Greeks living in Cairo have reason to rejoice on October 30 as a historic Greek church celebrates its centennial anniversary. The Basilica of the Virgin Mary (Panaghia) is located at Heliopolis, where it stands as an iconic landmark thanks to its Belgian-inspired architecture.
The church was first inaugurated on October 9, 1916, with Memphis Metropolitan Archbishop Nektarios doing the honors at the red ribbon-cutting ceremony. Back then, the funds for the basilica had been gathered by the local Greek community who chose the city with a Greek name (city of the sun) as its location.
A hundred years later, Alexandria’s Patriarch Theodoros II will be present at events taking place at the basilica’s courtyard. In recent years, the church has undergone extensive renovations thanks to funding by Egyptian Greeks Kyriakos and Stella Kyriazi. The basilica is the Cathedral of the Holy Metropolitan Diocese of Memphis.
The church itself is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who went to Cairo with Joseph in order to save the little Lord Jesus from King Herod’s massacre of the innocents, according to biblical accounts.