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Taste and See: Experiencing the 'Hidden' Holy Land

Outside the Anglican cathedral in Cairo there is a stone on which is engraved words from Matthew’s Gospel “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.”

This is a picture of the stone with the Matthew text.

It serves to remind the many who pass by, that Egypt has its own holy land stories, often overlooked or ignored by Western pilgrims and Christians. The Old Testament describes how the concept of a people of Israel as a people in Covenant with God took shape at Mount Sinai. But Egypt’s part in the Christian story has much more to say than that. The papyrus on which the oldest versions of the New Testament were written was made from plants grown in the Nile Delta. That is one of the reasons why a great library and centre of Christian learning, supporting figures of the early church such as Origen, was founded at Alexandria. The ascetic tradition of Christians living as hermits and monks was developed in Egypt. And of course in the New Testament we learn that Jesus spent (perhaps a considerable time of) his early life as a refugee in Egypt, which is where the text on the stone has its context.

The modern Anglican Church in Egypt is a vibrant successor in this tradition, and its recently appointed head of the Partnership Office, Kristin Jacobs, is keen that this ‘hidden’ holy land becomes better known in the West. To this end she is organising a series of familiarisation trips for Western Christians, starting this Autumn. Participants will have plenty to see. This is not a Church which is agonising over questions of gender and sexuality. Rather there is lots of evidence that its focus is on healing the sick, raising up the poor, welcoming the stranger and doing what it can to achieve reconciliation.

Participants will be able to see for themselves what the church is doing through its hospitals and schools, its work with refugees and its community projects in some of the poorest areas, as well as visiting other sites of historical religious interest. There will also be time to visit the iconic pyramids and to soak up the atmosphere of this unique land.

Kristin came to Egypt with her husband Jeff who is priest for the English congregation at Cairo Anglican cathedral. She has been blown away by Egypt and wants to convey her enthusiasm to others. For her ‘partnership’ means what it says.

This is not like visitors coming to a zoo, just to watch from a distance.  This is a chance to see how the strengths of the Western church and the strengths of the Egyptian church can be mutually beneficial and really enable growth. Brothers and sisters are visiting their wider family.

Kristin Jacobs

Kristin pictured by the Pyramids with her three small children

She thinks that people will be surprised and perhaps even transformed by what they see, as her family have been. As an American she says that this intensity and variety of church ministries as well as the familiar tourist sites, was an eye-opener to her, .

She hopes that by providing an exciting programme of visits to places that might have been thought difficult to access otherwise, this land’s Christian heritage and its contemporary Christian life might become better known. As her job title suggests, she is in the business of finding partners. These could be prayer partners, parishes seeking twinning arrangements or sponsors for particular projects. The very reasonable cost will include all accommodation and internal flights and transport. 

All Saints Cathedral Cairo

Further details are available at

[email protected]



14th August 2023