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Adventist church in Cairo

Photo courtesy of Myron Iseminger.

Egypt, Arab Republic of

By Shawna Vyhmeister, and Melanie Riches Wixwat


Shawna Vyhmeister holds a Ph.D. in education, and is a professor and research director at Middle East University where she works with her husband. Vyhmeister and her husband, Ronald Vyhmeister, have lived and worked in Africa, Asia, South America, and the United States. Their two adult sons and their wives live in the United States. Her hobbies include music, writing, travel, birding, diving, reading, cooking, learning languages, and playing games. Her greatest joy is working for the Lord, especially if it involves young people.

Melanie Riches Wixwat, B.B.A. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan), currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon with her husband Michael, the treasurer for Middle East and North Africa Union (MENAU). She is administrative assistant to the president and the executive secretary of MENAU in addition to working as assistant to the regional editor for the ESDA project. One of her hobbies is studying Arabic and this has led her to be involved with one of the local Arabic Adventist Churches in Beirut.

First Published: March 2, 2021

Egypt is a republic situated on the northeast corner of Africa and the southwest corner of Asia.1 It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the north and the Red Sea on the east. Egypt shares long land borders with Sudan to the south and Libya to the west and also connects to the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northeast. It has an area of 386,650 square miles (1 million square kilometers). Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East, with 101,104,408 inhabitants (June 17, 2019).2 The vast majority live along the Nile River.

The racial groups that through many centuries entered Egypt have been assimilated to produce an Arabic-speaking indigenous, Mediterranean-type Egyptian people, with Arab elements. Many Armenian and Greek colonies are found in the cities and large towns.3

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country in the world, with history that goes back thousands of years before Christ. The pyramids were already old in the days of Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. Ancient Egypt saw the last of its pharaohs in the closing period of the Old Testament; yet, it still exists as a nation, outliving all the empires that successively ruled it: Persia, Macedonia, Rome, Byzantium, Arabia, and the Ottoman Turks. Tourists can still catch a glimpse of the splendor that was ancient Egypt when they visit the Giza pyramids, archaeological treasures in the Cairo museum, and marvel at the tombs and architecture of Luxor and Abu Simbel.

Alexandria, a center of Hellenistic culture, blended Greek and Eastern thought. Jewish scholars produced the Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was used by the apostles. Alexandrian astronomers gave to Rome—and thence to the world—the ancient Egyptian 365-day year. The early Alexandrian Church Fathers blended Greek philosophy with Christianity and developed their own brand of theology. Egypt gave monasticism to the church. One of the oldest universities in the world is the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, founded in 975 A.D.4

In the seventh century Egyptian Christians, oppressed by the Byzantines as heretics, welcomed the invading Arabs as liberators. Egypt accepted Islam and the Arabic language and became a stronghold of Muslim orthodoxy. However, a Christian minority held out. Their present descendants in the Coptic Orthodox Church still use in their liturgy the old Coptic dialects, derived from the ancient Egyptian language. (The terms Copt and Coptic, now ordinarily applied specifically to indigenous Egyptian Christians, originally meant merely “Egyptian.”).5

Early in the nineteenth century the country began to move toward modernization. In 1882, after a massacre of foreigners in Alexandria, Britain stepped in, though Egypt remained a part of the Turkish Empire. During World War I Egypt became a British protectorate. In 1922 it became a kingdom under Fuad I and in 1953 a republic.6


Around 85-90 percent of Egyptians are Muslims (mostly Sunni), though the exact percentages are uncertain, as religion has been removed from the census. An estimated 10-15 percent is Coptic Christian, with “other Christians” representing only 1 percent.7

The Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest religious minority, is a Monophysite Christian community that dates from before the Muslim period.

The Roman Catholic Church began missionary work in Egypt around the turn of the thirteenth century. It was not until the nineteenth century that Protestants took an active interest in Egypt. In 2018 there were about seven hundred fifty thousand Protestants in Egypt, representing 17 denominations.8

Early Adventist Work

Egypt was where the Adventist work in the Middle East first began. Around 1877 Italian Adventists in Naples, Italy, sent the French paper Signes des Temps to their Italian friends in Alexandria and corresponded with them about the church’s teachings.

