- Slides: 30
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY ITS ROLE IN CHRISTIANITY AND THE WORLD THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT TODAY
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY COPTIC=EGYPTIAN BY TRADITION IT CAME TO MEAN A CHRISTIAN EGYPTIAN.
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY ORIGIN: ACTS 2: 10 IN THE DAY OF PANTECOST, THERE WERE PEOPLE FROM EGYPT. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY A LARGE JEWISH COMMUNITY EXISTED IN EGYPT. ACCORDING TO PHILLO THE JEWISH ALEXANDRIAN HISTORIAN NEARLY A MILLION. (PROBABLY AN EXAGGERATION). THE FIRST CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT WERE PROBABLY FROM THEM. IT IS THAT COMMUNITY THAT PRODUCED THE FIRST EVER GREEK TRANSLATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT (THE SEPTUAGINT)ABOUT 70 B. C.
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY ST MARK THE APOSTLE IS CREDITED WITH PREACHING CHRISTIANITY IN EGYPT. HE WAS MARTYRED AND BURIED IN EGYPT. HIS BODY WAS LATER STOLEN BY VENITIAN MERCHANTS IN 828 AD. IT WAS BURIED LATER IN ST MARK’S BASILICA IN VENICE.
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY ST MARK CONSIDERED THE FIRST ALEXANDRIAN BISHOP LATER APPOINTED ANIANUS A SHOEMAKER AS HIS SUCCESSOR. THE CURRENT POPE OF ALEXANDRIA (POPE SHENOUDA THE THIRD IS THE 117 TH POPE OF THE SEA OF ALEXANDRIA.
COPTIC CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES THERE WERE FOUR MAJOR CHRISTIAN SEAS: JERUSALEM ANTIOCH (WHERE THE DISCIPLES WERE FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS) SEE ACTS 11: 26. ALEXANDRIA ROME
Contributions of the Coptic Church to Christianity and the world The Catechetical School of Alexandria and some of its brilliant teachers. Its major role in formulating the Creed as we know it now. Its role in ecumenical councils. Its pioneering of monasticism. Its numbers of martyrs (the largest in Christian history). Its missionary work abroad.
The Catechetical school of Alexandria Established 190 AD First dean was Pantinus. Followed by Clement of Alexandria. Followed by the great Origin: He was appointed as dean of the school at the age of 19. His most famous work is the Hexapla, an Old Testament publication that included the original Hebrew Old Testament with five different Greek translations in parallel columns. He also is credited by writing exegetic books for all the scriptures. The most notable was his on the Song of Solomon.
Role of the Coptic Church in Ecumenical Councils. What are the Ecumenical Councils? Councils where bishops from the whole Christian Church gathered to discuss vital doctrinal issues. And to deal with some incorrect teaching that deviates from “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. Jude 1: 3.
The Creed and Ecumenical Councils The first ecumenical council in Nicea was called by emperor Constantine to deal with the Arian Heresy. Presided over by St Alexander Pope of Alexandria. Council appointed three representatives to formulate the Creed known as the Nicean. Creed; Hosius bishop of Cordova, Alexander pope of Alexandria and most notably Athanasius who was the deacon of Alexander and who is reputed to have fought the Arian heresy more than anyone in the Christian Church and who later became the Pope of Alexandria after Alexander’s death.
The Creed and Ecumenical Councils The Coptic Church had also a prominent position in the subsequent two councils; in the Council of Constantinople the first among four presiding bishops was Timothy the Alexandrian Pope. In the Council of Ephesus it was St. Cyril the great the Alexandrian pope who presided.
The Coptic Church and Monasticism St Anthony the Great considered father of monasticism lived in the Egyptian desert in the latter part of the third century as a solitary hermit. Several others later followed his example. St Pachomius shortly after, started coenobitic monasticism (monasteries as we know them today where monks live under supervision of an abbot in a community rather than solitaries in the desert. )
Monasticism Cont. St Pachonius rule influenced all subsequent monastic movements all over the world; St Basil the great, bishop of Caesarea went to Egypt and was influenced by St Pachomius and established his rule based on Pachomian principles. John Cassian established two monasteries in Lyon (France) after spending several years in Egypt and Palestine studying desert monasticism there.
Monasticism Cont. St. Benedict derived a major part of his rule from the rule of St Basil. Several people from around the world came to Egypt either to study in its Catechetical school in Alexandria or to learn from the desert fathers.
