Africa

Mina II

MINA II, sixty-first patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (956-974). Mina was a native of the village of Sandala. He became a monk in the monastery of Saint Macarius (DAYR ANBA MAQAR). He was a docile youth and his parents married him to a relative against his will. So when he joined his wife …

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church

ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH The Ethiopian church was the only state church in the Orient that remained intact from early times into the late twentieth century, when it was separated from the secular state by a revolutionary decree of 1974. With a membership of at least 12 million, it is still the largest single autocephalous Christian …

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Ethiopian Monasticism

ETHIOPIAN MONASTICISM Perhaps the most important aspect of Ethiopian Christianity is its monasticism. Introduced into the country probably at the time when Christianity itself was first preached, its centers, the monasteries, have set the rule of conduct for the domestic and foreign policy of the Christian kingdom up to the twentieth century. The monks were …

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Jabal ‘Adda

JABAL ‘ADDA, A hilltop fortress in Lower Nubia, across the river and slightly upstream from the famous temple of Abu Simbel. It was, along with QASR IBRIM and FARAS, one of the three most important administrative centers in Lower Nubia in the medieval period. Because only limited excavation was done in the fortress of Jabal …

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Dongola

DONGOLA Often referred to as “Dongola al-‘Ajuz,” the capital city of the medieval Nubian kingdom of MAKOURIA. It was situated on the east bank of the Nile about halfway between the Third and Fourth Cataracts. The name is said to be derived from a Nubian word for a hill or high place, perhaps reflecting the …

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Defensor Ecclesiae

DEFENSOR ECCLESIAE A layman, usually a lawyer, charged with the defense of the interests of the church in lawsuits and in any conflicts with secular authorities. Most of the evidence for the existence of defensores ecclesiae comes from North Africa, where they are mentioned by Possidius, bishop of Calama in 403 (Vita Augustini 12). They …

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Dotawo

DOTAWO A small, late medieval kingdom, probably the last surviving Christian polity in Nubia. The name in Nubian means “below Do,” a place usually identified with the Daww of medieval Arabic manuscripts and the JABAL ‘ADDA of modern times. It is not certain whether “below” is to be read literally (since Jabal ‘Adda was on …

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Abu Al-Makarim

ABU AL-MAKARIM Al-Shaykh al-Mu’taman Abu al-Makarim Sa‘d-Allah Jirjis ibn Mas‘ud was a priest of the Coptic church with the title of qummus (HEGUMENOS) who lived in the thirteenth century. He is best known as the author of the famous work entitled Tarikh al-Kana’is wa-al-Adyirah (History of Churches and Monasteries), which he is known to have …

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