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ETSC’s History

ETSC was founded in 1863 on the houseboat Ibis, which was used as a floating seminary for theological studies and practical training. This houseboat used to sail upriver from Aswan in the South to Cairo in the North, where students received lessons from their teachers in the morning and were then trained to do practical ministry in various villages in the evening.

Houseboat Ibis

The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) was founded by early Presbyterian missionaries in 1863. At that time the seminary had a floating campus on board the houseboat Ibis, as the missionaries sailed up and down The Nile visiting cities and villages to evangelize and train leaders. Later, ETSC moved to the city of Asuit, then to Azbakiya with the turn of the twentieth century. In 1926, our current campus was established with the purchase of land in Al-Abbasiya in central Cairo, totaling 3600 square meters, and a two-story building was soon erected. This building now houses classrooms as well as staff and faculty offices.

ETSC building In 1926. Source: McNaugher, John. The History of Theological Education in the United Presbyterian Church and Its Ancestries. Pittsburgh, Pa: United Presbyterian Board of Publication and Bible School Work, 1931.

Later, in the sixties, a six-story building was added to include the seminary library and residence for the faculty. And in the nineties, another 8-story building was constructed to include a dinning hall with a large kitchen, a 250-seat auditorium, and a student dormitory to house up to 80 students. Recently, a multipurpose sports-field was prepared on the remaining small area between the three buildings, officially marking the maximum possible utilization of the campus space the seminary had with its initial land purchase.

Students dormitory established in 1995.

For many years now, we’ve prayed for an opportunity to expand our facilities, knowing full well that our options were quite limited due to the high density of our neighborhood in Cairo. However, our God is always faithful to supply all our needs according to his riches in glory.

In 2011, an unexpected opportunity presented itself as a new building was being erected adjacent to our property. We sensed that this was God’s answer to our prayers, and see it as the final possible option for ETSC to expand its facilities in this current location in the foreseeable future. God gave us grace in the eyes of the landlord, and we signed a contract allowing ETSC to purchase the entire first floor of the new building, with private access from campus. The new floor adds 1300 square meters to our campus  an area larger than the total area of the original Administration/Academic building, and will undoubtedly enhance and add to our facilities.

ETSC'S New Extension Floor Next to ETSC