Coptic Medicine And Monastic Health Care System In The Early Centuries Of Coptic Christianity

Document Type : Original Article


the Higher Institute of Tourism and Hotels ,King Mariotte , Egypt.


Ancient Egyptians had influenced Greeks, Romans and Copts in medical and surgical skills. When the land of Egypt embraced Christian faith, early Copts had been affected by ancient Egyptian medicine with its remedies and prescriptions. Thus, Coptic medicine was considered as a continuation of medicine and healthcare of ancient Egyptians. This study discusses some Coptic medical sources such as parchments, papyri, ostraca, and graffiti which came to us and preserved now in different museums of the world. This part of Coptic literature shows different medical practices, remedies and prescriptions from the 5th to the 11th century such as Cairo medical papyrus which shows eye, ear, teeth and some women diseases in Coptic period. This papyrus shows how Coptic medical practices were a continuation of ancient Egyptian medicine. The research also focuses on some Coptic saints as healers in Coptic era. These saints were physicians treated their patients without a reward following by this the word of the god such as, saint Cosmas and Damian who were represented in a 7th Century wall painting holding some medical tools. From the early 4th century, the monastic healthcare system was clearly represented and defined in early Coptic monasteries. In Coenobitic monasticism, healthcare was delivered through two main types; inpatient and outpatient health care systems. These two main monastic healthcare systems and the monastic medical personnel in early monasteries are also discussed in the present study. Additionally, the study explores the using of magic as a protective method, and to heal some difficult diseases which were hard to be cured by rational medicine. The Descriptive analytic method has been used in this study, which was useful in discussing different aspects related to Coptic medicine and its deep roots in Ancient Egyptian civilization.