[[Image:CopticAltar.jpg|thumb|200px|right|A Coptic altar in Jerusalem]]
Egypt is often identified as the place of refuge that the [[The Holy Family in Egypt|Holy Family]] sought in its flight from Judea: "When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ''Out of Egypt I called My Son''
" ([[Gospel of Matthew|Matthew]] 2:12-23). The Egyptian Church, which is now more than nineteen centuries old, was the subject of many prophecies in the [[Old Testament]]. [[Isaiah]] the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border."
The first Christians in Egypt were mainly Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus, whom the [[Apostle Luke]] addresses in the introductory chapter of his [[Gospel of Luke|gospel]]. When the church was founded by [[Apostle Mark|Mark]] during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews) embraced the Christian faith. Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the [[New Testament]] writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 AD, and a fragment of the [[Gospel of John]], written in Coptic, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century. In the second century Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely Coptic.