“The burden against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst” [Isaiah 19:1]. This prophesy was fulfilled when the Holy Family entered Egypt. With this entrance, Egypt’s idols collapsed forever. Since this time, Egypt and its faithful Christians were blessed, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophesy, “Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it” [Isaiah 19:21] and also “In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border” [Isaiah 19:19].
Today, in the middle of Egypt the monastery of St. Mary (a.k.a. El-MoHarrak) stands (in the middle of Egypt) witness to the fulfillment of this prophesy. In that monastery, the Holy Family stayed for about six months as we learned from Pope Theophilos, the twenty third patriarch of Alexandria, who was told of the details of the Holy Family’s journey in a vision. The “pillar in the border of it” speaks of St. Mark who preached in Egypt starting from Alexandria — at Egypt’s northern border.
God blessed Egypt since the beginning of time. Firstly He made it as the
paradise, “like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt” [Genesis
13:10]. Secondly, He blessed it as it welcomed many fathers of the Old
Testament. For example, Egypt welcomed Abraham and Sara (see [Genesis 12:10]),
and Jacob and his family (see [Genesis 39:50]). Egypt also welcomed other
prophets like Jeremiah. Even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself chose Egypt to be
the spiritual equivalent of Golgotha during the first Passover “… Egypt,
where also our Lord was crucified” [Revelation 11:8]. Amazingly, Egypt was
mentioned in the Holy Bible approximately 600 times, second only to Jerusalem
(Egypt: 595 times, Egyptian(s): 120 times).
The Holy Family dwelt throughout Egypt, from the north to the south and from
the east to the west. Today we know of about thirty three blessed areas where
the Holy Family dwelt. Lastly, St. Mary herself blessed Egypt again with daily
appearances in her church in Zaitoon, Cairo to express her love to the country
that welcomed her. She intercedes on our behalf to her Son and her God, and He
answers her: “Blessed is Egypt my people” [Isaiah 19:25].
Copts, being hosts of the Holy Family, follow the verse “You shall not be
afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the
pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at
noonday [Psalms 91:5-6], for the Lord is our shelter as our land sheltered
Him. When He came in the past, our forefathers welcomed Him. Now He knocks at
the gates of our hearts, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him,
and he with Me” [Revelation 3:20].