Also spelled KUFT, Greek COPTOS or KOPTOS an agricultural town part of Qina

Governorate in Upper Egypt, on the large bend of the Nile below

Luxor (al-Uqsur) and on the east bank of the river. Known to the ancient

Egyptians as Qebtu, the town was of early dynastic foundation. It was

Important for nearby gold and quartzite mines in the Eastern Desert, worked

During the 1st and 2nd dynasties, and as a starting point for expeditions to

Punt (in modern Somalia). Qeptu was associated with the god Min (temple ruins

Remain) and the goddess Isis who according to legend, found part of Osiris

Body there. Destroyed in AD 292 by Diocletian, Qift later became a Christian

Community, lending its name to the Coptic Christians of Egypt and also to

Egypt via Greek Aegyptos. Important as a medieval caravan trade center, the

Town is now known chiefly for its ruins. The famous road to the Red Sea via

Wadi Hamm mat that made the town important starts just to the east at the

Desert edge.





Liturgical music of the descendants of ancient Egyptians who converted to

Christianity prior to the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the 7th century. The

Term Coptic derives from Arabic qubt, a corruption of Greek

Aigyptios (Egyptian); when Muslim Egyptians no longer called themselves by

That name it was applied to the minority. Coptic a Hamito-Semitic

Language, was officially banned by the Arabs in 997 and survives today only

In the Coptic liturgy. It assumed that the Coptic religious services have

Their roots in the earliest layers of the Christian ritual of Jerusalem, with

Some strong admixtures of Syrian influence. It appears also that there was a

Certain amount of Arabic influence, and some scholars believe that the Coptic

Ritual may have exercised some influence on Muslim religious practices.

It is assumed but not verified that the Copts inherited a rich musical

Tradition. Only in most recent times have musical manuscripts or liturgical

Books with developed musical notation been used for this music. It has been

Transmitted only orally.

On the basis of present-day performances, much of the Coptic chant consists

Of melody types or melodic formulas that serve as starting points for

Improvisation by singers. Because it would be difficult for a singer to

Memorize all the religious cervices, prompters whisper cues to the

Singers who then begin the appropriate melodies for a given service.

The Coptic ritual uses a few percussion instruments, which resemble ancient

Egyptian instruments known from frescoes and reliefs. On this basis some

Scholars believe that the Coptic liturgy preserves some ancient traits






Principal Christian church in predominantly Muslim Egypt. The people of Egypt

Before the Arab conquest in the 7th century identified themselves and their

Language in Greek as Aigyptios (Arabic qibt, Westernized as Copt); when

Egyptian Muslims later ceased to call themselves Aigyptios, the term became

The distinctive name of the Christian minority. From the 5th century

Onward, these Christians belonged to a Monophysite church (acknowledging only

One nature in Christ), calling themselves simply the Egyptian Church. In the

19th and 20th centuries they began to call themselves Coptic Orthodox to be

Distinguished from Copts who had converted to Roman Catholicism and from

Eastern Orthodox, who are mostly Greek.

In the 4th and 5th centuries a theological conflict arose between the Copts

And the Greek-speaking Romans or Malachite’s (Emperor's Men), in Egypt over the

Council of Chalcedony (451), which rejected Monophysite doctrine.

After the Arab conquest of Egypt in the 7th century, the Copts ceased

Speaking Greek and the language barrier added to the controversy. Various

Attempts at compromise by the Byzantine emperors came to naught. Later, the

Arab caliphs, although they tended to favor those who adopted Islam, did not

Interfere much in the internal affairs of the Christian Church.

Apart from the Monophysite question, the Coptic and the Eastern Orthodox

Churches agree in doctrinal matters. Arabic is now used in the services of

The Coptic Church for the lessons from the Bible and for many of the

Variable hymns; only certain short refrains that churchgoing people all

Understand are not in Arabic. The service books, using the liturgies attributed

To St.Mark, St.Cyril of Alexandria, and St.Gregory of Nazianzus, are written in

Coptic, with Arabic text in parallel columns.

