the Church of St. Sergius (Abù Sargah)
Coptic Church of St. Sergius (Abù Sargah) – the Coptic Church of sergius and bacchus – Old Cairo. It is built on one of the sites by tradition visited by the Holy Family during their flight into Egypt and may be one of the most ancient foundations in the fortress.
From 859 the Coptic patriarch was elected in this church and continued to be so until the 12C. After being pillaged in the same century it was rebuilt by Hanna al-Abah. The connection with the Holy Family attracted the attention of Europeans, and there are records of their visits to the shrine from the 14C on wards. This church is dedicated to St. Pachon (Bucchus).
Basilican in plan, the nave is separated from the aisles by 12 columns with Corinthian capitals. On the only red granite column are the remains of life-sized paintings. The central sanctuary has a 13C screen, the upper section inset with panels of ebony and ivory. Behind the altar, with domed canopy, the walls show traces of early paintings of the two patron saints and the Virgin. The S sanctuary is disused but the altar in the N sanctuary also has a domed canopy. To the W of this is the Baptistery. From the S sanctuary steps lead down to the subterranean Sanctuary of the Holy Family, where they traditionally halted on their journey.