On the Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about Egypt as a place of refuge for the Child Christ.
‘Egypt becomes a place of refuge, a place of escape for the Baby Jesus, and through His presence in Egypt, Christ turns the curse into a blessing, showing that even pagans are called to salvation,’ Patriarch Daniel said December 29 at Samurcasesti Monastery near Bucharest.
Offering his reflections on the flight into Egypt recounted in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13–23), His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel reminded that Egypt was a country ‘where the Jews knew bondage and humility, being considered a cursed land full of idols.’
Even though immediately after His Birth, the Baby Jesus was joyfully met by angels, shepherds and the Magi from the East, yet He was received with hostility and threatened to death by King Herod of Judea.
For this reason, the Child Christ was protected by angels, who instructed Joseph to go into Egypt until Herod’s death, the Patriarch explained.
Egyptian monks, a result of the blessing of the Baby Jesus
Patriarch Daniel noted that the gospel reading on Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord ‘shows us in essence that God changes exile into a blessing.’
Thus, several centuries later, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church pointed out, many monasteries began to develop in Egypt where thousands of monks prayed day and night.
‘Thee monks who fled from the world in order to crucify their selfish passions and to acquire saintliness are the result of the blessing of the Baby Jesus upon Egypt,’ His Beatitude said.
The Romanian Patriarch explained that the Egyptian monks, unlike pharaohs who hoped that through their pyramids and embalming would gain eternal life, discovered the source of immortality in Jesus Christ.
“Through humility, feat, fasting and prayer, they discovered that immortality is not inside the pyramids, but inside the heart.”
For this, Patriarch Daniel explained, monks were the greatest blessing for Egypt.
The Patriarch also recalled that great saints, many martyrs and Church Fathers were born in Egypt, who defended the right faith in the face of heresies and called the world to holiness.
At the end of His homily, His Beatitude said that Christ’s blessing for Egypt shows how God changes evil for good and urges us to protect and help all families with children in distress.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene
Follow us on Twitter: @BasilicaNews