Christianity arrived early in Egypt, brought—according to tradition—by Saint Mark the Evangelist, who became the first patriarch of Alexandria. The Coptic Orthodox Church has flourished ever since, with millions of adherents both in Egypt and in Coptic communities around the world. Since its split from the Byzantine Church in 451, the Coptic Church has proudly maintained its early traditions, and influence from outside has been minimal: the liturgy is still sung to unique rhythms in Coptic, a late stage of the same ancient Egyptian language that is inscribed in hieroglyphs on temple walls and papyri. Dr. Otto Meinardus, a leading authority on the history of the Coptic Church, here revises, updates, and combines his renowned studies Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern (AUC Press, 1965, 1977) and Christian Egypt, Faith and Life (AUC Press, 1970) into a new, definitive, one-volume history, surveying the twenty centuries of existence of one of the oldest churches in the world.
Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity
1 March 2016
24 b/w illus.
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
The Coptic Christian tradition is one that goes back almost two thousand years to the very beginnings of Christianity: Mark the Evangelist himself is said to have brought the faith to Alexandria. In his Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (AUC Press, 1999), renowned scholar Otto Meinardus reviewed the history of the official church from its earliest days to the end of the twentieth century, with its doctrinal disputes and its long isolation from other world churches. Here in Coptic Saints and Pilgrims, he examines the other side of the coin, the popular traditions and beliefs of the people. While the Coptic Orthodox church is strongly influenced by Hellenistic modes of thinking, many of the folk attitudes and practices by contrast have their roots in the religious heritage of pharaonic Egypt, and while the official faith is by its sacramental nature exclusive, the folk religion is inclusive and touches every aspect of the personal lives of ordinary Copts. It is this popular aspect of Coptic religious devotion that is revealed here, in its many points of focus: biblical saints, martyrs, ascetics, equestrian warriors, ‘silverless’ physicians, women saints, pilgrimage, dreams, visions, and apparitions....read more
15 February 2008
20 color illus.
Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture
Gawdat Gabra With a historical introduction by Tim Vivian
Egypt’s Monastic Art and ArchitectureGawdat Gabra
With a historical introduction byTim Vivian
Egypt, the birthplace of communal monasticism, has a rich store of monasteries and monastic art. Coptic Monasteries takes the reader on a tour of the best preserved and most significant of these ancient religious centers, documenting in exhaustive detail the richness and the glory of the Coptic heritage. An informative introduction by Tim Vivian brings to life the early Christian era, with background information on the origins of the Coptic Church as well as its rites and ceremonies, sketches of some of monasticism’s founding figures, and accounts of some of the difficulties they faced, from religious schism to nomadic attacks. Gawdat Gabra’s expert commentary, complemented by almost one hundred full-color photographs of newly restored wall paintings and architectural features, covers monasteries from Aswan to Wadi al-Natrun. Ranging across a thousand years of history, Gabra’s observations will make any reader an expert on the composition and content of some of Egypt’s most outstanding religious art, the salient architectural features of each monastery, as well as the ongoing process of restoration that has returned much of their original vibrancy to these works. A unique and invaluable historical record, Coptic Monasteries is equally an in-depth, on-the-spot guide to these living monuments or an armchair trip back in time to the roots of one of the world’s oldest Christian traditions....read more
15 October 2010
96 color illus.
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt
Minya and Asyut
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla
Minya and AsyutEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have long flourished along the Nile in Middle Egypt, the region stretching from al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus) to Dayr al-Ganadla. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Middle Egypt over the past two millennia. The studies explore Coptic art and archaeology, architecture, language, and literature. The artistic heritage of monastic sites in the region is highlighted, attesting to their important legacies....read more
20 November 2015
90 b/w illus.
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes
Shems Friedlander Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr Music section by Nezih Uzel
Foreword byAnnemarie Schimmel
Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr
Music section byNezih Uzel
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced and sang his famous verses in memory of his friend and teacher Shams Tabriz, who opened to him the way to direct experience of the Divine Beloved. After Rumi’s death in 1273, the whirling dance was introduced as part of the Mevlevi ritual, a statement of a timeless and passionate yearning toward God. Author Shems Friedlander has been doing documentary photography of the whirling dervishes since his first trip to Konya in 1973, and this book features haunting, evocative pictures of the order’s dancers, clad in their traditional white skirts and tall hats that represent their tombstones. Taken within the dervish lodges, known as tekkes, these photographs provide an insider’s view of ceremonies usually closed to the public. Friedlander’s images of the dervishes in mid-whirl evoke the exaltation of union with the divine source. In addition to Rumi’s life story and the accounts of dervishes past and present, the book features excerpts from Rumi’s poetry and the teachings of other Sufi masters, descriptions of the tekke and the symbolism of the dervish ceremony, an overview of the music that accompanies the Mevlevis’ turn, and a concluding section on the universality of Rumi’s message of love. This classic account of the Whirling Dervishes is now presented in a new and revised edition containing additional text and photographs....read more
100 b/w illus.
The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, 641–1517
The Popes of Egypt, Volume 2
Mark N. Swanson
The Popes of Egypt, Volume 2Mark N. Swanson
In Volume 1 of this series, Stephen Davis contended that the themes of “apostolicity, martyrdom, monastic patronage, and theological resistance” were determinative for the cultural construction of Egyptian church leadership in late antiquity. Volume 2, The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, shows that the medieval Coptic popes (641–1517 CE) were regularly portrayed as standing in continuity with their saintly predecessors; however, at the same time, they were active in creating something new, the Coptic Orthodox Church, a community that struggled to preserve a distinctive life and witness within the new Islamic world order. Building on recent advances in the study of sources for Coptic church history, the present volume aims to show how portrayals of the medieval popes provide a window into the religious and social life of their community....read more
15 September 2010