The light of the history of the first Christian centuries in Old Cairo shone again, as, after many years, the famous, but unknown to the general public, catacombs of St. George in Old Cairo opened, with Patriarch Theodore blessing the renovated area and consecrating the new chapel dedicated to Saint Fanourios that is many meters below the ground surface.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria decided a few months ago that the area should be revitalized under the supervision of the new abbot, Fr. Damaskinos Alazrai.
“A dream came true today,” said Patriarch Theodore, noting that “after the renovation of the Rotunda of Saint George, a work undertook by the great benefactor Athanasios Martinos, the time has come this year when the Greek-Roman catacombs of the church evoke the past, taking us back to the difficult years of the Early Christian Era. The monks were always praying for the salvation of the world here in this Golgotha, as they pray today to God for an end of the global pandemic.”
These labyrinthine catacombs are part of the Roman tower, below the temple, at a depth of more than ten meters below the earth’s surface, where there used to be a Nilometer with which the Egyptian authorities measured the Nile River’s water level during the first centuries AD and so they determined the levels of tax to be paid by the inhabitants of the area.
“Here, in the new chapel at the catacombs of St. George of Old Cairo, the Divine Liturgy was performed again today for the first time, invigorating the eternal nature of the monastery, and sending a message of love and peace to all peoples,” said Patriarch Theodore with great emotion. The Patriarch signed the new altar and rang the small bell located just outside the catacombs of St. George.