Egypt - (Africa)

Information about Egypt

1002000 square kilometres
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Christianity came to Egypt during the first century A.D.; the founder of the church of Alexandria was St. Mark. In the following centuries, Egypt was the cradle of many important Christian movements, including the catechetical schools of Clemens and Origen (2nd and 3rd centuries), monasticism under St Anthony (4th century), the Arian-Athanasian controversy (4th century), Cyril’s opposition to Nestorianism (5th century), and the controversy over the nature of Christ, which came to a head at the Councils of Ephesus and Calcedon in 451. Monophysitism gained so much strength that by the middle of the 7th century Monophysites became the majority. At about that time Islam had conquered Egypt, and during the following five centuries massive conversions occurred, in part as a result of opposition to Byzantine administration.
The majority of Christians in Egypt belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of St. Mark-the See of Alexandria. There is, in addition, a (Greek) Patriarchate of Alexandria in communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. During the 17th century, concurrent with the French campaigns, the Capuchins and Jesuits began to work in Egypt, which eventually led to the formation of several Uniate Catholic churches.
The first Prot missionaries, Presb from the USA, began work in Egypt in 1854; the Moravians had attempted an earlier initiative, but they withdrew within a short time. Drawing its membership only from nominal Orthodox Christians through evangelism, Bible study in Arabic, and educational and medical work, the church grew rapidly. By 1899 there were four presby, and by 1972 there were seven, extending from the Delta in the north to the Upper Regions of the south — at one point including Sudan, whose churches are now independent from the Evangelical Church of Egypt (cf. Sudan).
In addition to the Anglican Church, which formed a presence in Egypt in 1882, a large independent body split from the Evangelical Church in 1869, identifying itself as the Christian Brethren (sometimes called the Plymouth Brethren). Since their separation, the Brethren have been entirely under Egyptian leadership. Several Holiness missions entered Egypt toward the end of the 19th century; they are responsible for the establishment of two churches: the Faith Church, and the largerHoliness Movement, i.e.,the Free Methodist Church. Advent and Pent communities also owe their origin to that period.



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