An investigation of Matarea

(Place of residence of the Sacred Family in Egypt)


P. Jorge de Jesús Fuentes Davison, sdb.


We know, by means of the main Work of the great mystic Maria Valtorta (“The Gospel as it has been revealed to me”), that the town in which the Sacred Family lived in Egypt, was called MATAREA (Cfr. 1: 36.1; 2: 119.1; 4: 247.8).  Also, the Indice e Carta della Palestina”, written by Hans J. Hopfen that was made specifically from this work and for the service of the same, indicates…“it was the place of refuge of the Sacred Family during the exile in Egypt. Today, 10 kilometers [=6.2miles] to the North of Cairo, there is a village called MATARIYA” (p.86).

Interested in the subject, I investigated this place and found something interesting to share with Valtorta’s readers.

Firstly, I tried to locate the place in a recent map of Egypt, and I realized that there was a little bit of confusion. A big map, included in the December 2008 National Geographic magazine in Spanish, whose main article is “The true King Herode”, locates a place called AL MATARIYA, 150 kilometers [=93.2 miles] to the northeast of  Cairo, which is obviously not the place which Hopfen mentions in his Index (10 kilometers to the North of Cairo).

After consulting some other maps of Egypt on the Internet, I found that a place named Al Matariyah (well-known today also as “Ein (or Ain) Shams”), was the old HELIOPOLIS (not to be confused with the modern Heliopolis suburb, that is on the east side of Cairo). Curiously, I found that the old Heliopolis, was the town where the first Egyptian priests lived, some 2500 years before Christ was born. It was their place of residence.

And it is good to know that this place, Al Matariyah, also belongs to a more extensive district of El Cairo called AL-ZEITOUN. Surprisingly, I realized that Al Matariyah (the old HELIOPOLIS) is not 10 kilometers away from Cairo, as Hopfen stated in his Index, it is… ¡IN THE NORTHEASTERN  SIDE OF THE CITY OF CAIRO! (in what is now named THE OLD CITY) … It is just a suburb of the City, but very important because of its history.

Even, in a simple map of the city of Cairo, this place is totally identified, and, to my astonishment (according to several articles obtained on the Internet), there is an ancient tradition of devotion towards the Sacred Family in that district, for many centuries past. Tourists who write on the Internet of their experience, while visiting this district of El Cairo, say that one can even breathe a Sacred Family environment at that place (“Entering a place called Al Matariyah you seem to be entering another world. Although it is a somewhat small place, everything is very well organized, and there is much vegetation there. Another aspect of this area is that, everything, within this region, takes the name of the Virgin Mary: there is a Coptic Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, also a Mosque dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a well and a tree related to Mary and Jesus, and even bricks of the house of the Sacred Family”.

In fact, as this tourist already mentioned above, there is a famous orthodox coptic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Al Matariyah. It is in a district called Zeitoun in Cairo. But what was most pleasing and astonishing for me to discover, was that in Holy Week of 1968 (on April 2nd, Tuesday), the Virgin Mary began to appear publicly to thousands of people, for nearly two years, … right ON THE TOP PART OF THIS CHURCH, where the domes are! These appearances are famous throughout the world, because there are thousands of photos and videos of the luminosities with the form of the Virgin Mary that appeared. In fact all the information is available on the Internet.

I say that these appearances of the Virgin Mary at this place are not random. I guess she appeared exactly on the site where she lived with the Lord Jesus and Saint Joseph when they came to live in Egypt. I dare say that this site is particularly special to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, because this was the place where the Sacred Family lived while exiled in Egypt. And this place, is exactly in MATAREA. This site was mentioned by Maria Valtorta (for the first time in her Work) on January 25th, 1944, as the place where the Sacred Family lived in Egypt; that is, more than 24 years before the appearances of Our Blessed Mother in that same place in 1968. Although oral tradition for centuries kept this place as one of the many places the Sacred Family visited in their journey, we can now say that the Virgin Mary has confirmed, with her appearances, that this is the place where she lived with Jesus and Joseph, as Valtorta revealed in her writings. And it is interesting, that this little 250 square meters [=2690 sq.ft.] orthodox Church, where the miracle appearances took place, was constructed by the copts (orthodox christians) in 1925.

Finally, I observe that we are not dealing with an unknown or lost town of Egypt (not 10 km north of Cairo as Hopfen suggested, nor 150 kms from Cairo, as some maps indicate); we are speaking about the great City of Cairo where everything about the Sacred Family in Egypt took place. Of course, in that time, Matarea was only a little village on the outside of  Cairo, which was founded 116 years before Christ was born.

Certainly, it is a small and insignificant detail in the life of Jesus. But for those who care about even the slightest details about Our Lord´s life, they will be happy to know this information. And for those of us who also believe and share Valtorta´s Work, the meaning of this is certainly precious.

By the way it was interesting for me to find out, with the Goggle Earth program, that the distance (in a straight line) between Bethlehem and Al Matariya is 432 kilometers [=268.4 miles]. It must have taken at least one month and a half or even two, for the Sacred Family to reach Egypt. And the distance between their home (where the Church stands now) and the biggest of the three Pyramids is 24 kilometers [=14.9 miles]. (Valtorta says that the Sacred Family could see one of the Pyramids from their home. Cfr. 36: 1). And also, by the way, the time that Jean Aulanger, the ancient Calendar expert, calculates the Sacred Family remained in Egypt, taking his calculations from the information Valtorta mentions in her Work, was around two years and seven months. Almost three years in Egypt, out of the thirty of the Lord´s private life, and then… another three to save mankind. Those were the mysterious plans of God.