VOYTENKO A.A. The Time of Patriarchs Peter IV and Damian As the Nodal Point of the Genesis of the Coptic Church: Problems and Proposed Solutions

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.22

Anton A. Voytenko

Doctor of Sciences (History), Leading Researcher,

Centre for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Leninskiy, 29, Bld. 8, 119071 Moscow, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3895-9909


Abstract. Introduction. The article examines a recently put forward hypothesis that the time of the Coptic Church’s final genesis was the period of the Alexandrian anti-Chalcedonian Patriarchs Peter IV (576–578) and Damian (578–607).

Methods. A comparative research method and factor analysis are used. The main research task is to identify all the factors that contributed to the making of full-fledged ecclesiastical structures by the Theodosians (one of the trends of the Egyptian Miaphysites), and a correlation of these factors with each other to single out the main of them.

Analysis. The successful establishment of the Miaphysites (Theodosian) episcopate resulted from the configuration of objective and subjective factors. Objective factors include the following: the weakening of control by the central authorities over the structures of the Miaphysites after Justinian I (482/483–565), the increasing regionalization of the empire and the strengthening of the role of local elites in the provinces, the growing importance of the Coptic language in secular and clerical office work. Subjective factors include the victory of the Miaphysite Patriarch Peter IV over his rival Theodore and the appearance of Damian as Peter’s successor.

Results. On the whole, the proposed hypothesis quite thoroughly explains the emergence of the Coptic Church during the period. However, it has several disadvantages, which open up a number of prospects for further researches. Firstly, there is almost no explanation for the success of Damian’s personnel policy. Secondly, insufficient attention was paid to the Egyptian anti-Chalcedonian monasticism. From the author’s point of view, Egyptian Miaphysite monks, suffering from the pressure of the central and local authorities after the Chalcedonian schism, managed to establish an effective network functioned as a “rhizome”, on which the episcopate risen during Peter’s and Damian’s time relied primarily in rebuilding stable ecclesiastical structures in Egypt.

Key words: history of the Byzantine Church, Byzantine Egypt, Coptic Church, Egyptian monasticism, Miaphysitism.

Citation. Voytenko A.A. The Time of Patriarchs Peter IV and Damian As the Nodal Point of the Genesis of the Coptic Church: Problems and Proposed Solutions. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 304-317. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.22.

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The Time of Patriarchs Peter IV and Damian As the Nodal Point of the Genesis of the Coptic Church: Problems and Proposed Solutions by Voytenko A.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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