Alexandria became the residence of the Bishop of Alexandria during the beginnings of in Egypt. Alexandria continued to be the residence of the patriarchs of the See of St. Mark as late as the 11th century when Christodoulus (1047-1077) definitively transferred his residence to the Mo‘allaqa Church at Old to be closer to Egypt’s ruler. However, Alexandria has remained in the official title of the Coptic patriarchs to the present-day: “ of Alexandria and of the See of St. Mark.”

For them, the great city of Alexandria is a most holy site, where St. began to preach the Gospel, founded the Church of Alexandria, and suffered martyrdom. We know a number of “temporary” papal residences other than Alexandria: the Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi al-Natrun, the village of Danyal near Kafr al-Sheikh, the town of Damru near al Mahalla al-Kubra, and the town of Tuch in the Delta.

The Church of St. Mercurius at Old was the residence of Patriarch Michael (1145-1146). John VIII (1300-1320) transferred the patriarchal seat to the Church of the Holy Virgin at Haret Zuwaila in Cairo, which remained the seat of the until 1660. Matthew IV (1660-1675) resided at Haret al-Rum, Cairo. Mark VIII (1796-1809) resided at the old Cathedral of St. Mark in Azbakiyah, Cairo. The Cathedral of St. Mark in , which was inaugurated in 1968, is the patriarchal residence of the present patriarch, Shenouda III.