News that Pope Francis is visiting Egypt next month is encouraging tour operators to promote the country as a destination for Christian pilgrims.
Two years ago, a pilgrimage route: the 'Way of the Holy Family' was identified, following in the footsteps of Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus on their journey back to Palestine from Egypt. This should include the town of Al-Arish - unfortunately the town in northern Sinai which recently was the scene of targeted violence against Copts by jihadist groups - then moves towards the delta and Wadi Natrun, and reach Assiut and the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, known as the Monastery of Al-Muharraq.
The Abu Sarga cave church in Old Cairo, dating from the fifth century would be the starting point of the journey. According to tradition, this is where the Holy Family rested before starting the journey back to Palestine.
A committee for the revival of the Holy Family Way was established at the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, under the presidency of Hisham el Demeiri in 2016. At the beginning of 2017 Abdel Aal, President of the Egyptian House of Representatives, visited the offices of the Coptic Patriarchate, to discuss the development of the tourism project. He said the Way of the Holy Family was of interest to all Egyptians, not just Christians.
Read more about the Abu Sarga cave church here: www.coptic-cairo.com/oldcairo/church/sarga/sarga.html
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