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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The origin of the monastery remains obscure but is alleged to date from the 7th century. What attracts people’s eyes today is the giant 7.6 meters door in the main hall of the monastery that leads to the interior of the complex. Off the main hall is a room set aside as a shrine, it contains the chains that were placed on St. George as part of the tortures to which he was sentenced after his trial under the Persian King Dadianos.
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Built above one of the fortress towers of the Babylon, the Church of St. George is a Greek Orthodox church in Coptic Cairo. It was originally built in the 7th century, but the current structure was rebuilt following a 1904 fire. St. George is the only round church in Egypt, but unlike the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre and its many imitators, this is only for practical reasons – it is built atop the foundations of a Roman round tower.
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The Church of St. Sergius and St Bacchus, or Abu Serga in Arabic, is among the most ancient churches in Old Cairo. It is built over the traditional site of a cave said to have sheltered the Holy Family during their sojourn in the area.
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