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 […]

Read More

Scetis

SCETIS A name that historically designated the area of monastic settlement extending about 19 miles (30 km) through the shallow valley known in the medieval period as Wad Habb, now called Wad al-Natrun, which runs southeast to northwest through the Western or Libyan Desert, about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the Nile Delta. In […]

Read More

Ceramics Of The Late Coptic Period

CERAMICS OF THE LATE COPTIC PERIOD It is unreasonable to posit any major changes, either in taste or technique, immediately following the Islamic conquest of Egypt. We may assume that during the late seventh and early eighth centuries, there was a shift of the better ateliers from Alexandria to the new capital at al-Fustat (Cairo) […]

Read More

Covenant Of ‘Umar

COVENANT OF ‘UMAR Ascribed to the second Orthodox caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644), and regarded as a document of primary importance in regulating the relations between the Muslim conquerors of the Middle East and their Dhimmi subjects, that is, the Jews and the Christians, including the Coptic nation in Egypt. The situation of the Copts […]

Read More

Canons Of Epiphanius

CANONS OF EPIPHANIUS A set of canons prescribing moral rules concerning the clergy and the laity, promulgated by the emperor JUSTINIAN at the instigation of the patriarch of Constantinople. The Epiphanius under whose name these canons are placed is not, as one might be tempted to think, the famous bishop of Salamis in the fourth […]

Read More

Canons Of Clement

CANONS OF CLEMENT Or “Letter of Peter to Clement.” Under one or the other of these titles, there is current among the Copts, as among the Melchites, an apocryphon containing alleged revelations of Jesus, given on the Mount of Olives before his ascension, concerning the moral life of his community and various ritual prescriptions. The […]

Read More

Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA Founded in 331 b.c. by Alexander the Great at the western end of the Nile Delta. An Egyptian town, Rakote, already existed there on the shore and was a fishermen’s resort. From its very beginning, Alexandria developed rapidly into one of the world’s great cities. The city replaced Memphis as the capital of Egypt […]

Read More

Confession And Penitence

CONFESSION AND PENITENCE Confession is actually considered one of the sacraments of the Church, where the priest gives the absolution to the penitent. The Coptic Church believes that Christ gave this authority of loosening and binding to his disciples (Matt. 16:19). After his Resurrection, Christ also sent out his disciples, giving them the authority to […]

Read More

Copto-Arabic Literature

COPTO-ARABIC LITERATURE This entry consists of four parts. The first addresses the origins and development of the Arabic literature of the Copts. This is followed by introductions to three Copto-Arabic literary genres—hagiography, apocalyptic, and popular catechesis—for which texts are usually of anonymous authorship, and therefore unlikely to be otherwise addressed in a dictionary arranged largely […]

Read More

History Of The Coptic Music

History of the COPTIC MUSIC Possible Sources and Antecedents There are three primary traditions from which Coptic music very likely absorbed elements in varying proportions: the Jewish, the Greek, and the ancient Egyptian. Possible Jewish Influence. Many aspects of the Jewish services were adopted by the Christian church in Egypt. As elsewhere in the primitive […]

Read More