Period of division 451642

Successors of Dioscorus who remained loyal to his teachings held the allegiance of most Egyptian Christians. A Chalcedonian hierarchy was installed in Alexandria, at the head of a 'Melkite' Church with little popular base. Through the latter half of the fifth and then the sixth centuries, the position of a Chalcedonian Church in Egypt depended on the efforts made by the emperor in Constantinople. In 482, Peter Mongus, anti-Chalcedonian patriarch (477-89), accepted the compromise of the Henotikon formula, leading the Emperor Zeno to withdraw support for a Chalcedonian patriarch. By contrast, the Emperor Justinian (527-65) supported a Chalcedonian hierarchy in Alexandria and a Chalcedonian purge of monasteries throughout Egypt.

Yet there is a sense that the heart of the Egyptian Church was undisturbed by the struggle in Alexandria, remaining loyal to the teachings of Athanasius, Cyril, and the successors of Dioscorus. Important teachers and leaders came to Egypt from Syria-Palestine. Severus of Antioch, deposed by the Emperor Justin, arrived in 518 and produced theological writings that form the lasting basis of the 'one nature' doctrine. Jacob Baradaeus, a Syrian monk, was ordained bishop and proceeded to travel and ordain non-Chalcedonian clergy, insuring the continuity of the separated Church in Egypt (it was from Jacob that the term 'Jacobites' for the non-Chalcedonians was derived). Evidence points to the growth of the Church at this time: church building, donations to churches and monasteries witnessed in documentary papyri, and literature. The political struggles of empires had little effect at first.

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