Egyptian Copts finally fulfilling ‘dream’ of traveling to Jerusalem

In Jerusalem at Easter

Egyptian Refaat El-Sayeh, in white robe, joins other Coptic Christian pilgrims from the village of Al-Kosheh, Egypt, in Jerusalem. Upon their return to Egypt, these men are called “Muqadiseen” meaning holy ones for having completed the journey to the the city where Jesus lived and died. Photo courtesy of Fady Hadny

Source: Religion News Service

AL-KOSHEH, Egypt (RNS) For decades, merchant Refaat El-Sayeh, a Coptic Christian, wanted to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and visit the Church of the Nativity in nearby Bethlehem — but mostly, he wanted to feel closer to God.

For years, those pilgrimages for Egypt’s Coptic Christians, like El-Sayeh, were discouraged.

“To visit Jerusalem and the holy places was always my wish,” El-Sayeh said. “You feel the hand of God. This is the lifelong dream of every Christian in Al-Kosheh.”

Now, it is a dream increasingly being realized. Last year, El-Sayeh and 25 others from this town 300 miles south of Cairo made an Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem, part of a growing number of Egypt’s Coptic Christians doing the same.

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