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There is no doubt, however, that a Christian community was begun at Alexandria already in apostolic times. The city’s Jewish component the natural environment for the spread of Christianity during the first generations was very numerous, Canada Map and religious ferment, born of a crisis of the traditional form of the Jewish religion and manifest in Jewish literary and philosophical output at Alexandria, favored the spread of the new faith. Relations between the Alexandrian Diaspora and Palestine were ongoing and intensive.

For the 2nd c., the primary evidence we have are the list of the bishops of Alexandria transmitted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History probably based on the list compiled by the chronographer Sextus Julius Africanus, and for the most part reliable, biblical papyri found outside Alexandria and the information provided by Clement of Alexandria ca. 150215. The scarcity of evidence on Christianity at Alexandria and in Egypt for the hundred years between the beginning of its spread and the time in which Clement wrote has preoccupied many scholars, Canada Map leading them to suppose that the development of the Egyptian church was interrupted at a certain point and refounded midway or near the end of the 2nd c. These hypothetical events are explained in two ways: either that the Jewish character of the Christian communities of Egypt had exposed them to repression during and after the insurrection of Egyptian Jews 115117, or that, because of the strong gnostic influences among the Christians of the first generations, the Egyptian church of the second half of the 2nd c. did not adequately preserve its records. These two explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive in fact, a variety of religious options could have coexisted within the Egyptian church. These are, nonetheless, hypotheses. It is possible that the relative lack of evidence is merely by chance or by centuries of persecution, war or intentional destruction.

Beginning from the last decades of the 2nd c. with Clement of Alexandria, Christianization made rapid progress in Egypt, and not just at Alexandria. There are sure indications of this; e.g., the discovery of papyri containing biblical texts or documents attesting the presence of Christians in various places in Egypt, including even Upper Egypt. The persecutions ordered by Decius, Valerian and Diocletian did not slow the pace of development of the Christian communities.

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