Missionary work In Ireland there is said to be a tomb for seven Coptic monks in Ballamina, who are said to had preached Christianity well before the missionaries of St. Gregory the great were sent to Gt. Britain. St. Morris was the commanding officer of a Theban legion that won a victory for emperor Decius. When the latter asked them to raise incense to his idols they declined and were martyred on the Alps between Switzerland Italy. Today hundreds of Churches and Cities are called after his name (St. Morris , St. Moritius etc. )
Missionary work cont. In the latter part of the second Century St Pantenus The first head of the Catechetical School in Alexandria was sent by the Coptic Pope to India for missionary work. Similarly Origen was sent to Arabia for same reason and to respond to heretical teachings there. The Ethiopian Church is considered an extension of the Coptic Church and it is said that Christianity was preached there by Fromentius who was thought to be an Ethiopian who studied in Alexandria in the days of Pope Athanasius the Apostolic.
Missionary Work cont. Today the Coptic Church has missions in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, South Africa and in Latin America. Not to mention a growing presence in Canada, US, Europe, Asia and Australia through the emigration of several of its membership.
Egyptian Martyrs It is said that during the reign of Diocletian, the Roman emperor who persecuted Christians, more than any other, Egypt had more martyrs than all countries in the Christendom. From the fifth Century till today, the Coptic Church lived under oppression, with an ever growing list of martyrs and members suffering in different ways for their faith.
The Coptic Church today Is probably one of the very few Churches today that continues in its practices in a very similar fashion as was practiced in the early centuries. Two main recent developments i. e. Sunday School movement & resurging monasticism in Egypt had a remarkable effect on a recent revival of the Church.
The Coptic Church today A third factor is the growing number of several university graduates dedicating themselves to the service as monks, priests, Bishops or as lay servants in the Church.
The Coptic Church Today The Coptic Church is now an important member in the ecumenical movement with ongoing dialogues between the Church leadership and the leaderships of other Churches including The Eastern Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russia, Constantinople & Eastern Europe), The Roman Catholic Church & the Anglican and other Protestant denominations.
Some Useful references: http: //www. saintmary. net/coptic_faith/The. Coptic. Contributiont o. Christian. Civilisation. pdf This is an article by Prof. Aziz Surial Atteya a leading Coptologist and main contributor to the Coptic encyclopedia. Several dates etc. can be verified from miscellaneous online references e. g. http: //orthodoxwiki. org http: //wikipedia. org
References Cont. : Known Coptic references foremost: Al Kharida el nafissa fi tarikh el kenissah. Several western references dealing with Church History in general; some of the best is History Of The Church #1 The Early Church Revised (Paperback) by Henry Chadwick (Author). A very unbiased reference dealing with church history in the first four centuries.
References Cont. : Atlas of the Christian Church by Henry Chadwick and G. R. Evans (Hardcover - Sep 17 1987. A user friendly, easy read history of the whole Christian Church to the twentieth Century by the same well reputed author of the above reference. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (complete &concise editions)
References Cont. : The story of the Church of Egypt By: Edith Louisa Butcher an excellent history of the Coptic Church. Please note that a full Arabic (and honest translation) of the full text can be downloaded for free from; http: //www. coptsunited. com/C_U/Branches_CPTS/Egyptian_Stu dies/Egy_History/1910_Patcher_Book. htm Please note that Mrs. Butcher’s name in the link is misspelled.
References Cont. : Good sources to buy good books are amazon. com (and their regional subsidiaries) Also a good web site to get info re: good priced books is http: //www. bookfinder 4 u. com It is a web page that compares book prices (in any subject or specialty) in 130 different online booksellers and gives you the best prices including posting to you location.
Why do we need references? In today’s world with information technology available everywhere, we cannot afford to give false or inaccurate information, neither to our audience in Egypt, the west or the east. We have a duty to verify our references (bible verses, proper pronunciation and spelling of names, dates and facts. If We talk to a none Coptic audience we should be able to support our information be well respected western references
Why do we need refernces? cont. As servants of Christ we are expected to “ 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. ” Titus 2: 7 -8
Why do we need references? Cont. We should adhere to the proven facts and not make lame statements that we cannot prove or provide a clear reference to them. We should be always prepared to say I don’t know the answer. We should also be able to search for the info. or direct the person to a reference or a person who would be able to help with the answer.