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Saint Barbara Church

Saint Barbara Church

Legend has it that Saint Barbara was a beautiful young lady - a descent of Asia Minor - who lived in the 4th century. She was the daughter of a wealthy noble man. She was a very protected child - in fact there are stories that her father built a huge tower to keep her away from Christianity but she was so fascinated by the religion that she converted herself to a Christian. When her father got to know this, he tried hard to convert her back and tortured her severely. However, nothing had an effect on her and she continued with the religion. She was tortured daily and then thrown into the prison, where God would come and heal her wounds everyday and fill her with abundance of joy. Finally, when nothing could get her to change her religion, her father took her out the city and killed her. But on his way back, he was struck by lightning and killed instantly.

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The Church of Saint Barbara also falls in the category of one of the oldest churches. The church is in the form of a Roman Basilica and has an entrance, a narthex, a nave, two aisles and three sanctuaries located in the east wing. The sanctuary in the middle is the main one and is dedicated to Saint Barbara. As you enter from the narthex, you come face to face with five marble columns, which separate the nave from the two aisles. Towards the front of the middle sanctuary is a semi-circular choir.

The church has many icons - the most precious being the sycamore door that dates back to the fifth century. Most of the icons are that of Christ surrounded by angels. The icons resting on the southern aisle of the church represents Virgin Mary and Jesus as a child, Jesus entering Jerusalem and the baptism of Christ.

The Church has undergone many renovations and modifications. It seems the Church was burnt down during the Fustat fire of 750, but was then restored during the 11th century. But in the 12th century, it was once again ruined in a fire. Then during the 20th century, the church was once again renovated extensively.

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