The Liturgies of the Church of Alexandria: 

From Late-Antique Origins to the Medieval Heritage

An International Symposium

21-23 September 2023

Heritage Hall in Fr. O'Connell Hall


Alexandria was one of the most important centers in early and late-antique Christian history, and its theological heritage is well known and studied. It is represented by famous theologians such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria. However, the ritual life of the local Alexandrine Church is not well known and very little studied. In fact, the doctrinal divisions of the fifth century and its linguistic ramifications (the shift from Greek to Coptic among non-Chalcedonians/Copts in Egypt) and the ensuing liturgical diversification of the Alexandrian liturgical family into Byzantine/Melkite and Coptic, and the related Nubian and Ethiopian rites, makes the retrieval of the early and late-antique Alexandrian liturgical tradition complicated. An additional layer to be brought into the discussion are the various forms of monastic life and their ritual expressions of worship, as well as interactions and possible routes of mutual influence between the Alexandrian liturgical tradition and other traditions via trade routes, such as those of Rome, Jerusalem, and Syria. 

The purpose of this conference is to foster and facilitate the examination of sources from the early period of the Alexandrine church (such as papyri, Church orders, patristics testimonies, archeological evidence) so as to understand how the liturgical traditions of the various expression of Alexandrine Christianity developed and reached the liturgical structures and texts documented by medieval manuscript witnesses of Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia. An important aspect of this work is to examine the place and formative role not only of the canonical Bible, but also the eminent importance of the para-biblical or extracanonical or “apocryphal” traditions and how they formed and influenced the various expressions of liturgy. 

This will be the first ever conference dedicated to the search for the Alexandrine Liturgy, its impact and its legacy. It will bring together outstanding international scholars who in sharing their most current findings will mark the way for future research in the field in the years to come.

Public Lectures

Maxwell Johnson, "The Study of Early Egyptian Liturgy: the Status quaestionis"
Caldwell Auditorium
Thursday, September 21
6:00 p.m.
Link to the livestream

Bishop Kyrillos, "From Conference to Sanctuary: How Modern Scholarly Research Contributes to the History, Theology and Practice of Coptic Orthodox Liturgy" 
Heritage Hall
Saturday, September 23
11:00 a.m. 
Link to the livestream

*These lectures are open to the public without the need to register for the conference



View the conference program


Registration fee: $50 (waived for CUA students and faculty)

Please register here

poster for the conference

The Institute for the Study of Eastern Christianity
The University of Regensburg
St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School

Additional Support:
Dumbarton Oaks
Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture
Center for the Study of Early Christianity
Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies
Institute for Christian Oriental Research
St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society
Meda Coffee and Kitchen

For more information, please email 
To request accommodations for persons with disabilities, please email Fr. Stefanos Alexopoulos (