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Christians in Egypt

Christians in Egypt: Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Communities Past and Present

Otto F. A. Meinardus
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Christians in Egypt
    Book Description:

    Drawing on more than four decades of experience studying Christian communities in Egypt, Otto Meinardus offers here a sweeping overview of the principal Christian churches and organizations in Egypt today. For the first time, this wealth of information has been gathered into one volume, making it an ideal introduction to the contemporary scene of the various Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant denominations that have a presence in Egypt. Looking at Maronite churches in Alexandria, Greek Orthodox congregations in Cairo, and new evangelical communities in Upper Egypt, among others, this book serves as an important reference work for anyone interested in the broad variety of Christian groups in Egypt, including the majority Coptic Orthodox Church. As one of the foremost scholars of the Christian history of Egypt and the wider Middle East, Dr. Meinardus brings an unparalleled wealth of expertise to this subject, while placing Christianity in the historical perspective of its relationship to the ancient pharaonic religion and medieval and modern Islam. A first of its kind, Christians in Egypt is an indispensable resource for both scholars and interested general readers.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-262-1
    Subjects: Religion, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Chapter 1 Egyptian Christians as Heirs of a Pharaonic Heritage
    (pp. 1-14)

    During the past one hundred years, numerous anthropologists, Egyptologists, and theologians have demonstrated the influence of the manners and customs of the ancient Egyptians upon their Christian sons and daughters. To demonstrate this, five altogether different aspects of Egyptian life have been selected and will be outlined below.

    In Lawrence Durrell’s famousAlexandria Quartet, the Copt Narouz engages his British friend Mountolive in a lengthy discussion about his religious and ethnic ancestors. ‘“Do you know what the Muslims call us?’ he asks. I will tell you, ‘Gins Pharaoony.’ Yes, we aregenus Pharaonicus, the true descendants of the ancients, the...

  5. Chapter 2 Egyptian Christians as Citizens of an Islamic Society in the Middle Ages
    (pp. 15-32)

    From the very beginning, the Church was faced with defining its attitude to the world in general and to the state in particular. The history of the Christian Church in both the Orient and the Occident supplies many illustrations of the various attitudes, which the Church has taken toward the state, ranging from ascetic withdrawal from the kingdoms of this world to almost complete identification with the purposes and goals of a government. The purpose of this chapter is to throw some light upon the attitude of the Orthodox Copts toward the state in general, and toward the Islamic state...

  6. Chapter 3 The Christian Churches in Egypt
    (pp. 33-112)

    According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Holy Family, fleeing from the wrath of Herod the Great, sought refuge in Egypt, where, according to local tradition, they stayed for a period of three years, until Herod’s death in 4 Be. Many Copts believe that even prior to the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus Christ, Egyptians accepted the Divine Child as Lord over their lives. In fact, a wealth of stories and legends has been transmitted to us about the wonderous works performed by the Christ child in the Delta and the Nile Valley. Following the visit to...

  7. Chapter 4 Christian Agencies, Social and Ecumenical Organizations
    (pp. 113-124)

    The Bible Society in Egypt is a Joint Agency of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) and the American Bible Society (ABS). The BFBS was founded in London in 1804, whereas the ABS was founded in New York in 1816.

    The work of the BFBS in Egypt began in 1818, when William Jowett was sent on a special mission by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to collect information as to the state of religion in Egypt, and to discover the best methods for the propagation of Christian knowledge. Jowett went as far as Edfu and Aswan, where he visited...

  8. Chapter 5 Christian Feasts and Fasts
    (pp. 125-134)

    The dates for the feasts and fasts of Easter/Pentecost depend upon the movable Easter dates. The number of fasting days are in parentheses.

    The Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, besides being a religious feast, is one which has special national significance for the Armenians. While the Byzantines and the Latins celebrate it on August 6, and the Armenians used to. But this coincided with the day on which was observed the great pagan feast Vartavar was observed. In the course of time, the Armenians began to celebrate the Assumption of the Holy Virgin in August, instead of the...

  9. Chapter 6 The Hierarchs of the Churches Represented in Egypt
    (pp. 135-142)
  10. Postscript: Multicultural and Ecumenical Spirituality in Egypt
    (pp. 143-150)

    For Christians and non-Christians alike, the sad fragmentation of the Church of Jesus Christ must evoke sadness and concern, especially in a non-Christian environment, be it secular or Islamic. Responsible churchmen have realized the discrepancy between the Lord’s high-priestly prayerut unum omnes sintand the twenty-first century realities. One answer to this embarrassment lies in a spiritual awakening. This has occurred among those who have turned away from property, prestige, and positions! The following survey of ecumenical relations in Egypt will inspire the present generation to discover in the wisdom of their fathers answers to the present religious predicaments....

  11. Annotations on the Text
    (pp. 151-152)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-154)
  13. Index
    (pp. 155-170)