Exodus of Saint Mary and Lord Jesus Christ

May 31, 2022

Our Lord Jesus Christ came to the land of Egypt on June 1 when He was two years old. The Angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Rise up, take the child and His mother, and depart to the land of Egypt and remain there until I tell you.” (Matthew 2:13)

The coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ took place for two reasons, in the operation of His wisdom. First: If Herod, the infidel, found Him and was able to kill Him, others would think that His Incarnation was from below; Second, that the men of the land of Egypt might not be deprived of His grace, His going about in their midst, He might smash the idols which were in the land of Egypt, that the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which saying, “Behold, God shall mount upon a swift (or, light) cloud, and shall come to the land of Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall fall down.” (Isaiah 19:1)

Our Lord, in the operation of His wisdom, fled before Herod, but it was not through fear that He fled. The first city at which Joseph, and our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, our Lord Jesus Christ and Salome, whose name was “Balata,” arrived, would not receive them. They dug a well of water there and it became a means of healing, not only to the men of that city, but also to all other men.

Thence they departed to the monastery of Gamnudi, and they crossed the river towards the west. The Lord put His foot upon a stone, and the mark of the sole of His foot is in the stone to this day. The name of that place is called “the place of the sole of the foot of the Lord Jesus.” Our Lord said to His mother, Holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, “Know you, O Mary, my mother that in this place a Church shall be built in thy name and in mine. I will make manifest therein signs and wonders, until the end of the world, and it shall be called ‘Debre Mitmaq.’

Onward they departed towards the river and crossed over towards the west. He then saw the desert of Scete from afar, and our Lord Jesus Christ blessed it. After, He said to His mother, “Know, O my mother Mary, that in this desert there shall live many monks, [and] ascetics, and spiritual fighters. They shall serve God like the angels.” Thence He came to Debre Mesrak. There was a staff in the hand of Joseph, wherewith used to smite our Lord Jesus Christ and Joseph gave Him the staff. When He took it and said to His mother, “We will tarry here”; that place and its desert, and the well of water, which is the first there, became known as Matareya (Near Heliopolis).

Our Lord took Joseph’s staff, broke it into little pieces and planted these pieces in that place. He then dug with His own divine hands a well. There flowed from it sweet water, which had an exceedingly sweet odor. Our Lord took some of the water in His hands, and watered therewith the pieces of wood which He had planted. Straightway they took root, put forth leaves and an exceedingly sweet perfume was emitted by them, which was sweeter than any other perfume. These pieces of wood grew and increased and they called them “Balsan” (the balsam trees). Our Lord Jesus Christ said unto His mother, the holy Virgin Mary, “O my mother, this Balsan, which I have planted, shall abide here forever, and from them shall be [taken] the oil for Christian baptism, when they baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Thereafter they went to the city of Behensa, and to a place, which is called Bet Iyasus, which is interpreted “House of Jesus”; Our Lord Jesus Christ dug there a well whereof the water cured every sickness and every pain. He also set a sign in a certain well of the river of Egypt, which rose [in flood] every year. At the time of prayer at which they offered up incense at mid-day to God by that well, as soon as the reading of the Gospel was ended the water which was in the well would rise up and come to the mouth of the well in which they used to receive a blessing from. Straightway the water would recede until it reached its former level. The people also used to measure by the cubit the height to which it rose above its normal level at the bottom of the well. If the height were twenty cubits, there would be great abundance in the land of Egypt that year; if the height were eighteen or seventeen cubits, there would also be abundance, but if the height were only sixteen cubits there would be a great famine throughout the land of Egypt. Then they went to ‘Eshmunayn, and our Lord broke the idols which were therein. They dwelt there for a few days with a man whose name was ‘Apelon. There were there some komol trees and they bowed [their heads] before our Lord Jesus Christ. They remained bent until this day.

Then they went to Debre Kuskuam and remained therein for six months. Our Lord placed a well therein, the water of which healed every sickness.

When our Lord had finished living in the land of Egypt the days which He wanted to live there, that is to say, three years and six months. Herod then died, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and again he spoke to him, saying, “Rise up and take the Child, His mother, and depart to the land of Israel.” When they returned from that place, they came to the city of Mahareka and having come to Mesr (Cairo), they dwelt in the cave, which is the Church of Saint Sergius in Mesr (Cairo). After this, they went out from Mesr (Cairo) and came to Matariyah. They bathed there. The well therein which our Lord Jesus Christ made became holy blessed from that hour, even as has already been said.

Thence went forth the oil “Balasan,” [the plants of which] our Lord planted, in which the oil Christian baptism is made perfect; with it Churches, altars and sacred property are consecrated. they give relief and healing to all those who are sick with it and they present it as a gift to kings, who boast themselves of its possession. From this place they went to Mehdab. By His return was fulfilled the Prophecy of Hosea the Prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1). It is for us to celebrate this spiritual festival on singing the words of David the prophet, “God has wrought signs in the land of Egypt, and wonders in the Field of Zoan.” (Psalm 78:12) Also, “He has wrought in thee the signs of Egypt, in the Egyptians,” and with them. “Glory be to God our Lord Jesus Christ, and to this Good Father, and to the Holy Life-giving Spirit, for ever and ever; Amen.”

May God’s mercy and the Intercession of Holy Mother Saint Mary be with us, Amen!

Source: The Ethiopian Synaxarium page 530-532