Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is a gem from the heavens reflecting the honor and devotion of the holy men who chose to serve God and become a force of good. Egypt is blessed with a number of divine Coptic attractions found in every corner, especially in Alexandria. The church is the main headquarters of the Pope of Alexandria who is the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
It is considered to be one of the most magical and enchanting historical and religious monuments across the Mediterranean Sea filled with many stories and reflecting the strong faith of a great population.
The cathedral location is believed to be on top of the ancient church of Saint Mark the Evangelist which was built in 42 AD. Saint Mark Evangelist was the sole writer of the second edition of the gospel and has always been connected to the city of Alexandria at the time when the earliest Christian traditions started to happen.
Coptic Christian believe that St Mark came to Alexandria around 42 AD and then lived there for seven years. Mark then embraced Christianity and began to perform various miracles. He constructed the great church of Alexandria and became the first-ever Bishop of the city of Alexandria. Saint Mark was arrested in 68 AD in the festival of Serapis then was martyred then buries under his own church.
The story behind the construction of the church started in 311 AD before the last of the Martyrs Pope Peter was martyred, he prayed for one last time on Saint Mark's grave which was just a small chapel found across the east coast of the Mediterranean sea. It was enlarged later on by an order from Pope Achilles. The church was heavily damaged during the Arab Invasion of Egypt in 641 AD. In 680 AD Pope John III reconstructed the church and parts of the body of St Mark were taken in 828 AD by an Italian sailor and then transported from Alexandria city to Italy in Venice.
The Church of St Mark was totally damaged in 1219 by the Crusades and rebuilt a couple of times across history. The Church of St Mark inspired many travelers like Pierre Belon the French explorer in 1547 AD. The Church was totally pulled down in 1798 during Alexandria’s French invasion. The church was built again by Pope Peter El Gawly in 1819 during the reign of king Mohammed Ali. During the reign of Pope Demetrius II, the church was renewed under Bishop Marcos's supervision in 1870. In the modern era between the 50s and 90s, the church took its final form.
The Church was built countless across history but in the early 50s, the church was rebuilt and enlarged then reinforced with solid concrete then followed by the Basilique style. There are 6 marble pillars that were moved to the Church’s outer entrance.
It holds some incredible Coptic engravings and two bells brought all the way from Italy found on each tower. In the mid-80s and 90s, the church was enlarged across the western entrance side plus 6 pillars were moved.
Many believe relics from his body were stolen in 828 AD by Venetian merchants and then transported to Venice. Many believe the head of St Mark is found in his church in Alexandria then parts of his relics are found in St Mark church in Cairo and in St Mark Basilica in Venice Italy. His head has been moved around for over 250 years.
Some of the relics were returned by st Mark from Rome to Alexandria in 1968 AD. Every year on the 30th of Paopi month the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrated the grand commemoration of the Consecration of St Mark Church where his head makes an appearance.
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