The Holy Family left Jabal al-Tair region and crossed the Nile to the western side towards the Ashmounin, which was called in the Roman era (Hermopolis Magna). It is a town located in the heart of Middle Upper Egypt, 300 km south of Cairo. Its name was (Shamno or Khemnu) in the ancient Egyptian language which means “Eight” in relation to the number of its eight deities, the greatest of whom is the goddess (Thoth). When the ancient city disappeared, it was replaced by another city with the same name, also called Ashmounin, meaning “the second eight.”
It is mentioned in a sermon of Bishop Zacharias, the bishop of Sakha, that when the Holy Family came to the city, the next morning the Virgin went out with the boy to distract him in the city streets and they entered a Greek temple, where the statues fell and were smashed. The news spread among the people who were astonished and began to wonder the reason for this happening. People learned of the event of the Child Jesus entering the temple which coincided with the destruction of the statue of the pagan goddess, so the Holy Family was forced to leave the city. That is why they did not stay there except for few days and they went after to a village called “Felis”, which is currently Dayrut Al-Sharif. Then, they headed to Al-Qusiyah and stayed there for a long time. During their return trip, they visited the city of Ashmounin again.
The story of the arrival of the Holy Family to the city of Ashmounin was reported by the History of Egyptian Monks, which was written by seven monks from Palestine who visited Egypt in the year 394 AD. It was also reported by Palladius, who visited Egypt between the years (388 AD – 399 AD), as well as Pope Theophilus the 23rd Pattriarch, the historian Sozomen around the year 443 AD, and Abu Al-Makarim in the year 1209 AD.