Church, Maadi)

The Holy Family at Al Garnous Monastery, Maghagha

The sailboat docked at the village of Deir Al-Garnous (the later site of the Monastery of Arganos) 10 kms west of Ashnein el Nassara (a small village near the town of Maghagha). Outside the western wall of the Church of the Virgin there, a deep well is believed to have provided the Holy Family with the water they needed. The Holy Family at Al Bahnassa

( Wells at Al Garnous Monastery - Maghagha)

They went on from there to a spot later named Abai Issous, "the Home of Jesus", the site of present-day Sandafa village, east of Al-Bahnassa which, itself, stand some 17 kms west of the town of Beni Mazar.

Gabal Al Tair, Samalout

St. Mary Tree at Minia. Below Right: Viel of Sanctuary

Viel of Sanctuary - El Barsha Monastery Church - Minia.

Viel of Sanctuary - El Barsha Monastery Church - Minia.

On towards the south they went from Bahnassa to Samalout and crossed the Nile again from that town to the spot on the east bank of the River where the Monastery of the Virgin now stands upon Gabal El-Tair ('Bird Mountain') east of Samalout, 2 kms south of Meadeyat Beni Khaled. It is known by this name (Gabal El-Tair) because thousands of birds gather there. The Holy Family rested in the cave which is now located inside the ancient church there. Gabal El-Tair is also called Gabal El-Kaf ('Palm Mountain'). Coptic tradition maintains that, as the Holy Family rested in the shade of the Mountain, Jesus stretched His little hand to hold back a rock which was about to detach itself from the mountain-side and fall upon them. The imprint of His palm is still visible.

Virgin Mary Church - Gabal El Tair-Samalout, Minia.

When they resumed their travels, the Holy Family passed a laurel tree a stone's throw south of Gabal El-Tair, along the pathway flanking the Nile and leading from the Mountain to Nazlet Ebeid and the New Minia Bridge of today. It is claimed that this tree bowed to worship the Lord Christ glory be to Him as He was passing. The configuration of the Tree is, indeed, unique: all its branches incline downwards, trailing on the ground, then turn upwards again, covered in a cloak of green leaves. They call the tree, Al Abed 'The Worshipper'. Below: Al-Abed (the Worshipper's) Tree - Nazlet Ebeid, Minia.)

Tree - Nazlet Ebeid, Minia.

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