In 1742, a Franciscan friar reported to Rome the remarkable news that a hitherto unknown Christian community had been discovered on a river island in Nubia, the region south of what had once been Roman Egypt. The Nubian church was thought to have been extinct for centuries, cut off as it was from other Christian communions. But this ancient Nubian church, established no later than the fourth century, had persevered through a millennium of Islam and periods of isolation from the...
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