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  The Route of
    The Holy     Family
   El Baramus
   Abu Makar




The Oasis of Wadi Natroun
(The Holy Family in Egypt)

One of the most significant places in the Western Desert is Wadi El Natroun, situated 100km north west of Cairo. It is a geological salt lakes vale indented in the desert, that owes it's name to the Natroun salt, very relevant to Ancient Egyptians as it was emplyed in the mummification procedure. It is a birdwatchers paradise and became the site of many monasteries in spiritual commemoration of the Holy Family's passage through the valley. The monasteries benefit from the atmosphere of seclusion and tranquility that engulfs the whole dale and deserve a visit for their fine examples of Coptic art.

Deir El Baramus

The library accommodates many valuable books and manuscripts and the small museum houses a fine collection of icons.

Deir Anba Bishoi or Monastery of St Pshoi, who founded not only this monastery but also the close by Al-Sorian's. The church contains the remains of the saint and two charming chapels.

Deir Abu Makar

Subsequent Biblical history says it all: "They arrived home in Nazereth, from where the message of Christ would, in the fullness of time, be heard".

Route of the Holy Family through Egypt

Deir El Baramus or Monastery of the Romans, the oldest of the sites in the Wadi. houses five churches. St. John the Baptist's Church lodges a superb ivory icon work.

Deir Al-Sorian or Monastery of the Syrians, named after Syrian monks who inhabited the monastery in the 8th century, contains exquisite wall paintings in it's Church of The Virgin Mary.

The desert view from the top of it's fortified keep is breathtaking.

Deir Abu Makar, or Monastery of St. Makarios, some 20 km south of St. Pshoi's, has given many Coptic popes among it's monks and contains tombs of many patriarchs and martyrs including the founder's itself. It is the most secluded and it is necessary to obtain a visit permission issued by it's Cairo administrative office.

The Holy Family found haven in Egypt for almost four years after their flight from Bethlehem for fear of Kinf Herod's persecution. Through the centuries their epic journey has been revived and revered by Egyptians with many holy sites.

The sacred travellers ventured all the way from Bethlehem, through Sinai, to Sakha in the north of the Nile Delta to Assiut in Middle Egypt. Old Cairo is among the most important locations visited by the Hoy Family where the spiritual impact of their presence is most felt still. Some of such sites in the Fortress of Babylon area are, The Church of Abu Serga, Al-Muallaqa or Hanging Church, The Church of St. Barbara and the Convent of St. Georges to mention just a few. At the Fustat section of the city, The Church of the Virgin Mary of Al-Deshiria, The Church of St.Mercurios Abu Sefein are among the hloy places. An air of devotion pervades the whole district.

Nevertheless, the most meaningful destination of all the land of Egypt is Mount Qussqam. There, the Monastery of Al Muharrag was built around the cave where the Holy Family dwelt for six months. This area is also known as Second Bethlehem. On their way back, they retraced more or less their steps on their outward journey across Sinai to Palestine.

Deir Abu Makar


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