Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities has edited the publication, in English and Arabic, of a booklet illustrated on the "Way of the Holy Family, the itinerary that unites the places crossed according to millenary traditions by Mary, Joseph and Jesus Child when they found refuge in Egypt to escape from the violence of Herod. The dossier, entitled "Stations of the journey of the Holy Family" is part of the initiatives put in place by the Egyptian authorities in order to add the "Way" of the Holy Family in the list of sites recognized as "World Heritage" by UNESCO. The file contains documentation and photos of the various places that are part of the itinerary, such as the monasteries of Wadi Natrun, the so-called "Maria's Tree" in el Matariya (suburb of Cairo), the church of the Virgin Mary in Jabal al-Tayr (province of Minya) and the monastery of Deir al Muharraq, in the governorate of Assiut, where the Holy Family, according to local traditions, settled for more than six months in a cave later incorporated in the ancient church of the Virgin. Khaled al Anani, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, underlined in recent public speeches the historical and ecclesial relevance of the Holy Family's stay in Egyptian territory, re-launching the historical hypotheses that the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph remained in Egypt for several years, and returned to Palestine after the death of Herod. There are at least 25 places that claim to have been touched by the Holy Family during their flight to Egypt.
For some time now, as documented by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 19/9/2018), the Egyptian authorities are committed to promoting the "Way of the Holy Family" in Egypt, also in terms of tourism. On 4 October 2017 (see Fides, 5/10/2017) Pope Francis, during the general audience, greeted a large Egyptian delegation that had come to Rome to promote pilgrimages along the "Way of the Holy Family". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 2/7/2019)