The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Saba (ALEXANDRIA)
THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. SABA is situated on Greek Patriarchate Street. St. Saba (439-532) was a native of Mutalaska in Cappadocia, Turkey. In 478 he founded a monastic settlement in Wadi al-Nar between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. He was a strong supporter of the doctrines promulgated at the Council of Chalcedon (451). The Melkite Partiarch Eutychus (Sa’id ibn al-Batriq: 877-940) states that in the seventh year of the Caliphate of Hisham (724-743) Cosmas occupied the See of Alexandria for twenty-eight years, and the Christian Melkites prayed in those days in the church of St. Saba. The Monastery of St. Saba was a patriarchal residence for many years. It had been renovated several times in the reign of the patriarchs Loakeim (1486-1567), Parthenios I (1678-1688), Matthaios the Cantor (1746-1765), Lerotheos I (1825-1854), Sophronios IV (1890-1899), and Photios (1900-1925).
The large bell which lies in the outer court is a gift of H.B. Alexis, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. Fourteen steps lead down to the church of St. Saba, which is two meters below the level of the street. The church’s entrance is in the north wall. The ceiling of the nave is supported by six ancient columns of red granite. The church’s ambon features a spiral staircase winding around a granite column. Modern metallic icons adorn the wooden iconostasis. To the right of the sanctuary’s door is an icon of Christ, to the left the Virgin and Child. The altar of St. Catherine, which features crosses and conches, stands at the northeast comer of the nave. Eighteenth-century icons decorate the church’s western wall. Two icons represent the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Mark the Evangelist in the land of Egypt, with the Nile, the pyramids, and the lighthouse of Pharos in the background. There is a chapel dedicated to St. Mark behind the church of St. Saba.