Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga)


Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga)

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as Abu Serga, in Coptic Cairo is one of the oldest Coptic churches in Egypt, dating back to the 4th century.[1]

Contents

Importance

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church is traditionally believed to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus Christ, rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. They may have lived here while Joseph worked at the fortress.[1].

The church is of significant historical importance, and in fact, it is where many patriarchs of the Coptic Church were elected. The first to be elected here was Patriarch Isaac (681-692) It is the episcopal church of Cairo, and it was the episcopal See of Masr (the district of Old Cairo) that replaced the former See of Babylon. Many bishops of the See were consecrated in the Church until the reign of Patriarch Christodulus (1047–1077).

The church

The church is dedicated to Sergius and Bacchus, who were soldier-saints martyred during the 4th century in Syria by the Roman Emperor Maximian. The most interesting feature is the crypt where Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus are said to have rested. The crypt is 10 meters deep and, when Nile levels are high, is often flooded.[2]

The Church was built in the 4th century and was probably finished during the 5th century. It was burned during the fire of Fustat during the reign of Marwan II around 750. It was then restored during the 8th century, and has been rebuilt and restored constantly since medieval times; however, it is still considered to be a model of the early Coptic churches. Again, the most precious and ancient of the icons are on the southern wall. A vast central hall is divided into three naves by two rows of pilasters.[3].

Pope Christodolos

By the 11th century AD the Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria , which is historically based in Alexandria, Egypt was moved to Cairo as ruling powers moved away from Alexandria to Cairo after the Arab invasion of Egypt and during Pope Christodolos's tenure Cairo became the fixed and official residence of the Coptic Pope at the Hanging Church in Cairo in 1047.

Infighting between the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus and the El Muallaqa Church broke out due to the wishes of that patriarch's desire to be consecrated in the Hanging Church, a ceremony that traditionally took place at Saints Sergius and Bacchus

See also

  • Coptic Orthodox Church
  • Christian Egypt
  • Holy Family in Egypt

Other Coptic Orthodox Churches

External links

References

  1. ^ a b Egypt: The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Abu Serga)
  2. ^ Church of Abu Serga (St Sergius) Guide - Yahoo! Travel Guide UK
  3. ^ Abu serga


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