John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity

John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity After the Council of Chalcedon in ad 451 and in particular after the Arab conquest of Egypt in ad 641, the need to demonstrate Coptic self­ identification became more important than before.[1] Usually, there is the need to stress one’s identity and define or form its features when one […]

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The History of Christianity in Egypt

The History of Christianity in Egypt THE TERM COPT COMES DIRECTLY FROM THE ARABIC QBT, which appears to derive from the Greek aigyptos (Egypt) / aigyptioi (Egyptians), a phonetic corruption of the ancient Egyptian word Hikaptah, one of the names of Memphis. Initially the word described a non-Arabic-speaking non-Muslim. By implication, a Copt was also […]

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Christian Subjects In Coptic Art

CHRISTIAN SUBJECTS IN COPTIC ART Whatever its materials and techniques—stone or wood relief sculpture, painted walls or manuscripts, textiles, metalwork, ceramics, or glass—Coptic Christian iconography retained a few rare elements of pharaonic origin and many Greco-Roman elements from Alexandrian tradition. From the fifth century on, these pagan subjects mingled with Christian motifs. The Christian subjects […]

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Charisios

CHARISIOS The name of this archimandrite is preserved only by some fragments of the typica preserved at Leiden (Insinger, 38a, Pleyte and Boeser, 1897, p. 182), Vienna (K 9736), and Rome (Vatican, Borgia 231; Leipoldt, 1913, p. 11). Charisios has left no trace in the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION; we know of his existence only from the […]

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Coptic Hagiography

COPTIC HAGIOGRAPHY Egypt was influenced by the Greek culture, hence many of the hagiographical texts were written first in this language and translated later into Coptic. It is important to use the classical hagiographical tools such as Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis and the Bibliotheca Sanctorum (16 vols., Rome 1965-1976), in addition to the bibliography in each […]

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Constantine (Bishop Of Asyut)

CONSTANTINE A sixth-seventh-century bishop of Asyut. History A summary of Constantine’s life has come down complete in a unique manuscript of the Sahidic recension of the Arabic SYNAXARION of the Copts, deposited at Luxor. There also exists for the first part and identical with the above document an isolated leaf (National Library, Paris, Arabic 4895). […]

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Saint Serapion

SAINT SERAPION A martyr from Lower Egypt (feast day: 27 Tubah). The legend that tells of the martyrdom of Serapion (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis 1048, ed. Balestri and Hyvernat, 1955, 1960) belongs to the type of martyrologies predominant in Egypt. There are rescues among a multitude of tortures, miracles, and promises for the cult center in […]

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Saint Sophia

SAINT SOPHIA [A holy woman of the fourth century or later whose remains are interred in the Church of Santa Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople (feast day: 5 Tut). There are several versions of her story.] The Jacobite Tradition The Jacobite-Arabic SYNAXARION, preserved in a seventeenth-century copy (restored in the nineteenth century) in the National […]

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Butrus Sawirus Al-Jamil, Bishop Of Malij (Beginning Of 13th C.)

BUTRUS SAWIRUS AL-JAMIL, BISHOP OF MALIJ (beginning of 13th c.) A Bishop, apologist, hagiographer. The limited information that we possess about Butrus al-Jamil, who perhaps received the name Sawirus upon his consecration as bishop of Malij, points to a polemically minded scholar: his Kitab al-Ishraq (The Book of the Sunrise) is a catalog of the […]

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John The Little (339-409)

JOHN THE LITTLE (339-409) A Saint and monk. He is a renowned figure among the Desert Fathers. He is known from the Apophthegmata partum, which preserves nine sayings under his name, and a Coptic “Life” attributed to Zacharias, the eighth-century Bishop of Sakha. He is also commemorated in the Arabic Synaxarion of the Copts. John […]

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