In the spring of 1878 Romualdo Bartola, an Italian commercial traveler and self-supporting missionary, visited the northern city of Alexandria on business and formed a group there, baptizing seven among the expatriates.

Dr. Herbert Panmure Ribton, a graduate of Dublin University, was one of the first Adventists to be baptized in Italy, and he pioneered the work in southern Italy. In 1879 he moved to Alexandria, then the largest commercial port on the Mediterranean, and began gospel work. Ribton opened a school and had some tracts translated into Arabic. However, two years later, on June 11, 1882, he and two Italian converts, Giuseppe Rupp and brother Alligretti, were killed in Alexandria during a riot against foreigners. They left behind widows and children, who fled to other countries, and the few remaining church members were scattered.

About fifteen years later, several Armenian Adventist families from Turkey settled in Cairo and Alexandria and went about spreading the Adventist faith. About the same time, J. Leuzinger from Italy sailed to Port Said to share the gospel aboard the ships.

In 1899 trained nurses, Louis F. Passebois and his wife, and Ida Schlegel, left Europe to open a health home and a restaurant in Cairo. Their efforts resulted in several converts. Two years later, in 1901, L. R. Conradi of the European Division organized the first Seventh-day Adventist church in Egypt, transitioning from the era of the lay members (1877--1901) to that of the organized work.9

In 1902 the Oriental Union Mission, with headquarters in Cairo, was formed and placed under the direction of W. H. Wakeham, a Canadian-born missionary from the United States. Sometime before 1906 the publishing work began with the printing of a small book in Arabic on the prophecies of Daniel.

Between 1906 and 1908 the first Egyptian Adventist pastor, Awaida Abd el-Shahid, was ordained. Apostasy among the Armenian members developed about that time and depleted the membership, so the work had to be rebuilt. The Oriental Union Mission was renamed the Syrian-Egyptian Mission of the newly formed Levant Union Mission. George Dorkin Keough, originally of Ireland, who had mastered the Arabic language, took charge in 1908.

Progress was slow. In 1912 there were only 18 members, with two ordained pastors, one Bible instructor, four colporteurs (based in Cairo), and two nurses. In the same year, a group of upper Egyptian Christians, led by former Presbyterian Yacoub Beshai Yacoub, from the village of Beni Adi, near Asyut, heard about Keough, a white man who kept the Sabbath. As a result of studying the Bible, this group had been keeping the seventh-day Sabbath for about six years. They invited him for a visit.

When Keough visited them, he found a worshiping community of Sabbath observers. He baptized 17 men and 7 women and organized them into the first indigenous Seventh-day Adventist church in the country in 1913, nearly four decades after the arrival of the first Adventists in Egypt in 1877.

The history of the indigenous Egyptian leadership began with the first ordained national Adventist pastor, the late Pastor Yacoub Nashed (1896 ̶ 1992), the eldest son of Yacoub Beshai Yacoub. For a number of years, Pastor Nashed was in charge of the Adventist work in Upper Egypt, visiting each and every Adventist Christian ̶ by foot or by donkey.10 

Shortly before World War I the country was divided into two missions: Lower Egypt, with headquarters in Cairo, led by W. K. Ising; and Upper Egypt, with headquarters in Beni Adi, with George Keough in charge. There were about forty Adventists in Egypt, mainly coming from the Greek, Armenian, and Coptic communities.

During the war, Ising, a German national, was interned in Malta for several years, but Keough carried on, organizing churches in El-Tataliah and Deirut (Dayrout). When the Levant Union was dissolved in 1923 and the Egypto-Syrian Mission of the European Division was organized, with Keough in charge, there were 70 members in Egypt.

