The Coptic community is growing in Egypt
The Egyptian Church
According to the tradition, as handed down by the church father Eusebius, among others, Christianity was brought to Egypt in the middle of the first century AD. From these origins emerged one of the most important Christian churches of antiquity, which had an important first bloom with church fathers like Clement and Origen in the second and third centuries. This church emerged stronger from the last great persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire by the Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD). After the persecution ended, the number of Egyptian Christians grew rapidly, and by the end of the 4th century they formed the vast majority of the population. Even today, Egyptian theologians like Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria are well known names not only among theologians but among Christians around the world. In the 5th century, with the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE), a process begins that over several centuries saw the separation of the majority of Egyptian Christians, later the Coptic Orthodox Church, from the Greek Orthodox Church with its center in Constantinople ( today: Istanbul). Today the reasons for this separation are seen less in fundamentally different views on the point of contention of the Council, the relationship between human and divine natures in Jesus Christ, but in church politics, which superimpose interpretative nuances of essentially similar theological views. It was during this early period that the two great pillars of Christianity emerged in Egypt. One of them is the veneration of the witnesses of the great persecution. Even today, the Egyptian Christians count their years after the "era of martyrs". The self-identification of the Coptic Church as the "Church of the Martyrs" also contributed significantly to the survival and cohesion of the Church under often very difficult conditions after Egypt was conquered by a Muslim army in the 7th century and a process of Islamization began. Over the centuries that followed, Egyptian Christians gradually became a - significant - minority in the country, a situation that continues to this day.
The other pillar is the veneration of the great ascetics and monk saints of late antiquity. Both hermits and spiritual leaders of the smaller ascetic communities such as Antonius († 356) or Makarios and the heads of organized monasteries such as Pachom († 346) and Schenute († 465) enjoyed the admiration of contemporaries at home and abroad and the admiration of the following generations.
This church has left a wealth of textual and other sources that are of great interest to a number of interested people: scholars from various disciplines with an interest in Egypt in the first millennium AD, especially biblical scholars and church historians, researchers from late antiquity, Egyptologists, Historians of the early Arab period and not least the members of the Coptic Orthodox Church itself, today perhaps the most important and certainly the largest of the so-called "Oriental Orthodox" churches.
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