RASHID (Rosetta)

A city in the Egyptian Delta situated west of Lake Burullus, some 26 miles (42 km) northwest of Damanhur near the Nile mouth known as Masabb Rashid. In Greek, the city was known as Bolbitine. Westerners know the place as Rosetta, a name famous for the stone found not far from the city that provided the key to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

In Christian-Arabic sources from the Arabic period, Rashid is first mentioned in connection with the of the BARSANUPHIANS and Gaianites (see GAIANUS). The relates that during the patriarchate of ALEXANDER II (705-730), Bishop John of Sa contended successfully with at least one of these groups in Rashid. It is not clear from the text, however, which of the two groups was active in the city.

Elsewhere in the History we read that in 749-750, during one of the BASHMURIC REVOLTS, the Coptic killed the in Rashid and set the city on fire.

Rashid appears in the medieval Coptic lists of Egyptian bishoprics, but it is not known when the city first became a bishopric. The first bishops of Rashid of whom we have record were in office in the eleventh century. Bishop Yustus of Rashid attended a synod in Cairo in 1086 (Munier, 1943, p. 28). of Rashid is mentioned for this same period, but the record does not indicate whether he was the predecessor or the successor of Yustus.

Historical sources for the Crusades mention Rashid often, but they provide no information about the fate of the city’s Christian inhabitants. However, the fact that a manuscript was dedicated to the Coptic Orthodox of Mark in Rashid sometime around 1799 bespeaks a continuity of Coptic Christians in the city until at least the beginning of the nineteenth century.


  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte, pp. 404-405. Paris, 1893.
  • Maspero, J. Matériaux pour servir à la géographie de l’Egypte. Mémoires de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 36. Cairo, 1919.
  • Munier, H. des listes épiscopales de l’église copte. Cairo, 1943.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 5. Wiesbaden, 1982.