Historic churches & monasteries in Egypt

Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus (Abu Sarga) in Cairo

Tradition states that in the underground grotto under the church of St. Sergius, the Holy Family took refuge during their travels in Egypt. Another legend says that if we put a card with a request behind the frame of one of the icons, we can count on the intercession of the saint.

St. Sergius is the oldest Coptic temple in Cairo. It dates from the turn of the 4th and 5th century and is dedicated to two martyrs, the soldiers Sergius and Bacchus, who were both murdered in Syria.

The temple was built based on a basilica plan, meaning that it consists of three naves separated by a total of 12 columns. Their number is a reference to the 12 apostles. One of them is made of a different material than the others - it symbolizes the traitor Judas.

It is worth paying attention to the ceiling of the temple, which, just like in the suspended church, is wooden and arched to resemble Noah's Ark. Above the side aisles is the women's floor. Right at the entrance to the temple there is a reliquary with the saint's remains.

The walls of the church are decorated with numerous icons. An interesting practice people visiting the church do is put cards in their frames on which their requests and wishes are written. Prayer to the saint is said to help make them come true.

The eye-catching element is the beautiful iconostas (the iconic wall that separates the altar from the rest of the temple), decorated with ebony and ivory elements. On the left side of the altar there is a passage to the underground grotto where, according to tradition, the Holy Family resided. You can go down to it but unfortunately, despite the expensive pump system, the crypt is often flooded with subcutaneous water.

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