Churches restored - pilgrimage route

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Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by HEPZIBAH » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:27 am

Churches restored along path following Holy Family’s journey across Egypt: Minister

Al-Masry Al-Youm
January 9, 2020
11:40 am

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced that a number of sites, churches and monasteries along the path following the Holy Family’s journey in Egypt have been restored and opened to visitors, amid ongoing efforts to boost cultural and religious tourism in the country.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani added that Old Cairo’s “Hanging Church” was reopened after the completion of restoration work, as well as the Church of the Virgin Mary in Samanoud. The Church of the Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus has also been restored and opened to the public. Also known as Abu Serga, the church was constructed over a cavern where the Holy Family was rumored to have rested after fleeing from King Herod to Egypt.

Parts of the four monasteries in Wadi al-Natrun have been restored as well, according to Anani, who added that the Ministry is currently working on the reconstruction of the Virgin Mary Church in Gabal al-Tayr (mountain of the birds) area in Minya and further development of the site of the Virgin Mary’s Tree in Matariya district.

The Ministry also plans to issue an information catalog in both Arabic and English to document the historical journey of the Holy Family in Egypt and important sites along their path.

Anani extended Christmas greetings to Egyptian Christians during visits to various sites along the Holy Family path to check up on services and ongoing development projects, including Mary’s Tree, the Hanging Church, the Abu Serga Church and the Virgin Mary Church in Maadi.

Tourism expert Sabri Yani, who also serves as a member of the General Assembly of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments, said that Egypt has still not managed to secure its fair share of the religious and cultural tourism industry, especially given the number of archaeological and religious sites in the country.

He argued that the development of infrastructure projects and restoration work along the Holy Family’s path across Egypt would help to revive cultural and spiritual tourism in the country.

Spiritual or religious tourism accounts for about 4 million tourists worldwide, according to Yani.

The route taken by the Holy Family in Egypt, which marks stopping points during their flight from Palestine, extends from Rafah in North Sinai and goes through the northeast through the Delta region, moving next to Cairo.

The path following the Holy Family’s voyage is set to run through Beheira, Sharqia, Kafr el-Sheikh, Minya, Assiut, Gharbia and North Sinai, and the trek represents the world’s longest pilgrimage in a single country.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by newcastle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:04 pm

It’s amazing how much history, events, places etc. have been concocted out of the few words in the Gospel of Matthew. :lol:

Reminiscent of the relics which used to (still do) adorn churches and monasteries.....enough to reconstruct an army of saints and a forest of crosses.

Even if you attach any veracity to Matthew 2 : 13-23, the holy family appear to have been equipped with global positioning given that their journey is “recorded” in such minuscule detail.

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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by HEPZIBAH » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:21 pm

Oddly, although I have never had any thought or interest in visiting 'the Holy Land', I have in the past thought about doing a trip through Biblical Egypt. I know there used to be specialised holidays doing such tours but I never looked into it because I never had the money to allow me to do such trips.

Even though I am a Christian, I do have many reservations about 'this is the site of' etc. I always have.

My understanding is that Joseph & Mary with Jesus as a baby/youngster fled through Egypt. I don't have an issue with that. I'm just not aware of any records showing their route. (No postcards home to their families saying 'Wish you were here'. ;-) ) However, I understand that the Copts have many scriptures/historical documents, that might give more information than is recorded in the Bible.
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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by newcastle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:34 pm

I think I saw a postcard from Qena, signed by Joseph and Mary, in a church somewhere. ;)

I wouldn’t rely on Coptic history either. The story that Mark inaugurated that branch of Christianity in Alexandria circa 40 A.D. has no evidential basis.

Most Coptic Christian literature was written at least two centuries after the birth of Jesus.

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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by HEPZIBAH » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:00 pm

I should make it clear, my interest in doing such a tour as 'Biblical Egypt' would be less to do with my belief, and definitely not to do with pilgrimage, but because it would be different. I would see parts of Egypt that I've never seen before, and it would not be absolutely focused on Pharaonic sites, tales and legends (but obviously would need to include them). I might even learn something too.
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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by Yildez » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:42 pm

I’m an Atheist, have been since I was 12, and an historian. I respect religion, all religions, even though I have no belief myself, so please don’t think I’m just having a pop at Christianity in this post.

