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Christian Survivals Nubian - Coptic Wiki


The people of adhered to the Coptic Christian faith from the time of their in the sixth century (see NUBIA, EVANGELIZATION OF) until nearly the end of the fifteenth century. At that time the Christian Nubian kingdoms were destroyed through a combination of internal weakness, nomad Arab migrations, and intervention.

Effective political power passed to Arab tribal shaykhs, and at the same time contact between the Nubian Christian communities and the Coptic patriarchate was broken. Gradually the people adopted the Islamic faith of their new rulers, and the numerous churches of fell into ruin. There were reported to be surviving communities of Christians in Nubia as late as the eighteenth century, but there are none today.

Nevertheless, traces of the earlier faith can still be observed in the folk religious practices of the Nubians. Among them are a form of baptism; an Easter ritual involving early morning ablution in the Nile, followed by marking the sign of the cross on house walls; and the frequent invocation of and the angels by women in childbirth. In some areas the Latin term angeles is still in use. Christian survivals are reported also among Nubian tribal peoples in the western Sudan (see NUBIANS), though it is not certain that these people were ever officially converted.

  • Kronenberg, A., and W. Kronenberg. “Preliminary Report on Anthropological Field-Work 1961-62 in Nubia.” 11 (1963):304, 311.
  • . “Preliminary Report on Anthropological Field-Work in Nubia, 1962-63.” 12 (1964):285-86.
  • Vantini, G. Christianity in the Sudan, pp. 208-215. Bologna, 1981.