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:

Ghana/South Africa:   Black Stars Late Strike Sends Bafana Home (news)
allAfrica.com
27 January 2015

Ghana secured a place in the African Nations Cup quarter-finals with a dramatic 2-1 victory over South Africa in Mongomo that gave them top place in Group C. [read more]

Nigeria:   European Election Observers Avoid North-East (news)
The Guardian
26 January 2015

Less than three weeks to the general elections, the European Union (EU) said it would not send its election observers to the North-East states because of the security challenges in the zone. [read more]

Sudan:   Opposition Sceptical of Mbeki's Peacemaking (news)
Sudan Tribune
26 January 2015

The African Union chief mediator for the Sudans Thabo Mbeki met today with the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) who conveyed to him their sense of a deteriorating political ... [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!