2010 -- The Year of Valley History -- Northridge100
Icon of Saint George Saving a Virgin - Rancho Cordellera del Norte Northridge - Photograph for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht 2010 (click on image to enlarge)
Important windows to history appear in many forms and in often unusual places. In a small curio room, adjacent to the main theater area at Rancho Cordellera del Norte is a book-sized textile icon of Saint George slaying a dragon demon. The icon appears to be an image produced by Coptic Ethiopians.
While, at present I know of no Ethiopian Coptic community in the San Fernando Valley, handsome Saint Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is located at 5505 West Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles.
On our recent bus tour of historic Northridge, we passed by the impressive new home of Saint Mary and Saint Athanasius Coptic Church at 17431 Roscoe Boulevard (818) 342-4414) that is an American branch of the ancient Christian Church of Alexandria Egypt. I haven't had the honor of visiting this church, but hope to do so as part of the Northridge100 celebration.
Around the year 42, a branch of the Christian Church was established in Alexandria, Egypt. It is commonly believed that the first bishop of this ancient community was the Evangelist Mark (one of the four authors of the New Testament). When the Muslim Caliph Omar conquered Egypt in the early 600s, members of the Coptic church were forcibly converted to Islam or relegated into an impoverished status. Copts are still badly persecuted in Egyptian society.
A major Roman Catholic church in Encino is dedicated to the Coptic Christian Saint Cyril of Alexandria.
If you have stories or artifacts to share about Northridge history and culture, contact your Museum today. 1 (818) 347-9665