Tunisia (Arabic: تونس - tunis, Berber: Tunes), officially the Tunisian Republic, is a country in the northwestern part of Africa in an area called Maghreb whose indigenous population had been Berber. Tunisia is bordered in the West by Algeria and in the East by Libya. In ancient times it was the site of the Phoenician city of Carthage that became part of the Roman province of Africa and a center of Orthodox Christianity.
Carthage entered history in the centuries before Christ as a rival of the emerging city-state of Rome. After the area was conquered by Rome, it was colonized by Roman settlers. As Christianity spread into the area in the first and second centuries, the Roman settlers and Romanized Berbers became Christians and the region became a center of Latin-speaking Orthodoxy under the Bishop and later Pope of Rome and produced such prominent Orthodox Christians as the writer Tertullian, the martyred Bishop Cyprian of Carthage, the righteous Monica, and her son the Blessed Bishop Augustine of Hippo.
During these early centuries the area was also shaken by various heresies and schisms. In the fifth century, the invading Vandals brought Arianism which created tensions between the Roman settlers and native Berbers. By the late seventh century, these tensions became welcoming sore points for the invading Muslim Arabs as the dissident Berbers gradually accepted Islam and the Latin-speaking people began migrating to Europe. By the end of the eleventh century, Christianity had virtually disappeared in the area that came to be known as Tunisia. Islam became the religion of Tunisia
During the past century or so, especially during the time of the French protectorate, an influx of European settlers entered Tunisia, bringing with them an enlarged, but still minor, Christian presence. The constitution of Tunisia, while making Islam the official state religion, establishes a guarantee of freedom to practice one's religion, although conversions by Muslims are disallowed.
Tunisia is within the jurisdiction of the Church of Alexandria, represented in the person of the metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Carthage, Alexios (Leontaritis). There are three Greek Orthodox and two Russian Orthodox parishes in Tunisia. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria also maintains jurisdiction in Tunisia.
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