The Coptic Church
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the most ancient Churches of the world, founded by Saint Mark the Apostle. The Coptic Orthodox Church is a conservative Church that has carefully preserved the Orthodox Christian Faith in its earliest and purest form, handing it down from generation to generation, unaltered and true to the Apostolic doctrines and patterns of worship.
The Copts are the Egyptian Christians. They are the successors of the ancient Egyptians “The Pharaohs”. They played a vital role in the whole Christian world, especially during the first five centuries. The word ‘Copt’ is derived from `gypt’ which stems from the Greek word Aigyptos’ meaning `Egyptian’.
The Coptic Church or the Church of Alexandria is called “See of St. Mark”, one of the earliest sees: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome. The Coptic Church is headed by the Pope of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda III, the 117th successor of St. Mark.
The church faith is based on the teachings of Saint Mark the Evangelist, one of the seventy disciples, and the writer of one of the four Gospels, who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a few years after the Lord’s Ascension. When Saint Mark entered and walked through the streets of Alexandria, a famous city in Egypt, his sandals were torn. While Ananias the cobbler was mending Saint Mark’s shoes, his finger was cut from the awl and he cried out: “O the one God!” Saint Mark healed the cobbler’s finger and spoke to him about who the “One God” really was. Ananias invited Saint Mark to his home where he and his household were baptized after having professed their belief in the Christian Faith. Soon afterwards, many others believed and Ananias’s house became the meeting place for the faithful people.
In 62 AD, Saint Mark decided to leave Egypt to visit the new believers he had preached in the Pentapolis. Before leaving, he ordained Ananias as bishop. He also founded a church in the Crypt where the Holy Family had taken refuge, thus fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah: “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border… Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day” (Isaiah 19:19,21).
The Coptic Orthodox Statement of Faith: “The Nicene Creed”
We believe in one God, God the Father, the Almighty, Who created heaven and earth, and all things, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us, men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnated of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens; and sat at the right hand of His Father, and also He is coming again in His glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom has no end.
Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who, with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke in the prophets. And in one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the coming age. Amen.