In 1923 plans were laid to reach out to the Arabs. The publishing work was launched that year at Matariah, near Cairo, under the leadership of C. H. Rieckman, who had been sent earlier to learn Arabic and had spent many years interned during the war. A total of 7,500 copies of The Sure Word of Prophecy was printed in Arabic, as well as smaller books. Five colporteurs worked in Cairo, Beni Adi, El-Tataliah, and Deirut. There were church members also in Masra, Sohag, and Luxor.

In 1927 the Arabic Union Training School was opened in Matariah. V. E. Toppenberg was the director, and Ibrahim Khalil was a teacher.

In 1938, before the Second World War broke out, most of the missionaries were evacuated; however, there were a few who remained. Prominent workers during this time included nurses such as Erna Kruger from Germany, educators such as Ibrahim El Khalil, and translators Youssef Berbawy and Selim Moujie.

Church Structure Changes

Egypt was included in the territory of the Arabic Union Mission, which was organized in November 1927 as part of the European Division (from 1928, of the Central European Division). In the 1930s work was resumed in Alexandria by M. C. Grin. Twelve persons were baptized.

When the events leading up to World War II separated the work in Egypt from the Central European Division headquarters, American missionaries were sent in by the General Conference, and E. L. Branson directed the work of the Egyptian Mission. Northern Sudan was linked to the Egyptian Mission, an arrangement that continued until 1950.

At the time of the organization of the Middle East Division in 1950, the Egypt Mission became part of the Nile Union Mission (to which was assigned the territory of Egypt, Libya, northern Sudan, The Hejaz, that part of Arabia bordering on the Red Sea, and Aden).

In 1955 the Egypt Mission was divided: The Lower (Northern) Egypt Mission came under the direction of Hilal Doss, and the Upper Egypt Mission was directed by C. V. Brauer. The area was further divided in January 1957, when Hilal Doss was placed in charge of the Central Egypt Section, with Hilmy Berbawy as president of the Upper Egypt Section and W. R. Lesher in charge of the Delta Section.

These divisions proved unwieldy, however, and by December 1958 the work was reunited in one Egypt section. This was administered by the officers of the Nile Union. At the Nile Union biennial council of 1961, it was decided to nationalize the church organization in Egypt. A new constitution was adopted that provided for a national church, called the Coptic Adventist Denomination in Egypt. Hilal Doss became its first national president.

In 1962 the Nile Union was discontinued, leaving the Middle East Division to deal directly with the Egyptian church. In the reorganization of 1970, the administration of Egypt was placed under the Egypt Field, which was a part of the Middle East Union (MEU), which was, in turn, part of the Afro-Mideast Division. In the early part of 2011, it was recommended to change the name of the MEU to the Greater Middle East Union Mission. However, at the Annual Council session of the General Conference, it was voted to change the name instead to Middle East and North Africa Union. The new union included the newly reorganized Egypt-Sudan Field (ESF), with headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.11

Adventist Work After the Wars

In 1941 there were two schools, one at Beni Adi and another at El-Tataliah. In the next decade and a half, the educational work grew to 12 schools. In 1946 the Egypt Training School opened, which later became Nile Union Academy. In English it was called the Adventist Theological Institute of Egypt and later Nile Union Academy. However, in Arabic the name translated literally to “Coptic Adventist Theological Seminary.” This school, situated on a 65-acre farm in an oasis area in Fayoum (Seila), was mainly established for intermediate and secondary boys.12 In 1954 the school moved to Gabal el-Asfar, its current location, on the outskirts of Cairo. In the mid-1950s government curriculum requirements caused the church to close most of its schools. The school in Gabal el-Asfar, along with the Heliopolis Adventist School, remained open. The Heliopolis elementary school was moved to property at nearby Zeitoun and is currently registered by the government as the Adventist Private School, Zeitoun.

Welfare work of various types was developed. In 1947 the Egyptian government asked the church to assist in the care of underprivileged village children. Since orphanages were badly needed, it was decided to open a small orphanage in Matariah, Cairo, and was named the Matariah Mercy Home, with Erna Kruger as matron. During 1963 the orphanage was rebuilt and its capacity doubled. After the orphanage closed, the Matariah property was used as an educational facility.

