THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE ORIGINAL EGYPTIANS:
The word “Coptic” is of a linguistic origin from the Greek word “ Aigyptos” which means “Egyptian”. The modern use of the term “Coptic” describes Egyptians Christians, as well as the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language script. The Coptic lineage in Egypt includes the Pharaonic ancestry and the people that marvelously built the ancient temples and pyramids.
The Arab conquest of Egypt (639—642 A.D.), some 20 years only after the rise of Islam and Arabism. The Original culture of the nation was suppressed and made illegal. Many of the people continued their adherence to Coptic Christianity despite the special tax extracted from “infidels”. Eventually, the settling of colonists from Arabia, economic struggles and persecution of the original Egyptians, dwindled the Coptic Christians down to the present day 17% of the population … about 14 million. The Greek and Coptic languages went out of use, and Arabic became the predominant language.
The only trace of the ancient Pharaonic people is in the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The original language of Egypt.. Coptic .. is used only in the Divine Liturgies of the Church.
In the latter part of the 20th century, the Muslim dominated government changed the official name of Egypt to the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The Coptic Orthodox Church feels the responsibility and takes pride in preserving our magnificent Pharaonic roots and keeping alive the heritage of one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations in the world.
THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
Egypt has the distinction of being the only country visited by the Holy Family. Moreover it is a fulfillment of the prophecy, “out of Egypt I have called My Son” (Hosea 11:1 & Matthew 2:15)
When the baby Jesus fled the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem, He came to Egypt with St. Mary & Joseph to seek refuge. Church tradition has it that wherever the Holy Family went, the stone idols tumbled. It is believed that the Holy Family remained in Egypt between three to four years.
St. Mark the Evangelist, in his journeys to Egypt, established the Coptic Orthodox Church (originally known as the Church of Alexandria) in the year 48 A.D. Egypt has the distinction of being the first country to be fully converted to Christianity. St. Mark was the first Pope of the Church and since that time, the succession of the Coptic patriarchs, bishops, priests and deacons has been continuous.
Through the Church of Alexandria, Egypt became the world’s leader in the Christian faith for about 450 years. The majority of the principles and dogmas of Christianity had their origin and definition from Egypt, with the teachings being expressed through the academia of the first Theological School in the world; in Alexandria.
The Central faith is in the Redeeming Act of the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Resurrection from the dead. The Coptic Church affirms Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation (Chrismation), Confession, Holy Eucharist (communion), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders and Unction of the sick.
In the Holy Eucharist, the belief is in the True Presence of our Lord—True Body and True Blood.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is in communion with the Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, British Orthodox and Indian Orthodox Churches. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches of Australia and other regional, national & local Christian ecumenical bodies.