|The Virgin's Tree at Al Matariyah|
|The Holy Family On Their Journey Into Egypt|
The Holy Family journeyed south from Palestine across the wilderness, avoiding the main road for fear of capture. They entered Egypt at modern-day Rafah, where a lone sycamore tree is said to have survived since their visit there too. The only other country where Jesus Christ is said to have lived besides his homeland Palestine, is Egypt. The reason apart from it being a land of plenty with no shortage of natural resources, Egypt was traditionally seen to have a high level of cultural integration and religious tolerance.
|The holy journey of the holy family in Egypt|
It is told that as Mary, Joseph the carpenter and the child Jesus tried to escape from two brigands who were in their pursuit; the trunk of the sycamore tree miraculously opened its bark where they hid inside, escaping detection. The tree is said to have medicinal properties, which is the reason why its branches are depleted, pilgrims have even stripped its bark. In the 15th century Felix Fabri, a Dominican monk, visited Mataria and noted that a gate had been built around the tree for protection and that the number of pilgrims that could enter at any one time was restricted to four. Nearby it is believed that a spring of water gushed out of the ground forming a pool where the Virgin Mary bathed Jesus is also said to be part of the miracles of the place because of its healing water.
|Mary the Mother of Jesus|