ROUTE OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Out of Egypt I called My son (Hosea 11:1)
Churches of Coptic Cairo, Minya & Asyut Christian monasteries, Biblical sites at Tal Basta, Tanis (Zoan) & Wadi Natrun.
The Gospel of Matthew describes the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, which saw Joseph, his wife Mary and their infant son Jesus escape King Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents. Our Route of the Holy Family tour follows the footsteps of the Holy Family around Egypt.
Your biblical journey begins in the Cairo, the Egyptian Capital. From here our tours start with visits to Tal Basta, Tanis and Ismailia. The Holy family are said to have passed through these regions whilst in exile. These regions, in particular Tanis also have a strong Pharaonic past with the discovery of intact burial cham-bers in 1939. Our 2nd day of tours is concen-trated on holy sites around Cairo. We visit the Tree of the Virgin Mary in Al-Matariya, The Church of the Holy Virgin in Musturd and the Church of the Virgin Maria in Bilbeis – all believed to be sites where the Holy Family sought refuge whilst in Egypt.
Heading north out of Cairo we visit Wadi Natrun where we will have picnic lunch and visit some of the monasteries. During their journey into Egypt, the Holy Family were believed to have made a stop at Wadi Natrun. Between the 4th and 7th century the region became one of the most important regions for Christianity in the Middle East. St Macarius of Egypt retired to the desert in the 4th century to live a stoic life and many hundreds of others following suit in the follow-ing centuries in search of a simple, holy way of life.
Today only four of the monasteries survive, all of which originally date back to the 4th century – The monastery of St Macarius the Great, Paromeos Monastery, Monastery of St Pishoy and the Syrian Monas-tery.
Day 5 of your tour is centred on Cairo again with a visit to Coptic Cairo to see some of the oldest Christian Churches in Egypt. Whilst in Coptic Cairo we will visit many churches but the most significant of these is the Church of St Sergius, which is believed to have been constructed on the site where the Holy Family resided during their journey into Egypt. In the afternoon of day 5 we visit the Coptic Museum which houses a vast collection of religious icons.
Following the Nile Valley south out of Cairo we drive for approximately 250km’s to the province of Minya. Here we will visit the Monastery of the Holy Virgin – a rock hewn church which is thought to have been established in 328 AD by Helena, the mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine on the site of a cave where the Holy family sheltered for 3 days.
Travelling further south we follow the Nile to the city of Asyut where we visit the Monastery of the Holy Virgin, constructed on the site where the holy family stayed for 6 months and 5 days. Jesus is said to have returned here after his resurrection to consecrate the altar, which has led some to believe that this could have been the first church.
Our journey ends with a drive back to Cairo, along the way we will make a stop to visit the Convent on the Virgin which was founded around a cave where the Holy Family stayed before returning to Palestine. During the Festival of the Virgin, up to a million pilgrims come to pray here. After a final night in Cairo
your tour ends.