The Jesuits’ Holy Family Church (FAGGALA)
JLHE CHURCH IS SITUATED ON BUSTAN AL-MAQS STREET in Faggala near the Cairo railway station. In 1879 Pope Leo XIII ordered the Jesuit Fathers to establish a seminary to serve the Coptic Catholic community in Egypt. They founded it in Bughos Palace at Muski. In 1881 the French Jesuit missionary Michel Marie Jullien (1827-1911) became the director of the college. He quickly learned that the Palace of Boghus was not large enough, as many Egyptians desired to study with the Jesuit Fathers. In May 1882 he purchased a plot of land that measures 11,500 square meters in Faggala. The foundation stone was laid on April 22, 1888, and the college was transfered from Boghus Palace to Faggala. The work on the church of the college began April 2, 1889, under the supervision of the Jesuit architect Francois Mourier. Guido Corbelli, the apostolic delegate, consecrated the church on November 1, 1891.
The church entrance is decorated with a cross flanked by two angels. The nave measures 33 m in length and 15 m in width. The arches of the church’s arcades are colored in black and red and are reminiscent of some Islamic monuments. The altar is dominated by a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to which the church is dedicated. The attractive colored glass of one of the windows shows the Annunciation to Joseph with the Holy Family and a pyramid in the background. In 1963 Father Henri Ayrout demolished the primitive altar and commissioned an Italian artist, Amedeo Trivisonno, to paint the wall behind the altar. The wonderful fresco features Christ Pantocrator flanked by the heads of the Four Living Creatures of the Apocalypse: eagle, ox, lion, and man. In the lower section, the Virgin Mary is surrounded by the twelve apostles in addition to two famous monks, St. Antony and St. Pachomius. His Beatitude Stephanous I Sidarouss inaugurated the fresco during Easter of 1965.