Egypt's role in the rise of Christianity, monasticism, and regional schisms

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In place of contemporary records of a Christian presence in first-century Alexandria, what survive are the ways in which later generations remembered the origins of Christianity in Egypt. The spread of Christianity beyond Alexandria under Demetrius finds some confirmation in the papyrological record. The documentary and archeological record for the second century preserves no trace of Christianity. The schism, which takes its name from Melitius, who had been ordained as Bishop of Lykopolis (Asyut) by Theonas, spawned a parallel Church that lasted into the eighth century. Late Antique discussions divided Egyptian monasticism into three “types”: anchoretic, semi-anchoretic, and coenobitic. Some time in Late Antiquity, monastic habitation began to spread through the large pharaonic necropolis is Western Thebes, developing by the seventh century into a sacred landscape comprising large monasteries, smaller communities, and hundreds of monastic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA companion to Greco-Roman and late antique Egypt
EditorsKatelijn Vandorpe
Place of PublicationHoboken, New Jersey
PublisherWiley-Blackwell, Wiley
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781118428405, 9781118428450, 9781118428429
ISBN (Print)9781118428474
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBlackwell Companions to the Ancient World


  • Egypt
  • Christianity
  • Monasticism
  • Archeological record
  • Egyptian monasticism
  • Schism
  • Monastic habitation
  • Papyrological record


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