The Coptic Church is recognized as having suffered one of the most violent waves of persecution in Christian history. Persecution during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305) is considered by the Copts as the age of persecutions and resulted in the discontinuation of a 5000 year old tradition of beginning a new calendar with each ruler (example: Year 1 of the reign of Ramses II). So profound was the impact of Diocletian, that the Copts erased his name from the Calendar and renamed their calendar “Calendar of Martyrs” (Anno Martyri), where the first year of the calendar 1 A.M. (Anno Martyri) was 284 A.D., the year Diocletian began his reign. The calendar continues to this day and is used for Church services.

“Adapated from St. Abanoub Coptic Orthodox Church”