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Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity

Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity

Otta F. A. Meinardus
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity
    Book Description:

    Christianity arrived early in Egypt, brought—according to tradition—by Saint Mark the Evangelist, who became the first patriarch of Alexandria. The Coptic Orthodox Church has flourished ever since, with millions of adherents both in Egypt and in Coptic communities around the world. Since its split from the Byzantine Church in 451, the Coptic Church has proudly maintained its early traditions, and influence from outside has been minimal: the liturgy is still sung to unique rhythms in Coptic, a late stage of the same ancient Egyptian language that is inscribed in hieroglyphs on temple walls and papyri. Dr. Otto Meinardus, a leading authority on the history of the Coptic Church, here revises, updates, and combines his renowned studies Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern (The American University in Cairo Press, 1965, 1977) and Christian Egypt, Faith and Life (The American University in Cairo Press, 1970) into a new, definitive, one-volume history for the Millennium, surveying the twenty centuries of existence of one of the oldest churches in the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-263-8
    Subjects: Religion, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Today, the Coptic Church is experiencing an unprecedented renaissance. It is the purpose of this volume to unfold this story and acquaint the visitor to the land of the Nile with one of the most remarkable developments of world Christianity toward the end of the second millenium.

    The history of Christian Egypt begins with the traditions of the visit of the holy family to Egypt, which were circulated to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy “ When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hos. 11:1). The feast of the coming of the...

  4. Chapter 1 Toward the Third Millennium
    (pp. 1-12)

    The unprecedented revival of the Coptic Church toward the second half of the twentieth century is one of the great historical events of world Christianity. Whereas in many parts of the world, historians recognize a certain stagnation of the Christian witness, the sons and daughters of the pharaohs are filled with an unheard-of enthusiasm for the establishment of the kingdom of God and for evangelization through their Coptic Church.

    This spiritual renaissance had its beginnings half a century ago—in the forties and fifties—in the Coptic Sunday School movements in Cairo, Giza, and Asyut. Inspired by the challenges they...

  5. Chapter 2 The Coptic Church: Its History, Traditions, Theology, and Structure
    (pp. 13-144)

    The visitor who passes through Cairo and studies the folders for the myriad tours offered by the various sightseeing agencies will notice that, in addition to the excursions to the pyramids and Saqqara and the trips to the Muhammad ‘Ali Mosque and the Mosques of Sultan Hassan and Ibn Tulun, a visit to the ancient Coptic churches of Old Cairo is offered.

    Many visitors are only now being exposed for the first time to Coptic Christianity, which represents one of the most ancient churches of Christendom. Those tourists who decide to take the tour to Old Cairo are singularly rewarded,...

  6. Chapter 3 The Coptic Church: Its Churches and Monasteries, Ancient and Modern
    (pp. 145-288)

    During the first century and the first half of the second century, the spread of Christianity in Alexandria and in Egypt had not been considerable. It appears that Alexandrian Christianity was rather syncretistic. Hadrian, according to a letter to Servianus in 134, saw Christians who worshiped Serapis and those who called themselves bishops of Christ devoting themselves to Serapis. Thus, Alexandrians prostrated themselves before Serapis or Christ impartially. From the beginning of the reign of Commodus in 180, the Christian religion appeared firmly established in Alexandria, almost completely purified of its gnostic doctrines and all traces of paganism. By the...

  7. Appendix A Marks of Identification: Tattoo and Name
    (pp. 289-298)
  8. Appendix B The Patriarchs of the Coptic Church and the Rulers of Egypt
    (pp. 299-314)
  9. Appendix C Language, Architecture, and Calendar
    (pp. 315-358)
  10. Appendix D The Relics of Coptic Saints
    (pp. 359-376)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 377-386)
  12. Index
    (pp. 387-400)