The Coptic Church developed a democratic system of government after the

1890s.The patriarch and the 12 diocesan bishops, with the assistance of

Community councils in which the laity is well represented, regulate the

Finances of the churches and schools and the administration of the rules

Relating to marriage, inheritance and other matters of personal status. When

The patriarch dies, an electoral college, predominantly of laymen, select three

Duly qualified monks at least 50 years of age as candidates for the office

Of patriarch. Among these three the final choice is made by lot after prayer.

The "patriarch of Alexandria and all Egypt resides in Cairo. The church has

Its own primary and secondary schools in many places in Egypt, as well as a

Stung Sunday school movement for the religious education of children unable

To go to Coptic schools. There is an Institute Of Coptic Studies in Cairo, a

Theological college connected with the institute, and a Coptic museum; the

Teaching of the Coptic Church has even become the basis of the syllabus used

In the religious instruction of Christian children in government schools.

There is a Coptic Church in Jerusalem, and there are a few other churches in

The Holy Land, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as a Coptic

Bishopric in Khartoum, Sudan. The Ethiopian, Armenian and Syrian Jacobite

Churches are in communion with the Coptic Church.





Hamito-Semitic language that was spoken in Egypt from about the 2nd century

AD and that represents the final stage of the ancient Egyptian language. In

Contrast to earlier stages of Egyptian, which were written in monumental

Hieroglyphs, hieratic script, or demotic script, Coptic was written in the

Greek alphabet, supplemented by seven letters borrowed from demotic

Writing. Coptic also replaced the religious terms and expressions of earlier

Egyptian with words borrowed from Greek.

Coptic is usually divided by scholars into six dialects, four of which were

In Upper Egypt and two of which were in Lower Egypt; these differ from one

Another chiefly in their sound systems. The Fayyum dialect of Upper

Egypt, spoken along the Nile Valley chiefly on the west bank, survived until

The 8th century. Asiatic, or Sub-Akhmimic, spoken around Astute,  flourished in

The 4th century. In it are preserved a text of the Gospel According to John

And have the Acts of the Apostles, as well as a number of Gnostic

Documents. Akhmimic was spoken in and around the Upper Egyptian city of

Akhmimic. Sahidic (from Arabic as Said [Upper Egypt]) was originally the

Dialect spoken around Thebes; after the 5th century it was the standard

Coptic of all of Upper Egypt. It is one of the best documented and

Well-known dialect

The dialects of Lower Egypt were Bash uric, about witch little is known (only

A few glosses in the dialect are extant), and Bohairic (from Arabic

Al-Buhayrah), originally spoken in the western part of the Lower Egypt

Including the cities of Alexandria and Memphis. Bohairic has been used for

Religious purposes since the 11th century by all Coptic Christians. The

Latest Coptic texts date from the 14th century.





Body of writings almost entirely religious that dates from the 2nd

Century when the Coptic language of Egypt the last stage of ancient

Egyptian began to be used as a literary language, until its decline in the 7th

And 8th century. It contains, in addition to translations from the

Greek, original writings by the Greek Fathers and founders of Eastern

Monasticism and texts throwing light on early Gnosticism and Manichaeism

Within the Christian Church.

The earliest original writings in Coptic were the letters by St. Anthony of

Egypt first of the "Desert Fathers." During the 3rd and 4th centuries many

The picture is Mary with the baby Jesus holding a bible; the text contains the Theotokia for the seven days

Ecclesiastics and monks wrote in Coptic among them St. Bachomius, whose

Monastic rule (the first coenobitic rule; for solitary monks gathered in

Communities) survives only in Coptic; St. Athanasius, the first patriarch of

Alexandria to use Coptic, as well as Greek, for didactic homilies; Macarius

Have Egypt, a famous ascetic desert solitary; and St. Serapion

Bishop of Thmuis, whose liturgical texts are valuable sources for early

Church worship. The first to realize fully the language's literary

Potentialities was Shenute (Shenoud; c.360-450), about of the White Monastery

(Deir el-Abyad), near Atripe, Upper Egypt .In sermons, treatises, and homilies

He showed mastery of style and the forceful character that made him (though

Unknown in the West until the 20th century) the most influential personality

Of his period in Egypt, where he is still regarded as a saint. His works

Remain the outstanding original writings in Coptic, equaled in intensity

Only by 7th and 8th century hymns sung antiphonally to traditional tunes and

Written to encourage the Coptic Christians during the persecutions that

Followed the 7th century Muslim invasions.