Mark the Evangelist symbol is the winged lion, the Lion of Saint Mark. Canvas painting, circa 1516.

The origins of the ancient Coptic Church of Egypt

(Read the article on one page)

The Coptic Church of Egypt is the earliest Christian church in the world, going back to around 42 AD. According to Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, as well as Coptic traditions, Saint Mark the evangelist, who wrote the earliest of the four New Testament gospels, was the founder and first bishop of the Church of Alexandria, even before the Church of Rome was established. In his landmark History of the Church , written in Greek about the year 310, Eusebius writes: "Now, they say that this Mark was the first to have set out to Egypt to preach the gospel, which he had already written down, and the first to have organized churches in Alexandria itself " (Eusebius, HE 2.16.1). This information is supplemented by Eusebius’s Chronicle, where he places Mark’s arrival in Alexandria in the third year of Claudius’ reign, which would be AD 41-42 or 43-44. This is no more than ten years after the date fixed for the death of Jesus, traditionally held to be in AD 33.  

Meanwhile, the traditional Egyptian account regarding the history of the early Coptic Church agrees with Eusebius on Mark’s role as the founder of the Alexandrian Church. However, Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa’ gives a slightly later date to Mark’s arrival in Alexandria: "In the fifteenth year after the Ascension of Christ ( c. AD 48), the holy Peter sent Saint Mark, the father and evangelist, to the city of Alexandria, to announce the good tiding (Gospel) there ".1 The History of the Patriarchs attributed to Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa is actually a multi-generational compendium of Egyptian church history that relies on several early Coptic sources, and was redacted and translated into Arabic in the eleventh century.

More information on Mark’s life in Egypt is found in the Coptic account recorded by Sawirus, which is believed to have come from an earlier source. This source, known as the Acts of Mark, gives more details about Mark’s activities in Egypt, including the account of the evangelist’s martyrdom in Alexandria. The Acts of Mark has collected some early oral traditions and set them within a larger narrative, describing the details of Mark’s mission and martyrdom in Alexandria. While the exact date of composition for the Acts of Mark is uncertain, these traditions are traceable at least to the late fourth or early fifth century. The Acts incorporates two streams of tradition within a single narrative. The first stream concerns Mark’s founding of the church in Alexandria. The second stream concerns Mark’s martyrdom, and provides an explanation for the establishment of his martyr church on the outskirts of Alexandria.

Detail, painting of Mark the Evangelist

Detail, painting of Mark the Evangelist. Public Domain

The document was originally written in Greek and Coptic, and was rendered into several other languages. The main line of the story in the Acts of Mark goes like this: when the apostles were sent out in their missions, Mark received as his lot the country of Egypt and its surrounding territories. He went first to Cyrene, (in Libya) (a second version makes him a native of Cyrene) where he did a lot of work to convert many to the Christian faith. While in Cyrene, Mark received a vision that he should go to Alexandria.

He arrived in Alexandria the next day and came to a place called Mendion. As he was entering the gate of the city, the strap of his sandal broke, and Mark looked for a cobbler to fix it. As the cobbler was working on the sandal, he injured his left hand and cried out in pain, ‘God is one.’ Mark healed the cobbler’s hand in the name of Jesus. To show his gratitude, the cobbler invited Mark to his home for a meal. There Mark began to preach the gospel of Jesus, telling the man of the prophecies related to Christ. The cobbler said that he did not know of these writings, though he was familiar with the Iliad and the Odyssey and other things that Egyptians learned from childhood. The man was eventually converted, and he and his whole household were baptized, and many others besides. The cobbler’s name was Ananias (the other version has Anianus).  Eventually, some pagan ‘men of the city’, angered by these conversions, sought to kill Mark. The evangelist decided to leave Alexandria and go back to Pentapolis, in North Africa. However, before leaving he ordained for the church Ananias (Annianus) as bishop, along with three presbyters (Milaius, Sabinus, and Cerdo).

The Healing of Anianus by Cima da Conegliano

The Healing of Anianus by Cima da Conegliano ( Wikipedia)

Comments

It's interesting that people want to fit spirituality into a physical straightjacket, such as science. Science does not go beyond a physical parameter, no matter how large that may be.. Spirituality without science or with science has had power and influence, and Historically provable. More influence and power than any one here stating an opinion. When any one of us gets to the mythical or real statue of a Christ then it's time to listen. Expanding on the TOOLS of thought not in a belittling, limiting way, has always been the nature of man. Science, myth, fact, truth, spirit are still words, word symbols, pointing to power. Anyone can see this power today in science, in myth, in spirit, etc. It is also a fact, I believe, that everyone here will die, to the physical world, regardless of what's right or wrong. truth or a lie. We are the limiting factor in life, life is not. PROOF is all around us. I prefer more of an expansion of thought than a contraction.

Article has inaccuracies.
Christianity is not religion. It is the only belief that is righteous in Jesus' eyes. And the only belief he will recognize Inside a persons heart.. As for bishop; that name is a presbyterian/ catholic identity. religion saves No one. Please read scripture.
Jesus said himself, 'one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven". Gospel John chapter 3.
Mark was never a pope nor bishop, man may have given him that stature, but Christ does not identify any man except as his child, when he/she becomes Born again. Christian ! Accepting in Jesus as your personal savior requires no tradition, ritual nor condition.. A person can Not understand scripture without the holy spirit inside him. Must be born again first ! Love must be sincere.

The "oldest" Christian Church would be the one established at Pentecost in the upper room in Jerusalem---I would think. But at the time of Great Schism with Rome in 1054, there were 4 other jurisdictions (5 including Rome; and the "new" Russian Church that was only a couple of deacdes old): Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. It only makes sense that if you are the one leaving the others because you disagree with them and together they are the Body of the Church--then you are the heretical branch of the family-tree. The Coptic Orthodox Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of Churches, which has been a distinct Christian body since the schism following the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a different position over Christology from that of the Eastern Orthodox Church, so what we have today as the Coptic Church also left the original Church (from the Alexandrian jurisdiction), aka the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I’ll put my faith in the aliens! You can put yours in politicians and religious leaders if you want. The aliens are the only ones that I see coming around all the time to check on us and to make sure we don’t drop too many nuclear bombs on each other. Want to see what the aliens look like...
http://www.blue-planet-project.com/

"Pagan Athiests"? Pagans are not athiests they worship gods made of stone.

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

“Lord Rama got fed up with asking a non-responding Varuna (God of the oceans) to help him and took up the Brahmastra.” (Fair Use) Ram Setu – a natural phenomenon or perhaps a manmade bridge built to save a queen?
Built by a king and his army to save a queen from the clutches of a rival? Or maybe a bridge to a land which led Adam to his atonement? While both of these ideas are far-fetched, current research suggests the Ram Setu link between India and Sri Lanka is not natural as most people have been told to believe, but is a man-made bridge which is thousands of years old.

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Ancient Places

Pictorial representation of Pyramid in Teuchitlán Guachimontones Museum.
Guachimontones (known alternatively as Huachimontones) is an archaeological site located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. This is an important site of the Teuchitlan tradition, which was a pre-Columbian complex society that flourished in the western part of Mexico (occupying territories in the modern Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article