Bahnasa is 8 km. southeast of Dayr al-Garnus. Once the seat of a bishop, with monasteries and convents housing thousands of monks and nuns. It is said that there have been 366 churches in the area. For this reason, a plethora of ancient papyri were found here in the beginning of the 19th century, including a fragment generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text.
Continue reading Bahnasa
Dayr al-Garnus is approximately 10 km west of Ishnin al-Nasara. There we will visit the Church of the Holy Virgin and receive a blessing from the water of the Holy Family well. Tradition says the Holy Family quenched their thirst from it and thus blessed it.
Continue reading Dayr al-Garnus
Continuing their flight, the Holy Family reached Ishnin al-Nasara, a village literally means the Garden of the Christians. It is believed that uppon reaching the village, the Christ Child felt thirsty. The Holy Family saw a well, but it was empty and Jesus cried. The Holy Virgin took his finger and held it over the well which then produced water immediately. After they had drunk enough, the water fell back to a low level. Although The well is now covered for protection, pilgrims still gather every year on August 21 to witness the miracle that the well’s water rises at around 4:00 p.m.
Continue reading Ishnin al-Nasara
Traveling south by boat, the Holy Family reached the village of Dayr Al-Maymun or The Monastery of Al–Maymun, on the East Bank of the Nile, 25 km north of Beni Suef. Ninety percent of the village’s population is Christian. Locals believe that the Holy Family passed by their village and Jesus blessed the place. In Dayr Al-Maymun, we behold the place where St. Anthony the Great (251-356) lived for some 20 years. According to the tradition, the founder of the eremitic monasticism used to worship in the Church of Abu Sefein, adjacent to the church of St. Anthony. We will also come across the tree of Anthony, an offspring of the tree that once offered shade to the great saint.
Continue reading Dayr Al-Maymun
Mentioned in several ancient Coptic texts but forgotten by the church today, the monastery of Al-Muharraqa was situated once on the West bank of the Nile, today known as the Saudiyyah village. It is to the south of Tammua, not far from the pyramids of Lisht, Meidum, and Dahshur. It is highly possible that these pharaonic funeral archetectures may have being reused by the early Christians as a place of worship.
Continue reading Al-Muharraqa
The next location on the official list of Holy Family’s southward itinerary is Maadi, a suburb city 10 kilometers south of Old Cairo. According to the tradition, the Holy Family embarked for Upper Egypt here in order to escape from the pursuing soldiers of Herod. The local priest believes that the Church of the Virgin Mary in Maadi is situated on the place of an ancient synagogue used during a time when some Jews had fled to Egypt for refuge.
Continue reading Maadi
The Coptic Museum occupies an area of 8000 m2, buildings and garden included. Ever since the founder initiated the project, the Coptic community has been active in filling it with precious and rare pieces. Members of the community have sent icons, cloths, manuscripts, priestly garments, frescoes, and wooden panels. Painted wooden ceilings and marble fountains were collected from old Coptic palaces.
Continue reading The Coptic Museum