Welfare centers were established by the major churches. Special government awards were given in 1963 to the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Societies in Fayoum and Asyut for outstanding service.

A limited medical work was carried out. During the 1940s Erna Kruger did some medical missionary work in Cairo. Dr. Maher Bishai operated a small clinic in Heliopolis in 1953, and a small clinic was operated at Maghagha for a few months in 1956 by Dr. Youssiff Bishai.

Land was purchased in central Cairo, Ramses in 1953 under the leadership of Pastor Neal C. Wilson. A church center was built in 1962. The main auditorium and balcony had a seating capacity of 700-800 and was designed as a theater with the podium and pulpit at the bottom and two aisles for easy access for the audience. Through the years many capable speakers preached the gospel to a full or almost full auditorium including Villy Rasmussen from Denmark and Dalbert Elias from England in the 1990’s.13

In the summer of 1968 an MV camp in Agami, Alexandria, resulted in the largest number of baptisms in the history of MV camps in Egypt when 19 youth were baptized. Nine of them were juniors from the Matariah Mercy Home. Gordon Pifher, a summer student missionary from Atlantic Union College, was camp pastor for the junior camp and had a big impact on the lives of the campers.14

Beginning in 1971 steps were taken to establish a health food factory in Cairo. Land was purchased and construction began in 1974 in Matariah, Cairo. By April of 1978, after having encountered and surmounted many difficulties, the factory began production. The main products developed were various flavored peanut butters, a variety of soya milk flavors, mayonnaise designed for special dietary needs, flavored mustards, salad dressings, sauces, vegetarian meat analogue products, flavored cheese sauces, as well as assorted flavors of juice powder.15

The Adventist Health Education Foundation (AHEF) is still operating today (2020) under the Adventist Egyptian leadership of Mokhtar Nashed. It has developed an excellent working relationship with the leaders of the Egyptian communities. AHEF products are available at monasteries, churches, and other Christian institutions throughout Egypt. They have also developed a good working relationship with the Egyptian Health Ministry.16

Literature evangelism continued to be an important part of sharing the Adventist message after the wars. Adventist literature in Arabic found fertile ground among some but also caused great opposition from others. It took people of a special caliber to meet others with our Advent message filled literature. One of these was Youssif Farag. He worked in his homeland as a student in order to earn his school fees then later as a calling. He was thrown into prison 28 times. His wife, Fadia, joined him in his ministry. Pastor Farag was called to be the publishing director in the East Mediterranean Field and eventually at the Middle East Union for twenty years, until 1995. He trained many young people in Egypt, as well as other territories of the Middle East.17

The 1980s witnessed the revival of camp meetings and evangelistic campaigns under the leadership of Field President Lester Rasmussen. At the beginning of 1980 a camp meeting was held at Nile Union Academy and was the first of its kind in twenty years. Attendance for the two Sabbaths was between three hundred and four hundred. Church members from the field’s 14 churches gathered from miles around, each coming from varying backgrounds and separated by miles of desert sand. It ended with an ordination service for Michael Fahmi, Yacoub Ibrahim, and Nathan Hanna.18 Up through the 1990s and into the 21st century the yearly summer camp meetings at Nile Union Academy continued to be a rallying point for the church in Egypt, with spiritual meetings, baptisms, and from time to time the ordination of new pastors.

In the early 1980s Rasmussen also began an ambitious evangelistic campaign. At the Cairo Center a continuous series of outreach programs involved all 14 churches and companies, along with 15 evangelistic workers. In Alexandria at the Adventist church Middle East Union, President Manoug Nazirian and Pastor Fakhry Naguib conducted a six-week series for the 2.5 million inhabitants. There was an average attendance of 120 each night. Pastors Michael Fahmi and Faiz Tawfilis assisted in the crusade.19 Years later in the early 1990s, Pastor Sven H. Jensen, Union Evangelist, continued with a successful five-week campaign in the same church with the assistance of Pastor Abdel Messih. However, there was strong opposition from the local people in the neighborhood, and they tore down the advertising.20

