Tag Archives: Coptic Church

Controversies about Christ in the early church, part V: The toll of schism and a long-overdue healing


Cover of "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs...

The latest from book-a-year wonder Philip Jenkins

This post follows from “Who do you say that I am: Controversies about Christ in the early church,” , , and

But now we have to descend from the ideal, abstract world of ideas and remember the other result of the Council of Chalcedon: The worst schism the church had ever faced. The reaction was violent. Christian citizens were robbed, there were riots, leaders were deposed, Christians killed each other. The anti-Chalcedon reaction became the religion of Egypt: monophysitism. Later: the Coptic church. In Syria, many Christians became monophysites. The story of all of this is told in a new book by the prolific and clear writer Philip Jenkins, called Jesus Wars. Continue reading

Christians at odds in the Holy Land


Much older than our modern interest in “the historical Jesus” has been a near-universal Christian fascination with the land where Jesus walked. Unfortunately of late that fascination has often turned to squabbling among those who actually live in that land. What follows is a newsletter I wrote shortly after arriving at Christian History in 2002:

Christian History Corner: Divvying up the Most Sacred Place
Emotions have historically run high as Christians have staked their claims to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Chris Armstrong | posted 7/01/2002 12:00AM

The Holy Land—the region where Jesus walked and lived and died—exerts a strange power over the hearts of believers. Readers who have been to Jerusalem and visited its sites may thus feel at least a twinge of sympathy for a group of elderly monks living in that city, who recently made the news in a most unseemly way.

Last Monday, chairs, iron bars, and fists flew on the roof of one of the most revered sites in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. When the dust cleared, seven Ethiopian Orthodox monks and four Egyptian (Coptic) monks had been injured. The fight started when an Egyptian monk decided to move his chair into the shade—technically, argued the Ethiopians, encroaching on the latter’s jurisdiction. Continue reading