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A community of Christians in South India, the 'Canaites', claim to be descended from a group of Syrians (perhaps 400 families) who arrived in South India, possibly as refugees, in 345. Indian scholars also made their way to Edessa, the most famous of whom was David the Syrian who prepared a new translation of the Epistle to the Romans from Greek into Syriac (c. 425). It is recorded that about 470 Bishop Mana of Riwardashir, Persia, sent to India a collection of the books he had translated into Syriac. There may also have been a Christian community (of even more uncertain ethnicity) in Sri Lanka by the late fifth century. However, at present there are no traditional historical sources that can supply a narrative to the disparate and diverse fragments of material culture and the occasional comments of Christian historians and theologians in Europe, Byzantium and Asia.

Coptic Christianity29 Coptic Christianity refers to the traditions of the Copts, the indigenous, generally non-Greek, inhabitants of Egypt, a linguistic distinction that traces its way back to the Greek Aigyptioi. From early in the Christian period there were Christians among the Copts, and their traditions were generally not different in languages and culture from the Greek population that was consolidated by Alexander the Great. The decisions of the Council of Chalcedon (451) led to the deposition of Bishop Dioscorus I. The local populace remained loyal to him and to the memory of Cyril of Alexandria (c. 375-444). These persons and their churches were configured into a new non-Chalcedonian Miaphysite organisation. Coptic and Greek were used for the liturgy. Within a century, the non-Chalcedonian churches dominated Egyptian religious and cultural life. Extensive numbers of loose translations were made of Greek texts. The Coptic Orthodox church had connections to the Syriac churches, Nubia, Ethiopia and probably the southern parts ofthe Arabian peninsula as well as India, following the trade routes.

Nubian Christianity30 Data about the Nubian church is still fragmentary despite the large number of texts and material cultural items unearthed and preserved in the second half of the twentieth century. Without doubt there were Christians along the Nile

29 M. Roncaglia, Histoire de l'├ęglise copte; B. Pearson and J. Goehring, eds. The roots of Egyptian Christianity; L. S. B. MacCoull, Coptic perspectives onlate antiquity; and especially A. S. Atiya et al., Coptic encyclopedia.

30 E. R. Dinkler, ed., Kunstund Geschichte Nubiens in christlicher Zeit; P. L. Shinnie, 'Christian Nubia'.

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