Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Location of the Original Church in Christianity - the Martyrium of St. Mark - Now for Sale

It is impossible to overstate the significance of this. A generation ago there was a Coptic Basilica of St. Mark standing on Chatby Beach in Alexandria. On the very same site we see pictures of that same physical structure in ancient maps of the city dating back as far as there are maps. Birger Pearson has done considerable research on this matter publishing a number of articles and books which argue that the Martyrium of St. Mark (the original name of this structure) was located in this same area.

This is certainly the location of the 'church of Alexandria' the author of the Mar Saba document references when we speaks of St. Mark having " left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries." It is also the site of the Jewish quarter in Alexandria at the time of Philo. It is where Peter of Alexandria was martyred and it was the location of the church for which Arius was the presebyter. It was also the location of the alleged theft of the Cathedra of St. Mark which Italian sailors brought to Alexandria along with the supposed body of St. Mark and St. Athanasius in 828 CE.

In recent history however developers built a cafe called Casino Chatby on the strcuture (undoubtedly using the foundation of the original building to support their new structure - see above). It was certainly easier and more structurally sound and cheaper than building something on beach sand near the shore.

The point is that Casino Chatby is no more. I hear the developers might want to build something here again potentially. But before that happens we have a once in a lifetime chance to reclaim the most important site in Egyptian Christianity, their 'Camelot' if you will.

I doubt very much that any of us have the money lying around to purchase this building from the developers. Nevertheless, if anyone has any ideas at all about how a university might want to get involved in digging under the original structure or some other plan how we might reclaim this sacred place please let me know.

For more information about our recent work in Alexandria which proves that this is the location of the Martyrium please go to our archaeological site.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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