To commemorate the Holy Family's flight into Egypt, the Abi Serja Church in Old Cairo's Al-Fustat area held a celebration on Sunday attended by state officials, artists and various dignitaries.
As per Christian tradition, the Virgin Mary and Joseph the Carpenter fled to Egypt to protect baby Jesus from Herod's soldiers who had been instructed to kill him.
According to Matthew's Bible, an angel sent by the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to escape to Egypt with the baby: " 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod." (2:13-15)
Speaking at the celebration, Father Angloes Girgis of the Abi Serja Church said "this event is to highlight the importance of Egypt...to the world."
Attended by Minister of Culture Saber Arab, Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim and a large array of prominent figures in Egyptian society, the celebration included a documentary film screening detailing the Holy Family's journey in Egypt.
Attendees were also able to visit the cave where the Holy Family sought refuge and the well from which it drew water for drinking.
Dating to the early 5th century, the Abi Serja Church is constructed around the cave believed to have sheltered the Holy Family in Egypt. In his book The Geography of Coptic Egypt (1989), French historian Amelenio describes the cave thus: "[Is is] about 20 feet tall, 15 feet wide and does not have any windows, and is located within the walls of the Roman Babylon fortress."
The Holy Family visited numerous locations in Egypt, where it resided for an estimated three and a half years.