Early Christian Egypt

Luc Olivier Merson. Rest on the Flight into Egypt. 1879. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Egypt played an important role in the early development of Christian life. Many of the oldest surviving texts of the New Testament have been preserved in its dry sands, as have texts of apocryphal and Gnostic books.

For about 400 years Alexandria was the intellectual center of Eastern Christianity. Its Bishop Athanasius played a vigorous part in defining basic Christian belief. One of the most remarkable innovations of early Christianity, the monastic life, began in Egypt in the third and fourth centuries.

At one time a leader in Christian innovation, then partially isolated by church politics and the Arab conquest, the Christian Church in Egypt has preserved many early features down to the present day.

More details: Timeline

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