Groups

Sethians

SETHIANS Gnostic heretics so designated by patristic heresiologists. According to some accounts, they had an elaborate myth in which Seth, son of Adam, played a prominent role as revealer of gnosis and was equated by some with Jesus Christ. In this system, Gnostics are referred to as the “seed” or “race” of Seth. Several of …

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Bashmuric

BASHMURIC The history of the Bashmuric dialect is in large measure that of a “phantom dialect.” Coptic Egypt had many more dialects than modern science has been able to identify from the texts discovered; but some of these never reached the literary stage. Others did (perhaps poorly enough), but none of their witnesses has been …

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Kom Namrud

KOM NAMRUD An early Christian anchorite settlement on the edge of the desert, northwest of Samalut, part of which has been uncovered by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. As in Kellia, the hermitages consist of rectangular buildings situated well away from each other, with a walled courtyard and a small living area in one corner that …

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Laura

LAURA A term that seems to have originated in Palestine, where it described a range or group of cells around a common center, including a church, a bakery, and various communal services, where the hermits gathered on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the fruit of their labors and leaving again with their bread for the week. …

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Lalibala

LALIBALA This small and isolated community set deep in the Simyen Mountains of central Ethiopia is one of the most remarkable Christian religious centers in Africa. Within the confines of the town are no fewer than eleven monolithic churches, hewn from the native red sandstone of the Ethiopian Plateau. Tradition attributes them all to Emperor …

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Bollandists

BOLLANDISTS A society of Jesuit fathers named after John van Bolland (1596-1665), who founded it on the basis of a plan conceived by Heribert Rosweyde (1569-1629), who did not live to see it materialize. The plan called for the assembling and publication of a universal register of the lives of saints from all possible original …

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Coptic Benevolent Societies

COPTIC BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES Societies set up by voluntary organizations, which constitute an important element in the social fabric of Egypt. Their growing importance and the role they played were conducive to the creation of a Ministry of Social Affairs in 1952, with the express aim of supervising these societies, which multiplied throughout the country in …

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Beja Tribes

BEJA TRIBES The nomadic and warlike Beja tribes have occupied the Red Sea hills of Egypt and Sudan since very early times. In pharaonic days, the tribes were known as the Medjay and were already regarded as a menace by the settled populations in the Nile Valley. One of the Egyptian frontier fortresses built in …

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