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Toggle navigation Carolina Digital Repository. Help Contact Us Login. You do not have access to any existing collections. You may create a new collection. MLA Luscans, Bernard. APA Luscans, B. The Fatimid caliphs are generally tolerant and Copts occupy important positions in the government. Destruction of churches and monasteries. Mark in Alexandria on the pretext that the Crusaders might fortify themselves in it should they descend on Alexandria.
Successive waves of persecution of Copts with destruction of churches. Copts suffer sporadic violence, including plunder of goods and confiscation of properties. Mass conversions of Copts to Islam. Coptic finally dies out as a living language. Copto-Arabic literature flourishes at the beginning of this period.
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Conversion of many Copts to Islam. Mamluk beys rule in effect under an Ottoman governor. Abandonment of the majority of Coptic monasteries. Transport of treasures and manuscripts, as well as skilled artisans, to Istanbul. Cairo looses its cultural significance. Some Copts such as Ibrahim al-Gohary? Construction, restoration, and renovation of many Coptic churches.
He is the first Egyptian in modern times who spoke of an independent Egypt. Their short stay in Egypt represents a turning point toward its modernization. Mohammed Ali — modernizes Egypt.
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His dynasty rules Egypt until Copts flourish and restore their churches and monasteries. Foundation of modern Coptic schools. Regular theological discussions for the clergy.
Import of the second printing press from Austria into Egypt. Restoration and renovation of many churches and monasteries. Completion of the reconstruction of the Old Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark at al-Ezbakiyah, Cairo. Copts attain full citizenship. Beginning of the monastic renaissance.
Foundation of a few Coptic churches in America and Australia. Inauguration of the Cathedral of St. Mark the Evangelist from Venice to Cairo. Repopulation of many of the abandoned monasteries and a remarkable renaissance in Coptic monasticism. Excellent relations with other churches. Unofficial sources estimate their number at 9 million or more. When following centuries, they naturally ceased to be Christians qibt.
The Arab conquest of Egypt in a.
The Coptic Church cherishes the memory of the Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt and maintains the tradition of their sojourn in the land of the Nile. It takes pride also in the tradition handed down by the fourthcentury ecclesiastical historian Eusebius that St. Mark the Evangelist preached the Gospel in Alexandria in the mid-first century, and that he was the first Egyptian martyr. There is, however, very little concrete information documenting the spread of Christianity in the first century, for early Christianity is not archaeologically traceable in Egypt.
Christianity first gained a foothold in Alexandria where, beginning in the late second century, the first and foremost theological school, the Catechetical School, developed, led by great scholars such as Pantaenus, Clement, and Origen. By the end of that century, Christianity had begun to spread in Egypt, and Patriarch Demetrius consecrated the first three bishops. Because Christians refused to sacrifice to the emperor, they were regarded as a threat to the Roman Empire.
Between and , under the Roman emperors Decius and Valerian, Christians suffered major persecutions. The commemoration and veneration of martyrs is one of the main factors that enabled the Coptic Church to survive. The Edict of Milan, issued in by Emperor Constantine I, put an end to persecution and officially recognized the right of Christians to worship freely. Christianity continued to spread in Alexandria and the majority of its inhabitants became Christians in the second half of the fourth century.
Alexander I, Patriarch of Alexandria — , assembled about bishops in a synod. Christianity grew in importance also in the hinterland, where about 80 percent of the population had turned to the new faith by the early fifth century. Alexandria was one of the most important centers that contributed significantly to the formulation of the Christian doctrine. The patriarchs of that great city played a crucial role in the major theological controversies that shaped Christian dogma during the fourth and the fifth centuries.
The Nicene Creed, which survives to this day, was a result of that council. It expresses the orthodox belief that Christ and the Father are of one substance.
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Following the Council of Chalcedon in , the dispute over the nature of Christ led to an irresolvable schism and to bloodshed between the Christians in Egypt and those in Byzantium. The patriarchs of Alexandria refused to accept what has been called the Chalcedonian Definition of Faith. By that time, monasticism was flourishing in the Egyptian deserts, and monasteries began to provide the Coptic Church with its spiritual leaders.
During the doctrinal conflict, the Byzantine emperors wanted to fill the See of Alexandria with men who accepted the Chalcedonian Definition, rewarding their loyalty to Constantinople with military support. The Copts and the wealthy monastic establishments backed the opposing patriarch, who often had to leave Alexandria in order to avoid persecution at the hands of the Byzantine authorities.
The Persian occupation of Egypt — brought more difficulties for the Coptic Church. Sources speak of the destruction of more than monastic establishment by the Persian army. The situation deteriorated further when Byzantium appointed Cyrus in as both civil and ecclesiastical head of the country.
This wave of Byzantine oppression did not last long, for the Arab army invaded Egypt in and occupied the entire country within two years. The Arab occupation undoubtedly had immeasurable consequences for the history of the Coptic Church. He restored churches and monasteries, but the building of new churches was prohibited. The principal concern of the Muslim rulers, like their Roman predecessors, was the efficient collection of taxes, irrespective of any other consideration. Copts were obliged to pay a supplementary tax known as the jizyiah or poll tax.
Initially, monasteries were exempt from this poll tax, but beginning in , the monks, too, were obliged to pay it. When the tax burden became unendurable at times in the eighth and ninth centuries, Copts revolted. However, their rebellions were successfully put down. The dress code imposed for the first time on Copts during the rule of Caliph al-Mutawakkil — could not have been implemented were Egypt predominantly a Christian country.
The social status of the Copts, including patriarchs and bishops, had also been considerably lowered. Initially, the capital of the Islamic caliphal government was at Medina; in , it shifted to Damascus, and from Damascus to Baghdad in The caliphs sent governors to rule Egypt. It was not until that Ahmed Ibn Tulun made himself independent of the Abbasid caliph.
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In general, the Tulunids — , the Ikhshids — , and the Fatimids — were tolerant toward the Christian communities. The only exception was Caliph Al-Hakim — , who ordered the sacking of monasteries and churches and dismissed Copts from government offices. They suffered humiliation and were compelled to wear wooden crosses weighing at least five pounds and distinctive clothing.
The Fatimids resided in Cairo, the new city that they established to the north of al-Fustat. The arrival of the Crusaders in the Holy Land had long-lasting negative consequences for the Christians in the entire region. Syrian Christians fled to Egypt to take refuge with their coreligionists. At the same time, Crusader victories led to severe retaliatory actions against the Copts, for Muslim rulers did not distinguish between the indigenous Christians and the invaders.
He obliged all Copts to wear distinctive dress and forbade them to ride horses.
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The great Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria was destroyed on the pretext that the Crusaders might fortify it should they take the city. However, the Ayyubid sultans — were in general relatively tolerant of the Copts, so that in the Egyptian Christians joined forces with them to battle the Crusaders who had captured the northeastern Delta town of Damietta. The Mamluks were slaves brought mainly from the region of the Caspian and Black Seas, sold and trained in Egypt as soldiers.
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