Despite being poor in Egypt, the village of Fayoum and neighboring others host poor youth while holding religious festivities, commemorating the journey of the Holy Family through Egypt. In fact, just recently, nuns from the Holy Family church celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the convent in the city of al-Mansurah. The Church of Jesus the King also celebrated its diamond jubilee in the presence of Bishop Macarius Tawfiq, Bishop of Coptic Catholic Church in Ismailyah, said Robeir Faris of Rose Al Yusef. The Latin diocese in Egypt also released a book entitled Various Hymns of Virgin Mary and Prayers for the Rosy Praising which includes 20 hymns for the Virgin Mary written in Arabic and Latin.
The Holy Family traveled to Egypt, escaping from the fury of King Herod. They worked their way through hidden valleys, long stretches of the desert, across uncharted plateaus in the wastelands of the Sinai, over perilous mountains and miles upon miles of empty open spaces. All trails the Holy Family covered in their passage through Egypt were chronicled by Pope Theopilus, the 23rd Patriarch of Alexandria. In Old Cairo, in the area now known as Misr El Kadima, lie the most important locations where the spiritual impact of the Holy Family’s presence was felt. In this area, in Fustat was where the governor was outraged by the tumbling down of idols as Jesus approached. The Abu Serga or St. Sergius (housing the crypt of the Holy Family) and the entire area of the Fort of Babylon have become a destination for pilgrimage not only for Egyptians but also for millions of Christians around the world. Hence, the churches are delighted to host thousands of kids to these holy sites.
”Making use of youth’s leisure time in the mid-year vacation, the Church of the Sacred Heart in New Cairo announced a program that includes a conference of spiritual studies for various school stages in the Carmelite convent in Fayoum. The church organizes visits to the needy and poor villages in Fayoum to provide townspeople with clothing and food. The two dioceses of Sohag and Ismailyah put up a conference for the youngsters in Luxor in order for them learn verses from the bib le, as well as go on free sightseeing tours around Luxor,” Faris said, adding that the churches of Old Cairo likewise package many tours to the Monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun, the Red Sea and St. Mina in King Marriot, under the auspices of Bishop Selwanes, the pope’s deputy. The churches of Helwan, under the auspices of Bishop Besenti, also conduct tours to Luxor and Aswan.
Meanwhile, the Association of St. Mina the Miraculous for Coptic Studies in Alexandria released a special issue of the Rakuti Magazine, with the chief editor doing a feature on ‘Lights on Coptic Studies’ which carries many topics from the Coptic civilization (such as peacocks in the Coptic art, ambos in the Coptic Churches and Aswan in the Coptic era) for youth edutainment while on school break.
Other spots to visit in Fayoum
Another\ spot they can possibly go to in Fayoum is an archeological site- an ancient settlement unearthed by an archaeological mission from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In Fayoum, the American mission found an intact Neolithic settlement and the remnants of a Graeco-Roman village while carrying out a magnetic survey.
This discovery was made when the team was surveying the site while studying fluctuations in water levels of the lake, which caused artifacts to be either covered with meters of sediment or dramatically displaced by erosion. This site was previously excavated by Gertrude Caton-Thompson in 1925, who found several Neolithic remains. However, the UCLA team had magnetic survey that stumbled upon the settlement much larger than expected, and includes remains of mud-brick walls as well as clay fragments.
General layout of the Qaret Al-Rusas village, on the northeastern side of Lake Qarun, without excavating, revealed clear wall lines and streets in an orthogonal pattern typical of the Graeco-Roman period. The site was covered by the waters of Lake Qarun at an unknown time and for an unknown period, as not only the surface is completely leveled but potsherds and limestone flakes are covered with a thick layer of calcium carbonate, which is usually indicative of a stand of 30-40cm deep water.
Excavation extended to Karanis on the northern edge of the Faiyum depression where remains of a Graeco-Roman city can be seen. A University of Michigan team excavated the site between 1926 and 1935, and found homes in excellent condition with many organic remains having survived through the ages. However, the site was not backfilled, and hence sustained damage to the buildings caused by rainfall and wind erosion. Excavations in the area uncovered remains of an ancient creek or pond. At that moment, it had not been established whether this fresh water source existed alongside the town or during earlier years. The main purpose of the survey was to better understand the archaeological and zoo-archaeological remains at Karanis in a well-excavated context, as well as to understand the life and economic activities of the people who lived in Karanis on Fayoum.
Also in Fayoum, Egypt’s Grand Museum is the biggest in the world with 80,000 artifacts. It has outdoor and indoor sections and the largest Ramses II statue, moved from its famous location on Ramses Square in Cairo, to the museum entrance.
Egyptian kids definitely can have edutainment galore without spending much. After all, Egypt is the truly the capital of ancient civilization.