In previous articles of this series, the writer explored the influence of Christian teachings and thought on some of the ancient Egyptian cultural attributes, norms, and values. The writer explored examples from “The Life of Anthony” written by Saint Athanasius. In this article, the writer, with the grace of Christ the Lord, will explore Christian teachings and thought dating earlier than the “Life of Antony”, namely writing of the famous Coptic philosopher Origen (185-254 A.D.). It is perhaps noteworthy that Origen’s name which means “born of Horus” follows a most ancient Egyptian tradition. The contemporary reader should keep in mind that the purpose of Origen’s writing, very much like that of Athanasius’s “The Life of Anthony”, was first and foremost Christian teaching, however as the writers were Copts, the narrative reflects some aspects of the Coptic culture.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Heb 13.8
“Iycouc Pi,rictoc `ncaf nem voou @ `ncof `ncov pe@ nem sa `eneh”
“يسوع المسيح هو هو الامس واليوم والي الابد”
Over the centuries, several cultural attributes have contributed to enhancing the Copts’ prospects for growth and success. Among these attributes are 1) Respect for education, knowledge and the love of wisdom and a predisposition to seek excellence, 2) Taking initiative and a "can-do" approach to life, 3) Flexibility, adaptability and innovation, and 4) A sunny disposition and joy of life. Saint Athanasius the Apostolic (293-373 A.D.) wrote his book “The Life of Anthony” (1) shortly after the death of Saint Anthony the Great in 356 A.D.
The Christian faith has been and continues to be the corner stone of the identity of the Christian population of Egypt, the Copts. The Copts form the largest non-Muslim indigenous population in the Middle East, which predates the 7th century Arabs conquest with thousands of years. The Egyptian Government has not published census data for the Copts in Egypt for several decades; however the Coptic population is estimated to be about 15% of the total population of 83 million, or approximately 12.5 million and possibly more.