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October 25, 2021

The Coptic Church

The Christian movement quickly spread to Egypt and had a strong impact. The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Coptic tradition puts its founding sometime in the AD 40s with Mark the Evangelist’s arrival in Egypt. Today, the Coptic Church is still centered in Egypt but has spread throughout the world. One of the first languages the Christian Bible was translated into was the Coptic language. Therefore Coptic manuscripts are an important source for the reconstruction of the oldest history of the text of New Testament writings. The Coptic Church split away from other Christian churches in the fifth century over a theological dispute. But they still share similar liturgies and practices. The Coptic Church is known for its rich tradition in biblical scholarship featuring towering figures such as Origen and Athanasius. The Coptic Church also birthed the Christian monastic movement that would spread around the world. Hermits and monastic communities took to the deserts of Egypt to study the Bible and pursue its teachings. Over the course of its long history, the Coptic Orthodox Church has been the victim of intense persecution. Nonetheless, it remains devoted to its ancient heritage and has associated its origins with these words from the book of Isaiah: "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border."

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