The word ‘Coptic’ appears to refer to an Egyptian language spoken in Pharonic times and currently written with the Greek alphabet
The language is now used in the Coptic church, a christian church with it’s own Pope (not the Catholic one). The apostle Mark reputedly bought christianity to Egypt in the first century AD when Egypt was governed by Rome, Emperor Nero
The Copts seceded from the other Christian churches in the 5th century because they rejected the decision of the Council of Chalcedon (451) that Christ had a dual nature, both human and divine, believing instead that he had a single, divine nature
Christianity is now the largest minority Religion in Egypt. About 95% of Egyptians are Muslim. The christains have a difficult relationship with the state, government and some Muslims
The external architecture of the christain churches was such that I found them difficult to spot. The give-away sign was a cross, normally on a dome
I visited the 7th century St. Mary’s hanging church in Coptic Ciaro. Called the ‘hanging’ church because it is built overhanging the Roman gatehouse of old Cairo. This church was increadibly beautiful. Painted walls with motif’s that often looked celtic, arabic writing, gold-leaf
Wall panels were delicately carved wood inlaid with ivory in regular geometric designs. Often straight lines constructed to enable you to see circles and curves. The colours created a warm celebratory atmosphere, very different from the white-washed walls of many Church of England churches. This celebration in art appeals to me.
I was suprised to find the paintings of people (Mary, Jesus, Saints) depicted very pale-skinned people that looked like North Europeans, an over-emphasis on pale skins given the likely colouring of the people portrayed. They were at least portrayed with brown-eyes and dark hair