The Holy Family prepared the nation to hear the Gospel, says collaborator of Pope Tawadros
“The Holy Land.” For many Christians in the West, the phrase conjures up images of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.
But Egypt is part of the Holy Land as well. Why? Because Christ was there, and a Coptic bishop wants that to be officially celebrated in his country.
A close collaborator with Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Bishop Anba Youlyous, is proposing that the the feast of Jesus’ entry into Egypt, which this year falls on July 1, be declared an official national holiday according to Fides news service. He noted that the Church calls all Egyptians to join the feast.
Egypt is predominantly Muslim, but the roughly 10% of the population that is Christian—mostly Orthodox—makes the country one of the most diverse in the Middle East.
Copts consider the Holy Family flight to the land of the Pharaohs, seeking to protect the Christ Child from the wrath of King Herod, a providential event: it prepared the nation to receive the proclamation of the Gospel. According to local tradition, the Holy Family moved throughout the country carrying out miracles, which are at the origin of numerous sanctuaries. Those shrines are visited by Muslims as well as Christians.
The story of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt is now compared to today’s humanitarian emergency of refugees: many Coptic Christians wonder what kind of reception Mary, Joseph and Jesus would have today.
A member of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop Youlyous is in charge of managing social works.