Separated by schism from Greek and Latin Christians and surviving under Islamic suzerainty, the Church of Egypt produced insightful saints and heroic martyrs in a chapter in church history now opened to readers of English for the first time.
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The Egypt of Mena, bishop of Nikiou, was a country under relatively tolerant Muslim administration, with a long history of conquest and reconquest, and a deep antipathy to the Byzantine Empire and Melkite ("Imperial") ecclesiastics. Staunchly monophysite, deeply devoted to the patriarchs of Alexandria, and determinedly opposed to the Council of Chalcedon (451) and all that it represented, the Christians of Egypt continued their witness and their woship all but hidden from outside view. These two works by Mena introduce modern readers to the Church of Egypt in the eighth century: its internal and external relations, its customs, and its spirituality.
David N. Bell, Professor of Religious Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, has also translated Besa's
Life of Shenoute the Great from Coptic, and the Spiritual Tractates of Archbishop Baldwin of Ford from Latin.