Christianity began in Africa through Egypt when St. Mark arrived in Alexandria in 61 A.D. Most Egyptians were Christians until the 11th century, before the arrival of the Arab Muslims in Egypt. Coptic Cairo was built in the Roman Babylonian city so most of the churches were built on the ruins of the Babylonian Roman fortress.
The Christians built churches on the places where the Holy Family lived during their flight in Egypt as the Hanging Church. The Coptic Quarter is considered an important destination that reflects the Christian civilization in Cairo because of its attractive churches. One of the most important churches in Cairo is St. Sergius Church which is considered one of the oldest churches in Cairo.
The History of St. Sergius Church
It was built in the center of the Babylonian Roman fortress in Old Cairo. The exact time of its construction is not known, it was said to be in the 5th or 8th century. The Church was dedicated to two holy martyrs, Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus; one was an Egyptian Christian who died with his father and sister due to Roman persecution, and the other was a slave of the Roman Emperor “Maximilian” and died by torture.
The two saints died in the fourth century. The Church was burned and restored many times. The first fire was in 750 (during the destruction of Fustat). The last restoration was in 2000.
The Construction of the Church of St. Sergius
The structure of the Church is a traditional basilica. The Church is rectangular, 18 and 29 m. The Church is divided into three naves, the central nave which is 15 m high and the others are 6 m high. The roof of the Church is in the shape of Noah’s Ark. The roof of the lateral naves is flat. The ceiling of the central altar is dedicated to Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus.
The aisles are divided by two rows of white marble columns, except for one of red granite. On the columns are images of saints and icons of the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. There are three sanctuaries, each with an altar and a wooden dome.
The main sanctuary from the 13th century is worshipped with ebony and ivory. The sanctuary in the north is dedicated to Archangel Gabriel and the one in the south is dedicated to Archangel Michael. The baptistery is located in the northwest part of the church.
About St. Sergius Church
The Church is known in Arabic as “the Church of Abu Serga”. It was built over a cave where the Holy Family lived during their flight from King Herod so on June 1 the Egyptians celebrate in the Church of St. Sergius for the arrival of the Holy Family. The cave has two rooms and a vaulted ceiling.
Excursion to the Church of St. Sergius
St. Sergius Church is one of the most famous churches among the tourist attractions in Cairo so if you are in Cairo and want to enjoy your time, you can check out our day trips in Cairo. You can also check out our Egypt travel packages or Nile cruises to visit other destinations such as temples, tombs, pyramids, and the wonderful landscapes of the Red Sea in Hurgada.