During the 1990s the church operated in a particularly challenging environment. The population was nearly 90 percent Muslims, 8 percent Coptic Orthodox Christians, and 2 percent Protestants. Evangelism among Muslims was strictly prohibited. The minority Christian communities were protective of their people and fiercely opposed to Adventism. Growth was slow and mostly from the baptisms of Adventist youth.21

Soon after he arrived in Cairo in 1990, Field President Claude Lombart conducted the most extensive survey ever undertaken of the church. The results of the survey profiled a church that was valiantly struggling with internal and external issues. However, it excelled in hospitality and generosity.

In the summer of 1991, Egypt Field hosted a unionwide youth congress in Cairo. The venue was the El Salam Hotel. This was a boost to the youth work in Egypt, as well as a great encouragement to the Adventist youth around the Middle East. Guest speakers were Israel Leito, General Conference Church Ministries director, Michael Stevenson, General Conference Pathfinder leader, and Baraka Muganda, youth director of the East African Division. The congress also drew participants from parts of Europe.22

While the Adventist Church was organized in 1901 under L. R. Conradi and had a well-established presence in Egypt, it was not an autonomous legal body. When members wanted to get married, they had to seek the paid services of a Coptic or Protestant clergy to marry them as if they were members of those churches.

Through the efforts of Pastor Farouk Rizk’s wife, a lawyer, the government finally granted the Adventist Church the same legal standing as the Coptic, Catholic, and Protestant churches. This legal status meant that Adventist members no longer had to pay to get married in a church that was not their own. In April 1993 Pastor Rizk married the first Adventist couple. After being organized in Egypt for 92 years, the Adventist Church finally obtained the prized marriage license book from the government.23

Adventist Work in the 21st Century

Under the leadership of Field President Llewellyn Edwards, the second decade of the millennium witnessed an improvement in the relationship between the Adventist Church and Egyptian leadership, both political and religious. In July 2012 Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi met with all religious group leaders, including Edwards. In July 2018 Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, along with a delegation from the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENAU) and the Egypt-Sudan Field (ESF), met with government officials from the prime minister’s office.

Each year ESF administrators paid a visit to Ahmad Muhammad AL-Tayyeb, the current Grand Imam of al-Azhar and former president of al-Azhar University, known as “Islam’s most prestigious university,” to wish him well for the year. In October 2012 Ted Wilson accompanied the ESF administrators and was welcomed by Azhar.24

Edwards remembers during his years of leadership the faithfulness of the pastors and church members as they ran outreach campaigns resulting in a number of baptisms. Active preschools flourished in the towns of El-Tataliah (Rizk Saadalla), Zewak (Yassa Musa), and Heliopolis (Alia Khan).

Kleyton Feitosa became the president of ESF in 2014. This year also brought a significant change in the composition of the pastoral team. Three Egyptian pastors immigrated to the United States with their families. However, ESF received back from serving abroad Pastor Johnny Nasrallah and his family.

The students and staff at Nile Union Academy (NUA) were especially blessed with the launch of the Pathfinder club ministry when Pastor Marcos Lima and his wife Ana moved to Cairo as self-supporting missionaries. They made a significant contribution to the social and spiritual growth of the students. The Pathfinder ministry remains strong till today (2020) and has supported many of the youth in their decision to commit their lives to Jesus.25

During July 2014 ESF sponsored a successful youth retreat involving all churches of the Field. Young people from Upper to Lower Egypt gathered together for a time of spiritual revival and fellowship.

ESF embarked on a number of successful partnerships with Adventist institutions and lay-led ministries around the world such as UNASP, Colombia Adventist University, Southern University, Quiet Hour, Instituto Kaleo, et cetera. Each year ESF has benefited greatly from mission groups affiliated with these institutions and ministries. They provide meaningful health, education, and spiritual programs for our members and the community.26

Although Adventist Volunteer Students had been helping for over fifty years, 2015 was the year when the mission of the church was significantly strengthened with the arrival of volunteers from all over the world. They came as Waldensian students, tent makers, AVS workers, and COI directors. Together with the Egyptian members and current church workers, new ministries and initiatives took place in different regions of the field.

