The Coptic Church

February 17, 2015

Coptic Orthodox Church

The Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III, bearded gentleman in red and gold robe, with head bowed as if in prayer Pope Shenouda III during a 2007 visit to New York. Photo: Michael Sleman ©

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian Church in Egypt, where it has between 6 and 11 million members.

While most Copts live in Egypt, the Church has around a million members outside Egypt; there are over 100 churches in the USA and a cathedral in the UK.

Copts believe that their Church dates back to around 50 AD, when the Apostle Mark is said to have visited Egypt. Mark is regarded as the first Pope of Alexandria. This makes it one of the earliest Christian groups outside the Holy Land.

The early Church suffered persecution under the Roman Empire, and there were intermittent persecutions after Egypt became a Muslim country.

Modern Copts claim that they are still disadvantaged and play a lesser part in Egyptian public life than their numbers justify. There are still occasional violent clashes between Copts and Muslims.

Firsts for the Coptic Church include the first specifically Christian educational establishment in the School of Alexandria and the start of Christian monasticism.

15.2. 2015   Twenty one Coptic Egyptian  workers beheaded by Moslem  criminals in Libya

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