A Rerun for Christmas Eve: The Coptic Traditional Tales of the Flight into Egypt

From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Dec 24 2012, 08:35:00

Though the Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on the Eastern date, January 7, I thought I'd start the week of Western Christmas this year with this rerun from back in 2009, on the folklore surrounding the Flight into Egypt in the Coptic tradition. The Copts have taken the brief Biblical mention of the Holy Family's sojourn in Egypt and elaborated it into a tale of three years of wandering, tales little known, I suspect, outside Egypt. This remains one of my more popular posts, and one of my personal favorites.

Since we're in between Western Christmas and Eastern Christmas, I thought it might be a useful time to call to your attention the extremely detailed traditions Egypt's Copts maintain about the Holy Family and the Flight into Egypt. There is hardly a Christian church in Egypt -- and there are some mosques, too, since Jesus and Mary are highly venerated in Islam -- that doesn't claim that Jesus, Mary and Joseph dropped by for a while. They must have been constantly on the move to have covered so much ground, but you can't build up a good pilgrimage trade if you don't stop frequently.

Now, the Flight into Egypt gets only a couple of verses in the Bible and is only mentioned in one Gospel, Matthew, so the extremely detailed accounts of the Coptic stories have more to do with pious elaboration -- or pilgrimage tourism -- than history, but the stories can be quite charming. Some are based on an apocryphal Armenian infancy gospel, some on local traditions, etc. The Coptic traditions hold that the Holy Family spent three years in Egypt.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Nigeria:   As Govt Loses Ground in North-East, a 15-Point Plan for Nigeria (analysis)
AfricaPlus
22 July 2014

July 23 marks 100 days since the Chibok girls were abducted. The Boko Haram insurgency has brought to world attention the shortcomings of Nigeria's army, police, and other security services. President ... [read more]

Somalia:   Somali Lawmaker Killed in Mogadishu (news)
Voice of America
23 July 2014

Gunmen in Somalia's capital have shot dead a member of parliament -- the fourth Somali lawmaker killed in Mogadishu this year. A government official tells VOA's Somali Service that Saado Ali Warsame ... [read more]

Africa:   Oil Producers in Shadowy Deals With Swiss Commodity Traders - Report (news)
AlertNet
22 July 2014

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa are selling crude petroleum in shadowy deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars without publicly accounting for the money, according to a new report. [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!