Christianity in the Oasis
Dakhleh residents converted from Egyptian-Roman pagan traditions to Christianity in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. according to evidence discovered at the town site at Kellis. The earliest known liturgy is a large fragment from the Acts of St.John found there and three small Kellis churches may be the earliest extant purpose-built churches in the world. A rich archive of wooden texts and papyri details an elaborate hierarchy, including a bishop, priests, deacons and monastic settlements. Smaller settlements, including several churches, scattered across the oasis tell of a wide-spread community.