Abu Sarga Church is the oldest church in Egypt dating back to the 5th century A.D. The church owes its fame to having been constructed upon the crypt of the Holy Family where they stayed for three weeks during their sojourn in Egypt.
It was burned during the fire of Fustat during the reign of Marwan II around 750. It was then restored during the 8th century, and has been rebuilt and restored since medieval times.
Abu Sarga is dedicated to the two Saints Sergius and Bacchus who served as soldiers in the Roman Army. They were faithful followers of the Lord Jesus and refused to worship the Roman gods. For their Christian belief, Sergius and Bacchus eventually suffered martyrdom in Syria in 296 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Maximinus. It is believed to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family rested at the end of their journey into Egypt.
Abu Sarga is based on a basilica structure with a nave and two side aisles. The west end of the church is occupied by a return aisle.
Twelve columns are set between the nave and the aisles, eleven of which are made of white marble and only one is of red granite. On the east side of the church, a tripartite sanctuary is separated from the congregation hall by an impressive wooden screen which is beautifully decorated with ebony and ivory and whose oldest part dates back to the 13th century.
Inside its main sanctuary a wooden canopy supported by four pillars is placed above the altar and painted with biblical scenes.
Abu Sarga once kept Egypt’s oldest altar which was transferred to the Coptic Museum.
The roof is one of the most interesting features of the church and said to have been constructed in the shape of Noah’s ark.
On the northwest side of the church is a baptistery.
Two rows of six columns each separate the aisles from the nave.
It has two aisles with a western return aisle, along with a tripartite sanctuary. Within the sanctuary is an altar surmounted by a wooden canopy supported by four pillars.
There is a crypt contains the remains of the original church where tradition says the Holy Family lived. Unfortunately, this area of the church has sometimes been inaccessible due to the presence of subterranean water. Originally this crypt, which is under the modern sanctuary, was itself the sanctuary of the church.