Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Church of Saint Barbara

We are told that Saint Barbara was a beautiful young girl perhaps Asia Minor descent (although some accounts say she lived in Heliopolis). She apparently lived during the first half of the 4th century (though again some references place her at the beginning of the third century). She was the daughter of a noble and rich merchant, Djoscorus, who was a pagan.
Tradition states that Djoscorus built a magnificent tower to protect her daughter, perhaps the growing influence of Christianity. However, during his frequent business trips abroad, she converted to Christianity.The legend says that when her father discovered her conversion (perhaps at Sainte-Barbe tried to convert), in a fit of rage, he gave it to Marcian, the Roman prefect who, under the eyes watching his father, was to torture until she denied Christ. She was stripped and beaten with whips and clubs until she was standing in a pool of his own blood, but she did not deny Christ. Thereafter, she was thrown in prison during the night, God completely healed her wounds and filled with heavenly joy.The next day, while Marcian was surprised to see his wounds had healed, he demanded that she denounces Christ, and when she refused. After further torture, Marcian became frustrated with her, and ordered him to be removed and killed. It was her father himself who led the city with his own sword, beheaded (with his servant and friend, Juliana). On the way back, however, a God struck by lightning, killing him instantly.The church in Cairo which is dedicated to him in the Old (Coptic) Cairo is located north of the Coptic Museum and east of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Abu Serga) on the eastern coast of Fort Babylon. Al-Maqrizi tells us that this is the most famous and beautiful church of his time in Cairo, but exactly when the church of Sainte-Barbe was built is speculative to some extent. Eutychiustells said Athanasius, a secretary Abdel-Aziz Ibn Marwan (the governor of Egypt between 685 and 705 AD), the church was built, but found a door in one of the restoration of the church may date from the 4th century. Originally, it was dedicated to Saint Cyrus (Aboukir), but was probably rebuilt between 1072 and 1073 to house the relics of Saint Barbara. The chapel still contains his remains.We know that the church was burned during the fire of Fustat in 750 but was restored in the 11th century, and has probably been destroyed by fire during the 12th century again. The church renovated extensively in the early 20th century, when khurus a transverse room preceding the sanctuary, was sacrificed to allow more space for the altar.The church, which is not particularly impressive from the outside, has been designed to blend in with other local architecture, the basilica took shape. It measures 26 meters long by 14.5 meters wide and 15 meters high. There are two rows of five columns each between the islands north and south of the nave. A finely carved wooden architrave surmounted the columns to support the roof.In the nave is a magnificent marble pulpit (a chair), supported by ten columns. A "tank Mandatum" also lies in the nave, which was filled with water and used for the service of foot washing on Holy Thursday, and the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. However, most modern cell pool is used for this purpose today. Only the main shrine has an apse. sanctuaries Two other sides are rectangular pieces.The small area in the north of the sanctuary is quite modern, dating from the early 20th century. Nearly square, with three chapels, it is dedicated to Saints Cyrus and John.
Nearby there is a convent which includes several buildings, including a school built by the well-known architect Ramses Wissa Wassef.A number of important and beautiful objects, Christians were discovered inside the Church of St. Barbara, most of which are now displayed at the nearby Coptic Museum. These include a remarkable sanctuary screen sycamore and cedar wood dating from the Fatimid period. It consists of 45 panels of different sizes and carved in relief depicting musical ceremonies, riders on galloping horses, gazelles and monks. Other items include a complex silver coffin of the Gospel decorated with floral motifs that dates from the early 15th century, and an icon of St. Barbara probably dating form the 16th century and is one of the icons oldest currently Coptic Museum. This icon may have been imported from Spain. In addition, the door mentioned above, which dates from the 4th or 5th century and was discovered trapped between two walls during restoration. Beautiful decoration of the door was one of the treasures of the Coptic Museum

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