The first Coptic Orthodox convent outside Egypt recently opened in Dawsonville.
The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, last month, purchased the former Southern Catholic College campus, a sprawling 100 acre retreat that houses an 85,000 square foot conference center, a small church, dormitories and a fellowship hall.
Built in 1997, the facilities were originally utilized as a golf resort, then later a college and athletic prep school.
St. Mary and St. Demiana Coptic Convent offers a place for females "to have quiet time and spiritual reflection with our Lord," according to spokeswoman Sandy Naguib.
"It is the residence for those females who want to consecrate their lives whether for worship or for service," she said. "The convent will offer a place for attendees to find peace, serenity, privacy and security as they focus on their fellowship with God."
Established in 48 A.D. in Alexandria, the Coptic Church's first pope was St. Mark, a disciple of Jesus and one of four writers of his gospels.
Since then, the church has ordained bishops, priests and deacons to provide pastoral care for the church.
Under the auspices of H.G. Bishop Youssef, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States includes 37 churches and 31 communities currently.
Two of those churches are in Georgia, St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, both in the Atlanta area.
Coptic communities in Georgia are in Augusta, Macon and Savannah.