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:

South Africa:   Home Affairs' Officials Arrested (news)
SAnews.gov.za
27 May 2016

The Department of Home Affairs has noted the arrest of its officials at the Beitbridge Port of Entry, in Musina, by the Directorate for Priority Crimes (DPCI), on Thursday. Four Home Affairs officials ... [read more]

Angola:   Yellow Fever Deaths Cross 300 - WHO (news)
Deutsche Welle
27 May 2016

The World Health Organization says the worst outbreak for 30 years has spread from the capital Luanda to most coastal and central regions. The disease has killed several hundred people since ... [read more]

Uganda:   Gunmen Raid UPDF Detach, Kill Two, Seize Guns (news)
The Monitor
27 May 2016

Unknown gunmen have overrun a Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) army detach in Opit trading center, Lakwana Sub-county Gulu District, killing two people and looting army uniforms before fleeing ... [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!


Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...