Saint Mark's Coptic orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria)

Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria)
Country Egypt
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Church
Founder(s) Saint Mark
Style Coptic
Bishop(s) Vacant
Priest(s) Fr. Ibrahim Nawar
Fr. Marcos Gabra
Fr. Abraam Emile
Fr. Kirollos Fathy
Fr. Makarios Wahib

Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria is the historical seat of the Pope of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.


The cathedral is said to stand on the site of the church founded by St. Mark the Evangelist in AD 60.

St. Mark the Evangelist (author of the second Gospel) has been connected with the city of Alexandria since earliest Christian tradition. Coptic Christians believe he arrived in Alexandria around AD 60 and stayed for about seven years.

During this time, Mark converted many to Christianity and performed many miracles. He is considered the founder of the church in Alexandria and the first Bishop of Alexandria. According to tradition, St. Mark was arrested during a festival of Serapis in AD 68 and martyred by being dragged through the streets. He was buried under the church he had founded.

Relics of Saint Mark

In 828, the body of St. Mark was stolen from the Alexandrian church by Venetians to be enshrined in the grand new St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. However, the head of the saint remained in Alexandria and every newly appointed Patriarch of Alexandria began his service with holding the holy head of St. Mark in his lap and changing its cloth shroud.

The head of St. Mark was moved around a great deal over the centuries, and has been lost for over 250 years. Some of the relics from the body of St. Mark, however, were returned to Alexandria from Rome in 1968 during the papacy of Roman Pope Cyril VI.

The present St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral is of recent date, but is said to stand on the site of church founded by St. Mark himself.[1]

History of the Cathedral

  • AD 311, before the martyrdom of Pope Peter the Last of Martyrs, he prayed a last prayer on the grave of Saint Mark, the church was then a little chapel on the eastern coast, and it contained the bodies of Saint Mark and some of his holy successors.
  • AD 321: the church was enlarged in the days of Pope Achillas, the 18th Pope.
  • AD 641: the church was greatly ruined when the Arabs invaded Egypt.
  • AD 680: Pope John III – the 40th Pope – rebuilt the church.
  • AD 828: the body of Saint Mark was stolen by Italian sailors and was taken from Alexandria to Venice in Italy. However, Saint Mark's head remained in Alexandria.
  • 1219: the church was destroyed during the time of the crusades, then it was rebuilt once more.
  • 1547: Pierre Belon[2] The voyager mentioned that the church was founded.
  • July 1798: the church was pulled down during the French invasion of Alexandria.
  • 1819: the church was rebuilt and opened by Pope Peter El Gawly in the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha.
  • 1870: the church was renewed in the time of Pope Demetrius II and by the supervision of H.G. Bishop Marcos of El Behira.
  • Between the years 1950 – 1952, in the time of Pope Yusab II, the church building was pulled down and another, larger building was built with reinforced concrete after the basilique style. The six marble pillars were transferred into the outer entrance of the church. The icon carrier was accurately cut into parts, each part given a number, and then it was cautiously returned to where it was originally. The two minarets were not pulled down as they were reinforced with concrete and were decorated with beautiful Coptic engravings. Two new bells – brought from Italy – were provided, one for each minaret.
  • 1985 – 1990: the church was widened from the western side after the former style with great accuracy, keeping the two minarets in their places, so the entire area of the church was doubled. The six pillars were transferred to the new western entrance of the church supervised by Pope Shenouda III.[3]

External links

  • Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria website
  • A short video of the Cathedral's services

See also


External links

  • Saint Mark's Coptic orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria) website

Coordinates: 31°15′36″N 30°00′41″E / 31.26000°N 30.01139°E / 31.26000; 30.01139

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