Language variant : Sitt Barbara
Architect : n/a
Completion: 5th c. (consecration – possibly)
Locality : Cairo
Country : Egypt
Building style : Coptic architecture
Project on the map (green arrow)
“St. Barbara to whom this church is dedicated was, according to the Coptic calendar, ‘the daughter of a great man in the land of the East,’ and suffered martyrdom under Maximinus. The church is a large lofty building of the eight or ninth century, and must have been of great importance…It lies on the eastern side of Kasr-ash-Shamm’ah close to the Roman wall, and is entered from the street of the Jewish synagogue.
Its monastic character is proved by the strange entanglement of domestic and ecclesiastical buildings around it…
A very curious hiding-place for the sacred vessels exists at the north end of the corridor. A door flush with the wall opens revealing another door inside the wall, and when the latter is thrown back the floor of a secret chamber is seen 3ft. above the level of the threshold, whence it rises without steps. This chamber, like the chapels, is unilluminated by a ray of light, and at present is a mere storehouse for pots and cauldrons and vessels, used to prepare the viands which the priest sets before his friends and neighbours at the yearly festival of dedication. A more likely place for hidden treasure it is not easy to imagine: but though a light was flashed in every nook and corner, it discovered neither silver nor gold, nor anything more precious than the wares of an Arab scullion.”
Butler, Alfred J., The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, vol. 1., Oxford University Press, 1970 (first edition 1884), pp. 235-236, 238.
Ed. Adzhoa Makkonen