Helena, the mother of Constantine, both of them converted Christians, went to the then ‘Holy Land’ and established the sites that have since been firmly connected with Jesus Christ. Basically she believed what locals - seeing the money making potential! - told her. “This is the place where Jesus - turned the wine to water, fed the 5000, raised Lazarus” etc etc. You get the picture. At the same time she collected relics, such as parts of the true cross, thorns from the supposed ‘Crown of Thorns’ - the list was endless, and initiated the cult of relics, that still continues in the Catholic Church today. Good business for enterprising local entrepreneurs though.

This happened in 326/327, so 300 odd years after the death of Jesus Christ, and Christianity was still very much a minority religion, especially in the Holy Land. However, Helena’s proclamations on the sites connected with the birth of Christianity fuelled the development of a political structure for the early church, that resulted in the tenets of Christianity that still hold sway today.

Did the ‘Holy Family’ really flee to Egypt? Who knows? No real evidence of it, but then, Christianity - indeed all religions - is based on faith rather than facts. ‘Spiritual Tourism’ is becoming big business, and it’s happening here in Turkey too, with plans to excavate/restore early churches of which there are many in the south east.

Am I a tad cynical about all this? Hmmmm, probably! Money to be made!

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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by HEPZIBAH » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:22 pm

Yildez wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:42 pm
...‘Spiritual Tourism’ is becoming big business,...
Am I a tad cynical about all this? Hmmmm, probably! Money to be made!
But hasn't 'Spiritual Tourism' or 'Religious Tourism' been there forever. Pilgrimages of one nature or another - be it near or far - have been going on before ever any other form of tourism took place. Where people are on the move, there are going to be others wanting to make money from them: safety on the road; shelter; food; transport; and so the list goes on. Selling people what they want - even if they don't set out knowing that they want it - feeding their dreams is and always has been big business.
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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by newcastle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:01 pm

If people want to believe the unbelievable, that’s their business. I imagine many children worldwide would be disappointed to learn that Father Christmas is a myth.

But such beliefs we usually grow out of...and do no real harm.

I suppose the designated route of the Holy Family, fantasy though it is, does no real harm and undoubtedly benefits locations on the route financially.

At least, in the case of Egypt, parting the gullible from their money has a history going back well before Jesus. Herodotus was certainly sold some tall tales! :lol:

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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by Hafiz » Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:15 am

The simple aspect of this story is that the two religions who could not care less about facts/history/science/archaeology etc are Sunni Islam - a la the illiterate al Azhar - and the illiterate Coptic Church of Egypt are dominant in Egypt. Rational religions like the CofE and better wings of the RC have only small congregations and in the case of the former very ordinary leadership.

For the illiterates and unnumerates this whole pilgrimage stunt is like a Trump issue - who cares whether its true -can you make money or get votes out of it?

Its an environment only slightly less gullible than that of the Papua head hunters and their cargo cult worship of the white man. In fact and on reflection I think the Papuans are more frank about their methods of extracting aid from the west and less corrupt in dealing with the benefits than the Egyptians. I think the Transparency International ratings confirm that the Papuans whose grandfathers were head hunters, have developed beyond illogical Egyptian standards. They have stayed away from Islam and moved to the CofE and the RC.

The Coptic Church as everywhere has no success in attreacting conversions outside ethnic Egyptians - it never did.

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Re: Churches restored - pilgrimage route

Post by Hafiz » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:26 am

The Egyptians ignore the obvious of the Holy Family - they were Jewish - all of them and the men circumcised.

If you wanted to correctly reflect their alleged visit to alleged locations you don't build churches in the local Coptic mud hut style but build synagogues which would have been relevant to the religious practices of that holy family. No member of the holy family and not Christ ever saw or entered a Christian Church but Christ attended synagogue each week - maybe.

At this point in time there was no Christianity only Judaism, the Roman religions and the barking mad local Egyptian folk religions based on human beings with animal heads.

Some intellectuals in Egypt may have followed the Greek religions.

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