St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in Abbassia - eltravel
CAIRO - 25 June 2019: The Coptic Church celebrates on June 25 the 51st anniversary of the establishment of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Abbasia which opened on June 25, 1968.
The ancient church was built on the land of Anba Ruiz next to the Patriarchal Church, built by Peter Pasha Ghali.
The cathedral is located in the Abbasid district, where late President Gamal Abdel Nasser donated several thousand pounds to its construction. The opening ceremony was attended by Emperor Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. The Pope of Alexandria, Pope Kyrillos VI, was the preacher at that time.
In 1937, the minister of the interior minister wanted to seize the land because it was actually a cemetery. The government requested that the cathedral be transferred to the Red Mountain region and to acquire the original land for its size and the importance of its location.
The negotiations between the Church and the ministers of interior and health lasted until 1943. During these years, Habib al-Masri wrote three memoirs defending Copts' right to land ownership.
After the success of his endeavor, the two ministers decided and agreed with the prime minister on the church's ownership to St. Ruiz land, provided that the construction of facilities does not generate any profit within 15 years, otherwise, the government will take over the land.
Awad Kamel and Salim Kamel Fahmy won the Painting and Design Competition of the cathedral. The structural design was carried out by Michel Bachoum, the most famous construction engineer in Egypt.
The General Nile Company for reinforced concrete "Sipco" implemented the cathedral's huge building, where the cathedral was designed in the shape of a cross.
The foundation stone was laid on July 24, 1965, in the presence of Gamal Abdel Nasser. On June 25, 1968, the cathedral was formally inaugurated in the presence of President Abdel Nasser and Emperor Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian Emperor, in addition to representatives of various churches.
In 2018, Pope Twadros II inaugurated the renovation of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Abbassia in its 50th anniversary, after an official competition was launched to paint its walls and ecclesiasts which were won by different artists.