Byzantine patriarch

Benjamin I

BENJAMIN I The thirty-eighth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (622- 661). He was born about 590 at Barshut, a village in the province of Beheirah in the western Delta. Benjamin was undoubtedly one of the greatest patriarchs of the Coptic church. He lived through the tremendous upheavals of the Persian invasion (619-629) and …

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Cyrus Al-Muqawqas

CYRUS AL-MUQAWQAS A Byzantine bishop of Phasis in the region of the Caucasus until 631, when Emperor Heraclius decided to assign him the more important diocese of Egypt, with the express command to curb the obstinate Coptic community and bring its members to Chalcedonian obedience. In 451 the Copts had opposed the Council of CHALCEDON …

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Fast of Heraclius

Fast of Heraclius This seven-day fast is attributed to Emperor Heraclius (575-642), who rescued the holy cross from the Persians in 629 and restored it to Golgotha. It is erroneously linked with the Coptic church, and taken to account for the first seven of the fifty-five days forming the Coptic Great Lent. The misconception arises …

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Fatimids And The Copts

FATIMIDS AND THE COPTS It is difficult to give a complete picture of the situation of the Copts under the Fatimid dynasty (972-1171). Generally speaking, the caliphs were very tolerant toward them, except during two very tense periods that even brought persecution: under al-HAKIM (996-1021) and during the reign of the last caliph, al-‘Adid. With …

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Agathon Of Alexandria

AGATHON OF ALEXANDRIA Thirty-ninth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (661-677). Before his preferment to the Coptic patriarchate, Agathon was the assistant to BENJAMIN I from 644. During his predecessor’s last illness, he assumed de facto patriarchal authority until his succession to the throne of Saint Mark in 661. He was a fierce fighter …

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