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Author Topic: The Flight into Egypt  (Read 2349 times) Average Rating: 0
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Brigid of Kildare
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« on: December 29, 2002, 07:55:34 AM »

The recent BBC documentary on the life of Mary the mother of Jesus I discussed in another thread completely dismissed the account of the flight into Egypt as a Matthean fraud designed to bolster the claims of Jesus to fulfill OT prophecies.

I wondered what Coptic believers think? Do you have traditions about this episode?

Brigid
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Bríd Naomhtha, Mhuire na nGaeil, Guí Orainn
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2002, 04:33:56 PM »

The recent BBC documentary on the life of Mary the mother of Jesus I discussed in another thread completely dismissed the account of the flight into Egypt as a Matthean fraud designed to bolster the claims of Jesus to fulfill OT prophecies.

I wondered what Coptic believers think? Do you have traditions about this episode?

Brigid

I'm Eastern Orthodox, not Coptic, Brigid, but I'm positive that our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters hold the flight into Egypt of the Holy Family as absolute Gospel truth, as do we.  

In my own OCA church at Divine Liturgy this morning, the "Supply Priest" covering our parish between pastors skillfully wove the tale of the Flight into Egypt into his homily for the Sunday after the Nativity with the story of St. Joseph the Betrothed, Prophet St. David the King, and St. James the Brother of the Lord, first Bishop of Jerusalem.  Because it was Dec. 29, the tale of the 14,000 Holy Innocents slaughtered on the order of King Herod, whom we commemorate today (a direct connection for the Flight into Egypt) was also worked into an extremely interesting homily.

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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2002, 06:31:53 PM »

I wondered what Coptic believers think? Do you have traditions about this episode?

From a not-too-distant spiritual brother of the Copts; yes they do have traditions concerning the Holy Family's stay in Egypt. There are several Churches and Monasteries that are built on the sites of places that the Family visited and Copts consider it a great honor that their country was visited by the Family.

As to the claim by this documentary that the ‘idea’ of Mary started in Medieval Europe is spurious to say the least. The earliest Church in Egypt dedicated to St. Mary was in 274 AD, note: before even the first Ecumenical Council for any would be ‘Constantine conspiracy’ buffs.

These humanities professors just have a problem with Christianity, that is the premise we must begin with. If they showed any slight consistency and took issue with religion in general I would have less of a problem and let that problem be one between them and God, but they don’t have a problem with religion, they have a problem with Christianity. They are always producing documentaries to ‘debunk’ or ‘secularize’ elements of Christianity while at the same time they produce documentaries glorifying animism, Islam, Judaism (all of which they usually misrepresent and misunderstand), and anything else so long as it is not Christian. Even when they deal with themes in the Old Testament, it is usually directed at what the new ‘evidence’ implies for Christians but not what it equally implies for Jews.

The only people who are really standing up for Christian belief are some of the films put out by the Protestants, but then they put an ‘empirical’ rationalist bent to it that ends up serving the same premise as the ‘Bible debunkers.’ Apostolic Christians should start to use their scholarship for more profound reasons than to in-fight, prove who is lesser heretic than thou, and basically talk amongst ourselves. We should be using it to popularize Orthodoxy to those who are not aware of it to begin with.  

Ok, the end of my rant, I am hungry.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2002, 06:34:12 PM by Aklie Semaet » Logged

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Brigid of Kildare
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2002, 07:08:11 AM »

Thank you all for your replies. I should perhaps have made it clearer that I do not myself share the views of the "experts" from the documentary!

Interestingly, the BBC screened a very well-made documentary on the Magi the day before the infamous Mary programme. On the Magi programme Fr Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, the biblical archaeologist, defended the historicity of the Flight into Egypt. He said it was perfectly credible, given the character of King Herod, that the Holy Family and others would have fled until Herod's demise. It would not have cost Herod a thought to kill infants or indeed every living inhabitant of Bethlehem. The programme also made the point that the precious gifts the Magi brought would have funded the Holy Family's exile.

The Egyptian Tourist Board ran a TV advertising campaign here last year in which, among all the pyramids and King Tut stuff, they specifically mentioned that Egypt was the land that gave shelter to Jesus and His family.

Finally, at  http://pharos.bu.edu/cn/articles/HolyFamilyInEgypt.txt  I found an article excerpted from Otto  Meinardus' popular book  "The Holy Family  in Egypt". I'm looking forward to studying this.

Thank you all once again

Brigid
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Bríd Naomhtha, Mhuire na nGaeil, Guí Orainn
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2002, 10:34:44 AM »

The Copts keep this event as one of their seven minor feasts on June 1st.

http://www.copticorthodox.com/topics/topic.cfm?tid=103&ord=3&d=b

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Lance
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2003, 03:55:41 AM »


The programme also made the point that the precious gifts the Magi brought would have funded the Holy Family's exile.
I'm not sure that the holy family did actually make use of the gifts as they are still with us, or at least part of them are. The precious gifts of the Magi have been resident at the Monastery of St. Paul on Mt. Athos for centuries and are currently on display for veneration in a church on the island of Kefalonia. I may be wrong about which island as I was not paying that much attention when I heard this on the radio. I can't remember which church either.
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JoeS
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2003, 11:19:37 AM »

There is an absolutely beautiful account of the Flight into Egypt in the book:  The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. Chapter XIV pgs. 265 through 288.  It quotes Traditional accounts of Their journey from Bethlehem down the Mediterranean coast to Farama Egypt and then turning south and following the lower Nile up to the upper Nile valley. It named all the ancient towns that the Holy Family would have visited. Many, many Coptic churches have been built along the traditional route.

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Fortunatus
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2003, 03:35:49 AM »

The recent BBC documentary on the life of Mary the mother of Jesus I discussed in another thread completely dismissed the account of the flight into Egypt as a Matthean fraud designed to bolster the claims of Jesus to fulfill OT prophecies.

I wondered what Coptic believers think? Do you have traditions about this episode?

Brigid

I'd like to send you a book about it when I get it from Egypt.  There might be one at my church bookstore, which I can send to you. it is definitely a tradition in our church. In fact, one of our monasteries, "ST. Mary - Al Moharraq monastery" is where tradition has it that the Holy Family spent 6 months in Egypt. There is a place in Old Cairo where no yeast rises, and this is due to a tradition we have about a place that rejected the family and wouldn't give them bread. We also have a church in Old Cairo where tradition has it that the Holy Family hid from Egyptians seeking their lives - there is a bowing tree that is venerated as having knelt before the Child Jesus. We even have a huge rock with a handprint in it of what is supposed to be the hand of the Lord Himself as a little child. yet another tradition has it that the Lord ran into the two thieves that would one day be crucified next to Him during this journey.

I
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Brigid of Kildare
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2003, 11:24:49 AM »

Thanks to Lance, Joe and Fortunatus for all the helpful information. I was sure that such an important episode in the life of Our Lord would be reflected in the oral tradition of Coptic believers.

I was delighted to find a virtual tour of the sites at http://www.touregypt.net/holyfamily1.htm and to learn something of the traditions associated with the various places.

God Bless all those believers in the land of Egypt today,

Brigid
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Bríd Naomhtha, Mhuire na nGaeil, Guí Orainn
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2003, 11:57:28 AM »

In case anyone is like me (too lazy to read long documents on a monitor, and having highspeed), here's a movie about it in rm: http://tasbeha.org/video/#family .  It has an introduction by Pope Shenouda if I remember right.
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