Christian Pilgrimages to Egypt Given Papal Blessing
Pope Francis blesses icon of the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.
For travellers with an interest in Christian history, a series of historic sites across Egypt have been granted further significance directly from The Vatican. Providing official recognition for a historic moment, Pope Francis recently blessed an icon that represents the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph with their infant son Jesus, who fled to Egypt to escape persecution.
Pope Francis presented the icon that he had blessed to Egyptian Minister for Tourism, Mohamed Yehia Rashed during a special visit to the Vatican by a government delegation. The icon was formally presented during the Pope’s weekly audience to thousands of followers in St. Peter’s Square.
The presenting of the icon marks a significant step in promoting religious tourism to Egypt, with the Holy Family’s route to be included in Roman Catholic pilgrimage programmes in 2018. Five locations have been developed in preparation, including the churches of Coptic Cairo and the Monasteries of Wadi El Natrun, North West of Cairo.
It is hoped that this event will aid in eventually having the complete journey taken by the Holy Family from Bethlehem through Egypt to the religious tourism map worldwide. According to Biblical tradition, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with young Jesus to escape persecution at the hands of King Herod.
In April this year, Pope Francis became the first Roman Catholic Pontiff to visit Egypt since Pope John Paul II in 2000. In presenting the blessed icon, he spoke fondly of his trip, describing Egypt as a land of history and hospitality.
For press queries, please contact:
Stuart Fyfe/James Brooke/Nick Wheywell/Rachel Sewell
T: +44 (0) 20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]
Located in the northeast corner of Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt is placed at a crossroad between Africa, Asia and Europe. With colossal ancient monuments, thousands of years of history, expansive desert landscapes, the world’s longest river and the stunning Red Sea Riviera resorts, Egypt offers a wealth of wonders to discover.