Coptic Orthodox Church

The Coptic Orthodox Church (Coptic: Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, romanized: Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit.'the Egyptian Orthodox Church'; Arabic: الكنيسة القبطية الأرثوذكسية, romanized: al-Kanīsa al-Qibṭiyya al-ʾUrṯūḏuksiyya), also known as the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, servicing Africa and the Middle East. The head of the church and the See of Alexandria is the Pope of Alexandria on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Father of fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Ecumenical Judge and the thirteenth among the Apostles. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Coptic Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With approximately 25 million members worldwide, it is the country's largest Christian denomination.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria
ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ (Coptic)
الكنيسة القبطية الأرثوذكسية  (Arabic)
ClassificationEastern Christian
OrientationOriental Orthodox
GovernanceHoly Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church
HeadPope Tawadros II
RegionEgypt, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Middle East, and diaspora
LanguageCoptic, Arabic
LiturgyCoptic Rite
HeadquartersSaint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo, Egypt
FounderSt. Mark the Evangelist (Traditional)
OriginAD 42
Alexandria, Egypt
SeparationsCoptic Catholic Church (1895)
British Orthodox Church (2015)
Members15 million[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
Other name(s)Coptic Church
Coptic Orthodox Church
Official website

According to its tradition, the Coptic Church was established by Saint Mark, an apostle and evangelist, during the middle of the 1st century (c. AD 42).[8] Due to disputes concerning the nature of Christ, the Oriental Orthodox Churches departed from the rest of the Chalcidonians after the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, resulting in a rivalry with the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. In the 4th to 7th centuries, the Coptic Church gradually expanded due to the Christianization of the Aksumite Empire and of two of the three Nubian kingdoms, Nobatia and Alodia, while the third Nubian kingdom, Makuria, recognized the authority of the Coptic Pope after initially being aligned to the State church of the Roman Empire.

After AD 639, Egypt was ruled by its Islamic conquerors from Arabia, and the treatment of the Coptic Christians ranged from tolerance to open persecution. In the 12th century, the church relocated its seat from Alexandria to Cairo. The same century also saw the Copts become a religious minority. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Nubian Christianity was supplanted by Islam. In 1959, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was granted autocephaly. This was extended to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church in 1998 following the successful Eritrean War of Independence from Ethiopia. Since the Arab Spring in 2011, the Copts have been suffering increased religious discrimination and violence.[9]

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