The year began with the good news of the purchase of a potential meeting place for church members in Hurghada, one of the most visited cities in Egypt. Two apartments were purchased, but they were denied for the church to meet in them. As of 2020 ESF leaders are still working on purchasing other property for a meeting place. Another accomplishment was the beginning of a new congregation in Ain Shams.

One of the greatest highlights of 2015 was the opportunity to be present at the Cairo International Book Fair. This is the largest and oldest book fair in the Arab world. After being absent for 16 years, ESF organized a booth and sold hundreds of Adventist books to participants. Keys to Happiness distributed 25,000 books free of charge.

Another important ministry that was revived after many years was the Canvassing/Literature ministry. With the assistance of the MENAU Publishing Department, Pastor Ron and Theresa Clark moved to Egypt to lead this ministry. A group of students from NUA embraced the challenge to canvass for six weeks, becoming the first group to canvass in many years. After the summer students continued to take trips outside of the NUA campus to canvass. Two thousand books were sold that summer.

A strong partnership with the South Brazil Union resulted in major renovations at NUA and donations for future dorm, cafeteria, and meeting hall (church) renovations. For the first time in many years NUA sent students to study theology at MEU.27

Urban Centers of Influence in the 21st Century

Urban Centers of Influence providing health education, preschool care, and foreign language instruction have proven successful. Committed Adventist businesspersons, diplomats, and students moving to Egypt from other countries provide another avenue to interact with the population and strengthen the church.

Opened in 2018, the Ramses Cultural Center (RCC) is working to meet a variety of needs in the downtown area of Cairo. The building operates several services for the community, including a preschool for three- to five-year-old children, dental clinic, exercise gym, massage room, English language school, and private office for counseling. The center and Sudanese churches meet on Sabbaths in the main hall, which has seating for up to two hundred eighty people. A demonstration kitchen is available for healthy cooking classes. On July 31, 2018, G. C. President Ted Wilson inaugurated the RCC.28

First created in 2013 to be a healthy life center, the Hope Center is a project located in Maadi, a fairly upscale, middle-class neighborhood in Cairo. It currently offers English and computer classes that aim to expand its influence in the community. The workers at the center have built consistent relationships with middle-class families.

Also established in 2013 in Heliopolis, Cairo, is the Sunshine Preschool. It became a Global Mission funded project in 2015 when it was reorganized to become a center of influence. Since then several families of Christians and Muslims have benefited from an Adventist philosophy of education, healthy lifestyle programs, English classes, and Bible studies.

The Think Green project serves as a bridge between the Adventist Church and what is considered a hostile community in Gabal Asfar, a suburb of Greater Cairo. It was founded in 2015 as a recycling business, as well as an educational center for a healthy lifestyle. The project found favor with the people and local leaders but faced difficulties with the security forces that blocked the way for progress in the recycling program. Nevertheless, the leaders managed to keep the engagement with the community creating a preschool, soccer school, and English classes. In five years the project has changed the general opinion in the community about the Adventists from a distant and disconnected to a loving and caring people.29

The Seventh-day Adventist Health Care Assistance (SDAHCA, meaning friendship in Arabic: صداقة) was created in 2017 to be a support to the Syrian refugee community in Alexandria. The project screens refugee families with members that have chronic diseases or disabilities to assist them in getting medical treatment. The center has developed a network among the Egyptian hospitals and clinics for their support.

As of 2020 both Nile Union Academy and Adventist Private School, Zeitoun, commonly known as Zeitoun Elementary School, are still operational. A primary and secondary school for South Sudanese refugees is also functioning on the site of the old orphanage in Matariah where there are approximately three hundred thirty students attending classes.

Challenges for the 21st Century

Myron Iseminger, currently ESF president, attributes the slow growth of Adventism in Egypt to several factors, beginning with Christians of other denominations being extremely loyal to their respective churches and Muslims not being allowed to convert to Christianity.

