ABRAHAM OF HERMONTHIS

State Museum Of Berlin

STATE MUSEUM OF BERLIN The Coptic collection of the Staatliche Museen in East Berlin is one of the most extensive and most important outside Egypt. It contains some 2,000 works of all kinds. Its origin is closely connected with the building up of a section for Early Christian and Byzantine works of art; from about …

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Clerical Instruction

CLERICAL INSTRUCTION Education of the clergy of the Coptic church at a church college is a modern arrangement. In antiquity, every bishop had to provide for the education and installation of the clergy of his diocese (see ORDINATION, CLERICAL). The demands made of priests and deacons are known from the church canons (see CANONS, ECCLESIASTICAL), …

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Archives

ARCHIVES There were already archives in Egypt in the pre-Christian period, according to Helck (1975). In Christian times, too, there were official and semiofficial Greek archives: those of soldiers, priests, manual workers, and other private individuals. An attempt to reassemble such archives was announced by Heichelheim in 1932. In these archives documents were preserved, in …

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Correspondence Of Bishops

CORRESPONDENCE OF BISHOPS The inhabitants of Christian Egypt reveal a delight in writing, so far as they were able to write. Many transactions, especially those of legal content, were fixed in written form. Among the papyri and ostraca found in numerous archives and deriving from the antiquities trade, there are letters from bishops to the …

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Audentia Episcopalis

AUDENTIA EPISCOPALIS The adjudication by a bishop of civil matters in dispute (see Codex Jus-tinianus 1.4), as well as of disciplinary matters among the clergy. On the basis of 1 Corinthians 6:1 the Christians—like the Jews—were not to conduct lawsuits before the judges of the pagan state. Disputes were, rather, to be settled within the …

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Excommunication

EXCOMMUNICATION An exclusion from communion. The Coptic church canons contain lists of offenses that lead to exclusion from communion. The extant ostraca from around 600 show how bishops executed the punishment. As soon as a bishop received information of an offense against the church’s canons or the Christian moral law, he notified the person concerned—after …

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Economic Activities Of Monasteries

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES OF MONASTERIES Despite schisms, persecutions, occasional devastation by the barbarians, and the Persian and Arab conquests in 619 and 641, respectively, the history of the Egyptian monasteries from the fourth to the eighth centuries constitutes a whole. The period was one of expansion and material prosperity. Various categories of sources—literary, papyrological, and archaeological—indicate …

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Mummification

MUMMIFICATION There is evidence for mummification in Egypt from the beginning of historical times. Herodotus and Diodorus report on the different ways of mummifying. The practice arose from the idea that preservation of bodily integrity is the presupposition for life after death. This idea is evidently also the reason for statements in martyr legends of …

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Clerical Ordination

CLERICAL ORDINATION The right of a bishop to ordain Christians of his diocese as deacons and priests is so generally recognized that the canons of the Coptic church (see CANONS, ECCLESIASTICAL) relate only to abuses: for instance, the ordination of Christians from another diocese or the acceptance of a gift for the ordination. The bishop’s …

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Interdict

INTERDICT Prohibition against administering the sacraments in a village or a monastery. In the correspondence of Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis from around 600, we learn of a case in which the doing of things that were not fitting either for monks or for the laity in a monastery (we are not told anything more precise), …

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