When we survey the history of the Faith, it is undeniable that the lands of northern Africa were profoundly influential in the development of early Christianity. The faith arrived early in Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, and the territories we now call Eritrea, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. African Christians made decisive contributions in theology, liturgy, biblical studies, and culture. With the Arab invasions of the seventh and eight centuries, much of this history was lost to Europe, though the marks of ancient influence remained.
Africa and the Early Church: The Almost-Forgotten Roots of Catholic Christianity uncovers that lost history for interested modern readers, telling the story as much as possible in the words of the great figures in antiquity. To acknowledge these Christians and their churches is to complete the historical picture—and to remember what was once common knowledge.
Mike Aquilina is executive vice-president of the St. Paul Center and a contributing editor for Angelus News. He is author of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church and How the Fathers Read the Bible: Scripture, Liturgy, and the Early Church.