the coptic church.

does anyone know anything about this church? i hear they have their own pope and believe in the sacraments but that’s about it.

I believe there is a Coptic Rite in the Catholic Church. There is also a Coptic Orthodox Chruch which is not in union with Rome. It is similar to the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

1st century: According to their own traditions, the Egyptian church is formed by the evangelist Mark. This is not supported by historians, who believe that it started in the Jewish community in Alexandria. But there are no sources to how Christianity came along in Egypt.
3rd century: Ascetic Christians began forming small independent or eremitc communities out in the desert. From this developed cenobitic or communal monastery system.
4th and 5th centuries: Strong controversies within the church in the 4th and 5th centuries on the question of the quality of Jesus: man or God? One or two natures, human and/or divine? (See Arianism and Council of Nicaea).
451: A large group of the Egyptian Christians do not accept the decrees of Chalcedon this year. Their contention was that Jesus did not have two natures, but one divine nature which manifested itself in the flesh (monophysis). What resulted was the Monophysite (one nature) party, and it was this group that developed into the church now known as Coptic.
641: Because of lack of support from the Christian leaders of the Byzantine Empire, the Egyptian Christians put up little resistance to prevent the Arab Muslim invasion.
7th and 8th centuries: The number of Christians in Egypt begins to decline, largely due to conversions to Islam.
9th century: Muslims outnumber Christians in Egypt.
1443: A Coptic delegation signs an agreement creating a union between its church and the Roman, Cantate Domino, at the Council of Florence. But this attempt was not supported by Coptic leaders in Egypt, so none of the plans are realized.
1741: The bishop of Jerusalem Athanasius becomes a Catholic, and converts his bishopric of 2,000 adherents, into a Catholic one. Still his church would retain much of its character and independence. Athanasius would later return to the Orthodox branch, but the Catholic congregation was continued. From this comes the Coptic Catholic Church, which now has 210,000 adherents in Egypt.
1971: 48 year old Shenouda 3 is elected Pope of Alexandria. He is still the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
1981: Pope Shenouda 3 is placed under house arrest by President Sadat.
1985: Shenouda is allowed to return to office.
1997: A wave of attacks on Copts by militant Islamists.

© Copyright 1996-2007 LexicOrient. All rights reserved
By: Tore Kjeilen

The Coptic Orthodox Church:
Yes, they have there own pope, the Pope of Alexandria, who sits in the Chair of St.Mark (I may be mistaken on this; it may be the Ethiopian Orthodox Church).
They include the Book of Enoch in their canon, and they have an interesting way of depicting their icons, different than Eastern Orthodox icons. They share some similaries with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The Coptic Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church (That is, they split off as a result of the Council of Chalcedon), ruled by the Patriarch of Alexandria, who is the Apostolic descendent of St. Mark. He is called “pope,” but not in the same sense as the Roman Pontiff. In the Early Church, many Patriarchs and upper-level leaders were called “popes,” which means “father.” In fact, the Latin Pope was rather late in using this title.

The Copts were accused of monophytism, but they reject those terms. They prefer “miaphytism” which measn that Christ had both a human and Divine element.\

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church used to be part of the Coptic Church was but rather recently granted Autocephelously (the right to choose its own patriarch and run itself), although they remain in communion. This is pretty much the same as when the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople granted autocephalousy to the Greek and Russian national orthodox churches.

I am in the middle of completing a rather huge project that details all of the splits and breaks in what was once the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church into the schisms and divisions we see today (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East).

It is interesting to see how these divisions largely occured along the lines of the old Patriarchates.

I was actually priveledged enough to speak with the Coptic Bishop of Southern California, to whom i was introduced by a COptic Deacon who I know. He presented an extremely well-done lecture on the Lords Prayer, and stressed its importance to the Christian Church. I was there for their prayer session, and afterwards I was lucky enough to be able to ask him some questions on issues of faith. He was very welcoming of me as a Roman Catholic, and offered me some blessed bread. His answers lead me to belive that when it comes to both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, our differences are more political and an issue of bad translations and misunderstandings than very much differences in our faiths.

Hope that Helped.

Here’s some interesting links, just in case.

Wikipedia Article:

Video clips of a Coptic Divine Liturgy:

And the full text of the Liturgy (note the similarity of the consecration):

I’ll just add a cultural note: they are the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians, and their language, Coptic, is to the language of the Hieroglyphics as Italian is to Latin.

Yes they have their own pope,the title pope was first used by them but not to assert primacy over the other churches as the catholic church did later.

Their church was founded by st.mark,they were part of the universal church before it split headed by the patraich of alexandria most dogmas e.g creed and those in the 1st and 3rd councils were announced by them.

Many of its members are saints and martyrs its called the church of the martyrs.monasticsm started there and the rosary also orginated there but called prayer rope by the easterners.

As for the word coptic which means egyptians ,so egyptian orthodox,like greek orthodox.

they belong to oriental orthodoxy to diff between the eastern orthodox which are both now theolgically the same but split form following a misunderstanding in 451 AD at the council of chalcedon with terminolgy that was misinterperted.

They fast the most days of any church 210 days a year,they have 3 hr masses on noraml sunday and do the full 6 hr mass on special occasions.

they made the date for easter and the first theological college was started there

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