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Egypt played an important role in the Roman Empire as a supplier of grain. According to Coptic Christian tradition, during the rule of Nero in Rome, Christianity was brought to Egypt by Saint Mark, who converted many to the initially banned faith before eventually establishing the Patriarchate of Alexandria in 61 CE.
The schism in the Church in the 5th century led to diverging branches of Christendom, and Copts were persecuted severely by the Roman Christians. The Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria has always served as an independent seat of the Coptic Pope, completely separate from Rome’s Vatican.