Africa provided refuge and home to Jesus Christ in his early childhood when King Herod sought to kill Him after his birth. Egypt in northeastern Africa became home away from home for Jesus as a new born. Jesus and his family fled to Egypt after the cruel plan of Herod was divinely revealed to them.
King Herod was not comfortable on hearing the fact that a new King of the Jews had been born. King Herod was a lover of his throne and associated power and would not hesitate to nip any threat in the bud.
Some historians had documented that king Herod( Herod the great as he often liked to be called) was a cruel, power-drunk ruler who eliminated anyone he suspected was trying to usurp his power and throne. He was said to have even killed some members of his own household because he thought they were ganging up against him.
King Herod could not stand the fact that some wise men(scholars) from the east had come to town looking for a new born king in his own domain to pay homage, acknowledge and to bow down and worship Him(Jesus)
The Biblical account is recorded in the book of Matthew 2:1-13:
“2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the wise men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
A local French tradition states that saint Aphrodisius, an Egyptian saint who was venerated as the first bishop of Beziers, was the man who sheltered the Holy family when they fled to Egypt in Africa. Egypt was a logical place to find refuge, as it was outside the dominions of king Herod enabling the holy family to clandestinely evade king Herod’s assassins.
It was also recorded that the Holy family Visited many areas in Egypt including Farama, Tel Basta, Wadi El Natrun, Bilbaise, Samalout, Maadi, Al-Matariyyah among others.
It is also tradition that the Holy family visited Coptic Cairo and stayed at the site of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church(Abu Serga) and the place where the church of the holy virgin stands now.
Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church is believed to have been built on the spot where the holy family, Joseph, Mary and infant Jesus rested after a tedious journey to Egypt. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt dating back to the 4th century. This church has an underground crypt where Joseph, Mary and Jesus hid during the brutality and massacre by King Herod. It is speculated that they might have lived here while Joseph worked at the fortress. who knows how difficult it might have been for Joseph to get a job and fend for his family in a foreign land. How long the holy family lived in Egypt is controversial, but most writers put it at 2-4 years
This site is a historic religious site of attraction, no doubt many people want to pay a visit or even attend a church service here if possible. How would you feel to worship in a place where Jesus spent some time? I think it will be awesome for Christians.
Thanks for visiting this page. Please before you leave, kindly comment on how you would have managed the situation if you were in King Herod’s shoes.
WRITTEN BY SAMUEL AGBOMA.