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Showing posts from July 14, 2018

The church of Abu Sarga

Abu Sarga is the oldest church in Egypt dating back to the 5th century A.D. The church owes its fame to having been constructed upon the crypt of the Holy Family where they stayed for three weeks during their sojourn in Egypt.

According to a biblical narration by evangelist Matthew (Chapter 2), Virgin Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus fled from Palestine to Egypt out of fear from the persecution of the Jewish King Herod the Great. The Holy Family traveled as far as Assiut (“Deir el Muharraq”) and on their way back home spent some weeks in Old Cairo.

Abu Sarga is dedicated to the two Saints Sergius and Bacchus who served as soldiers in the Roman Army. They were faithful followers of the Lord Jesus and refused to worship the Roman gods. For their Christian belief, Sergius and Bacchus eventually suffered martyrdom in Syria in 296 during the reign of the Roman …

Ben Ezra Synagogue in Coptic Cairo

The capital city of Egypt, Cairo became the center of Jewish life in Egypt following the Crusades of 1168. Cairo's Jewish community lived primarily in the new city, in the Ḥārat al-Yahūd (Jewish quarter). Throughout the medieval period, Jews maintained their cultural traditions and relative political autonomy, and ultimately advanced economically into positions as craftsmen, traders, moneychangers, and physicians. However, the Mamaluk era from 1250 to 1517 marked a shift towards increasingly discriminatory and harsh laws against Jews and other religious minorities. This anti-Jewish discrimination continued through the Ottoman era and into the late eighteenth century, with life in the Jewish community becoming increasingly regulated. In the nineteenth century, Muḥammad ʿAlī and a series of other leaders governed Cairo as viceroys for the Ottoman sultan, improving security and economic development in Cairo. Despite a number of antisemitic publications and accusations …