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The Church of Saint Sergius

The Church of Saint Sergius

Considered to be the oldest church in Cairo, the Church of Saint Sergius or St Sergio dates back to the 4th century. The church is supposed to be built on the same spot where the Holy Family - Joseph, May and infant Christ, had visited during their escape from the King Herod. It is also believed that the Holy Family may have lived here. It is located in the centre of the Ancient Roman fort of Babylon and is dedicated to two martyrs - Sergius and Bacchus - who were soldier-saints and were martyred in Syria in the 4th century by the then Roman Emperor.The Church is in the shape of a basilica with a narthex, a nave, and two aisles. The aisles are separated from the nave by 12 columns - 10 of stone, one of marble and one of rosette granite.

Three sanctuaries don the east side - each of these sanctuaries contain an altar, a wooden dome held together by four marble columns. The domes are adorned with pictorial representation of Christ, angles and four evangelists. On the northeast side of the nave is a pulpit made of marble - originally the pulpit was made of wood, coated with ivory.

The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus was built during the 5th century but again, like all the other churches, this church also suffered burns during the fire of Fustat. It was then restored in the 8th century and has undergone lot of renovations since medieval times.

When you visit this church, what you should not miss is a church inside a cave. The cave has a nave and two aisles and the ceiling is in the shape of a dome. It seems it is here that the Holy Abu Serga family stayed on their way to Egypt. On the 1st of June every year, prayers are held to commemorate the arrival of the Holy family.

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