Pope Tawadros II consecrated four altars at the 4th century of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, commonly known as Abu-Serga, early this morning. The church lies in the Coptic quarter of Cairo, the history of which goes back to the Roman era, and was one of the spots at which the Holy Family stayed during its flight to Egypt. The Antiquities Ministry has restored the church which had for years been inundated with underground water; the water had filled the underground cave which had hosted the Holy Family in the first AD century. The restoration work involved the foundation, walls and woodwork.
Anba Yulius, Bishop-General of the churches of Old Cairo, Fomm al-Khalig and al-Manyal; and Father Angaelos Girgis, priest of Abu-Serga’s were at hand to receive Pope Tawadros this morning. As the bells chimed, an elated congregation joyfully greeted the Pope. Members of the Holy Synod and the clergy, as well as representatives of other Churches and public figures were there to participate in the ceremony.
Pope Tawadros started by unveiling a marble plaque on which is inscribed a brief history of the church. He then presided over Holy Mass and consecrated the newly-restored altars. The main altar in the church is consecrated to the Holy Virgin, the side altars for the Archangel Michael and Archangel Gabriel, and the fourth is the altar inside the crypt where the Holy Family is believed to have stayed.
Participating in the consecration prayers were Anba Raphail, Secretary-General of the Holy Synod and Bishop-General of Cairo Downtown churches; Anba Ermiya, Bishop-General and head of the Coptic Cultural Centre; Anba Psanti, Bishop of Maassara and Helwan; Anba Angaelos, Bishop of North Shubra; Anba Dumadius, Bishop of 6 October and Ouseem; Anba Theodosius, Bishop-General of central Giza and al-Wasta; Anba Epiphanius, Bishop and Abbot of St Macarius Monastery in the Western Desert; Anba Marcus, Bishop-General of Hadayeq al-Qubba, Wayly and Mansheyet Nasser; Anba Martyrus, Bishop-General of Eastern Railway; Anba Qozman, Bishop of North Sinai; Anba Ilarion, Bishop-General of the Ezbet al-Hagana region, Almaza, Zahraa’ and Madinet Nasr; and Anba Danyal Bishop of Maadi, Basateen and Dar al-Salam.
Pope Tawadros then promoted Father Angaelos Gerges to archpriest.
One of the oldest working churches in Cairo, the 5th century Abu-Serga’s is consecrated to the two martyrs Sergius and Bacchus. It was burned during the fire of Fustat around AD 750, and has been restored and rebuilt several times since medieval times.
10 October 2016