Historically the Adventist Church in Egypt grew the most in southern villages, Upper Egypt. Egyptian youth from those villages gravitate toward Cairo to get their high-school education at Nile Union Academy. A large number of graduates choose to transition to Middle East University in Beirut, Lebanon, for their undergraduate studies. The few that return to Egypt are employed as pastors, teachers, and office workers. The majority emigrate to Western countries, with the most going to California, USA, where they thrive in well-paid jobs. A steady exodus of Egyptian Adventists and their families to other countries through the years has left the church in Egypt with a shortage of indigenous workers and national leadership in administration.30

In addition to more trained indigenous Adventist workers, the small Adventist to population ratio in Egypt will necessitate reliance on the world church and Egyptian Adventists living abroad for personnel and financial support for years to come.

Current members of the Adventist Church from Egypt and abroad have committed themselves to mingle with the people of modern Egypt, care for their needs, and will continue to do so as part of their world mission.31

Summary of Superintendents, Directors, and Presidents

W. H. Wakeham (1902-1906); Jay J. Nephery (1907, 1908); W. C. Ising (1909-1911); George Keough (1913, 1914); W. C. Ising (1915-1917); George Keough (1918-1929); Nils Zerne (1931-1937); E. L. Branson (1939-1943); G. M. Krick (1944, 1945); Neal C. Wilson (1945-1950); A. G. Zytkoskee (1951-1954); Neal C. Wilson (1955, 1956); Hilal Doss (1956-1958); C. V. Brauer (1956-1958); Hilmy Berbawy (1958-1960); W. Richard Lesher (1958, 1959); Hilal Doss (1961-1966); Habib Ghali (1967-1975); Lester Rasmussen (1975-1984); R. A. Thompson (1985-1988); Claude Lombart (1989-1995); Jim Neergaard (Act., 1995, 1996); Peter Zarka (1996-2003); Kjell Aune (2004-2006); Samir Berbawy (2006-2009); Llewellyn Edwards (2009-2013); Kleyton Feitosa (2013-2017); Myron Iseminger (2018-Present).


“Afro Mideast.” ARH, September 6, 1979.

“Al-Azhar University in Few Lines.” Al-Azhar University (Online). Accessed September 17, 2020.

“Egypt.” Encyclopedia of Nations (Online). Accessed September 16, 2020.

“Egypt has a long history dating back millennia: Egypt Profile—Timeline.” BBC News, January 7, 2019. Accessed September 16, 2020.

“Egypt Population 2019.” World Population Review. Accessed June 17, 2019,

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Greater Middle East Union Oversight Committee. Silver Spring, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2012.

Hanna, Michael. “Excluded and Unequal: Copts on the Margins of the Egyptian Security State,” The Century Foundation (Online), May 9, 2019. Accessed September 16, 2020.

Lima, Ana Paula. “The Largest Adventist Community Center in Middle East Inaugurated on July 31st.,” Adventist News Network (online), July 31, 2018. Accessed September 16, 2020.

Lombart, Claude. “Towards the Financial Self-Support of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Egypt” [Doctor of Ministry Dissertation]. San Francisco Theological Seminary, May 1, 1994.

Middle East and North Union. “Executive Committee Minutes.” Beirut, Lebanon, Middle East Union, August 26, 2013, 11.

Rebok, D. E. “Plans Laid for a New School in Egypt.” ARH 130, no. 50 (December, 1953).

Scott, Sharlyn. “The History of Religion in Egypt: Ancient, Coptic Christianity and Islam” [PowerPoint Presentation]. N.d.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996. S.v. “United Arab Republic.”

“The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt.” Encyclopedia Coptica (Online), 2011. Accessed September 16, 2020.

Thomas, Jean. “Egyptians Call Camp a ‘Spiritual Feast’.” ARH, September 25, 1980.


