Approximately 50 kilometers south of Dayr al-Muharraq and 9 kilometers south of the ancient city of Lycopolis, nowadays Asyut, lies the massive monastic complex of Dayr Durunka. It is a “neophyte” to the itinerary of the Holy Family tradition, because no ancient text suggests that this place was a stopover for the Holy Family. However, one of the charismatic features of the tradition is its dynamic development., thus when one reads from the 6th century manuscript The Armenian Gospel of the Infancy that the Holy Family travelled further south in fear of Herod ( despite the angel’s notification of all-clear to them). then it is beyond reproach to say that the Holy Family might have been to this spot after their departure from Dayr al-Muharraq.
DayrDurunkah is worth the visit for its beauty alone. The monastery has been completely renovated since 1955. Today it consists of many churches. The Monastery of DayrDurunkah is better equipped than many of the other places on the route of the Holy Family to receive large numbers of pilgrims and visitors. For this purpose, several hundred houses have been built against the slopes of the mountain– about one hundred meters above the agricultural land. From there one has a splendid view of the Nile Valley.
In the convent we will visit a large cave where according to tradition, the Holy Family has stayed before taking a boat northward to return to the Holy Land. The cave, probably once a pharaonic quarry, attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims yearly, especially during the festival of the Holy Virgin in August. Many come after the recurrent apparitions of the Holy Virgin in the past decades.