Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christianity, Coptic: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
Cy Ashley Webb
Christianity was brought to Egypt by Mark the Evangelist shortly after the death of Christ. These original converts formed the base of the Coptic Church and are the direct lineal ancestors of the modern Coptic Church. A vigorous monastic tradition developed early and was very influential in Europe. The Copts were represented at both the Council of Nicaea (325) and the Council of Chalcedon (451). The Islamic invasion of Egypt in 641 diminished but did not extinguish the Coptic Church, which continues to be a sizable faction of Christianity in Europe today. Mark the Evangelist traveled to Alexandria in 43 C.E., 10 years after the death of Christ, with the goal of spreading the word about the nascent church. At this time, Christianity was seen as a primarily Jewish sect, so the large Jewish population in Alexandria was fertile ground for the new church. Mark the Evangelist was the first ...