Church of St. Barbara (Sitt Bãrbãrah)


the Church of St. Barbara (Sitt Bãrbãrah). Entry is from the NW (the ancient door from here is now in the Coptic Museum).

The first church built here in 684 by Athanasius the Scribe was dedicated only to SS. Cyrus and John, the unmercenary physicians. Later the relics of St. Barbara were brought here and an annexe built. Barbara, who lived in the 3C, was the daughter of a pagan merchant of Nicomedia. She was converted to Christianity by the Egyptian Origen and with her companion Juliana she attempted to convert others. They were both tortured by the Roman governor and executed.

Church of St. Barbara (Sitt Bãrbãrah)
Church of St. Barbara (Sitt Bãrbãrah)

Beyond the narthex five columns divide the nave from each of the aisles. The central sanctuary has a 13C wooden screen with carved ivory panels of religious scenes and inscriptions. Along the summit are icons, dated 1745, of Jesus, Mary, two archangels, and apostles. The altar is covered by a large canopy supported on marble columns, behind which is the tribune.

The W sanctuary is now a shrine to St. Barbara and contains her relics. Adjacent is the Church of SS. Cyrus and John, the original patron saints. Almost square in plan, the E saciistry is dedicated to St. George and the W to SS. Cyrus and John. Beside the sanctuaries lies the Baptistery.


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