There is a story of the Divine Christ-child in the Egyptian Tradition:

An angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and commanded him to take the young Child and His Mother and flee to Egypt. Taking the Divine Child and His Most-holy Mother, Righteous Joseph traveled first to Nazareth (Luke 2:39), where he arranged his household matters, and then, taking his son James with them, went off to Egypt (Matthew 2:14). Thus the words of the prophet were fulfilled: Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt (Isaiah 19:1). In old Cairo today, the cave where the holy family lived can be seen. Likewise, in the village of Matarea near Cairo, the tree under which the Most-holy Theotokos rested with the Lord Jesus, as well as a miraculous spring of water under this tree, are visible.

At one time, as the holy family fled before Herod’s sword to Egypt, robbers leapt out on the road with the intention of stealing something. The righteous Joseph was leading the donkey, on which were some belongings and on which the Most-holy Theotokos was riding with her Son at her breast, and Joseph’s son James, who was to be called “the Just” followed behind. The robbers seized the donkey to lead it away. At that moment, one of the robbers approached the Mother of God to see what she was holding next to her breast.

The robber, seeing the Christ-child, was astonished at His unusual beauty and said in his astonishment: ‘If God were to take upon Himself the flesh of man, He would not be more beautiful than this Child!’ This robber then ordered his companions to take nothing from these travelers. Filled with gratitude toward this generous robber, the Most-holy Virgin said to him: ‘Know that this Child will repay you with a good reward because you protected Him today.’

Thirty-three years later, this same thief hung on the Cross for his crimes, crucified on the right side of Christ’s Cross. His name was Dismas, and the name of the thief on the left side was Gestas. Beholding Christ the Lord innocently crucified, Dismas repented for all the evil of his life. While Gestas reviled the Lord, Dismas defended Him, saying: ‘This man hath done nothing amiss.’ (Luke 23:41). Dismas, therefore, was the wise thief to whom our Lord said: ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise’ (Luke 23:43). Thus the Lord granted Paradise to him who spared Him in childhood.

 

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