It is located in the most important Coptic center in Egypt, known as Anba Ruwais. The is the only church in that was built by an Egyptian government despite the long of Christianity in Egypt. On 24 July 1965 President Gamal Abd al-Nasser laid its foundation stone. On 26 July 1968 Patriarch Cyril VI (1959-1971) and the Ethiopian Emperor inaugurated the on the occasion of the transfer of the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist from to Cairo.

The Catholic papacy returned the relics to the Coptic Church as a gesture of goodwill between the two churches. The is one of the largest churches in Africa. Its imposing structure measures 100 meters long, 36 meters wide, and 55 meters high. The belfry is 85 meters high. There are two shrines on the ground floor under the cathedral. One houses the relics of St. and the other the relics of St. Athanasius (326-373); on 6 May 1973 Pope Shenouda III received the relics from Pope Paul VI in Rome.

The papal residence lies in front of St. Mark’s Cathedral. This Coptic compound includes the medieval church of St. Ruwais, the Clerical College, the , the new cultural center with the library, and other Coptic institutions.