Fodor's Expert Review Church of St. Barbara

Old Cairo (Coptic Cairo) Historical
Free

One of the largest and finest churches in Cairo was named after a young Nicodemian woman who was killed by her pagan father for converting. First built in 684, it was originally dedicated to Cyrus and John (in Arabic, Abu Qir and Yuhanna, respectively), two martyrs from the city of Damanhour who were killed for not renouncing their Christianity.

The church, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in both the 11th and 12th centuries, has the standard layout consisting of a narthex, a nave, side aisles, and three sanctuaries. Technically, there are two churches on the site, as a separate sanctuary was built when the relics of St. Barbara were brought here. The sanctuary screen currently in place is a 13th-century wooden piece inlaid with ivory—the original screen is in the Coptic Museum. The icons above the screen include a newly restored Child Enthroned and a rare icon of St. Barbara. To the left of the sanctuary is the chapel dedicated to Cyrus and John, a square structure with... READ MORE

One of the largest and finest churches in Cairo was named after a young Nicodemian woman who was killed by her pagan father for converting. First built in 684, it was originally dedicated to Cyrus and John (in Arabic, Abu Qir and Yuhanna, respectively), two martyrs from the city of Damanhour who were killed for not renouncing their Christianity.

The church, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in both the 11th and 12th centuries, has the standard layout consisting of a narthex, a nave, side aisles, and three sanctuaries. Technically, there are two churches on the site, as a separate sanctuary was built when the relics of St. Barbara were brought here. The sanctuary screen currently in place is a 13th-century wooden piece inlaid with ivory—the original screen is in the Coptic Museum. The icons above the screen include a newly restored Child Enthroned and a rare icon of St. Barbara. To the left of the sanctuary is the chapel dedicated to Cyrus and John, a square structure with a nave, transept, two sanctuaries (one for each saint), and a baptistry. Access to Coptic Cairo's cemetery is through an iron gate to the left of the church.

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Historical Free Church

Quick Facts

Haret al-Qadisa Burbara, Kom Ghorab
Cairo, Cairo  Egypt

12-2744–2733

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