  1. This article was written with the research assistance of Claude Lombart, president of Egypt Field (1989-1995).

  2. “Egypt Population 2019,” World Population Review, accessed June 17, 2019,

  3. “Ethnic groups of Eastern Hamitic stock make up about 99% of the population of Egypt; these include Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers. They are a product of the intermixture of ancient Egyptians with the invaders of many millennia from various parts of Asia and Africa. The remaining 1% of the population is made up of minorities, including mainly Nubians, Armenians, Greeks, and other Europeans, primarily Italian and French,” quoted in “Egypt,” Encyclopedia of Nations, accessed September 16, 2020,

  4. “Al-Azhar University in Few Lines,” Al-Azhar University, accessed September 17, 2020,

  5. “The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt,” Encyclopedia Coptica, 2011, accessed September 16, 2020,

  6. “Egypt has a long history dating back millennia: Egypt Profile—Timeline,” BBC News, January 7, 2019, accessed September 16, 2020,

  7. Michael Hanna, “Excluded and Unequal: Copts on the Margins of the Egyptian Security State,” The Century Foundation, May 9, 2019, accessed September 16, 2020,

  8. Sharlyn Scott, “The History of Religion in Egypt: Ancient, Coptic Christianity and Islam” [PowerPoint Presentation], accessed September 16, 2020,

  9. Claude Lombart, “Towards the Financial Self-Support of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Egypt” (Doctor of Ministry Dissertation, San Francisco Theological Seminary, May 1, 1994), 101-103.

  10. Chan, Bertram K.C. “Re: Article on Egypt, Arab Republic of.” Received by Myron Iseminger, January 5, 2020. Email Interview. This is a different font style than the rest of the bibliography, which is locked, thus no comments allowed.

  11. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Greater Middle East Union Oversight Committee Minutes” (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, October 3, 2012), 1.

  12. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 1996 ed., s.v. “United Arab Republic”; D. E. Rebok, “Plans Laid for a New School in Egypt,” ARH 130, no. 50 (December 1953): 24.

  13. Sven H. Jensen, personal knowledge, President of Middle East Union Mission, 1995-2001.

  14. John Hancock, “Youth Camp Held in Egypt Results in Record Baptism,” ARH, September 5, 1968, 32.

  15. Mokhtar Nashed, interviewed by Ranya Maher and Jihan Abdel Said, Cairo, Egypt, February 2019.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Sven H. Jensen, personal knowledge.

  18. Jean Thomas, “Egyptians Call Camp a “Spiritual Feast,” ARH, September 25, 1980, 22-23.

  19. “Afro Mideast,” ARH, September 6, 1979, 20.

  20. Sven H. Jensen, personal knowledge.

  21. Claude Lombart, ESF president 1989 to 1995, email correspondence with Melanie Wixwat, (June 23, 2020).

  22. Sven H. Jensen, personal knowledge.

  23. Ibid.

  24. Llewellyn Edwards, ESF president 2009-2013, email correspondence with Melanie Wixwat, (June 22, 2020).

  25. Kleyton Feitosa, ESF president 2013-2017, email correspondence with Melanie Wixwat, (June 25, 2020).

  26. Ibid.

  27. Ibid.

  28. Candis Iseminger, Education director for ESF, email correspondence with Melanie Wixwat, (June 23, 2020).

  29. Ana Paula Lima, “The Largest Adventist Community Center in Middle East Inaugurated on July 31st.,” Adventist News Network, July 31, 2018, accessed September 16, 2020,

  30. Myron Iseminger, personal knowledge, President of Egypt-Sudan Field, 1918 to present; Secretary of Egypt-Sudan Field, 1996-2001.

  31. Ibid.


Vyhmeister, Shawna, Melanie Riches Wixwat. "Egypt, Arab Republic of." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 02, 2021. Accessed December 04, 2023.

Vyhmeister, Shawna, Melanie Riches Wixwat. "Egypt, Arab Republic of." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 02, 2021. Date of access December 04, 2023,

Vyhmeister, Shawna, Melanie Riches Wixwat (2021, March 02). Egypt, Arab Republic of. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 04, 2023,