The Holy Family went from Dayrut al-Sharif to the Meir al-Qusiya region of Assiut Governorate, across the desert. It lies between Dayrut City on the north and Manfalut City from the south, and from the east by the Nile River.
Al-Qusiya is about 30 miles from Assiut, and it is two hundred and three miles south from Cairo.
It was called in ancient Egyptian Qais or Qust, and it is a city other than the current Qusiya, because the ancient Qusiya disappeared, and the ancient city is entirely located under the current modern city. The archaeological area is called the Barba, which means the temple. The city’s deity was Hathor, and it was said that when its people saw the idols being destroyed, they refused to receive the Holy Family.
This archaeological area has a long history, as there are 8 pharaonic tombs filled with drawings expressing the life of the ancient Egyptian. It was discovered by the English engineer “Blackman” in the year 1919 AD, and drawings of scenes of agricultural life, grazing, hunting, sports, and industry appear on its walls, and scenes that express recreational life and games in those ages. There are also coffins and statues. As well as Engravings in the Coptic language on the walls contain the words “Jesus is the Christ”.
There is a tradition that the Holy Family stayed in a cave in the eastern mountain, on the eastern bank of the Nile. This church is known as the Church of the Roman Virgin or the Cave of the Cow. This church is a cave carved in the rock and its sanctuary is a circular cave.
Oral tradition recounts that the Holy Family stayed in this place during their journey to the land of Egypt for ten days.
This place (the monastery) was rediscovered in the year 1837 A.D. by Archpriest Abd al-Malak Gadallah during the reign of Anba Yusab, Metropolitan of the Chair of Dayrout, Sanbo and Qusqam at that time, and in the rein of Pope Peter al-Gawli; 109th patriarch.
Anba Yusab announced with great joy that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him in a vision and said to him: “Beware of dedicating this church because it is sacred by the arrival of the Child Jesus in it during the journey of the Holy Family and that he stayed there for ten days.”
In the village of Meir al-Qusiya, we find a church built as a memorial to the journey of the Holy Family in this place, in the name of the martyr Abu Sefein. This church was demolished in the past and was rebuilt more than once.
From Al-Qusiya, the Holy Family moved to the village of Meir. Its people honored them, and the Lord Christ blessed them. Since that time, the agricultural land of Meir became fertile and abundant in agricultural production, until it became an example for fertility of its land, and a proverb for the matter was said; “The poor are poor, even if they plant in Meir”
Meir is one of the ancient villages located west of the city of Al-Qusiya, and from there the Holy Family moved to Mount Qusqam.