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What in the World is the Coptic Orthodox Church?

How long has this church been around?

The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the world. It was founded by St. Mark the Evangelist and author of the second gospel, in Alexandria, Egypt, in the mid-first century.

What does "Coptic" mean?

The term "Copt" means Egyptian. Copts are the native Christians of Egypt and the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians who were converted to Christianity by St. Mark.

Do you have to be Egyptian or Greek to join the Orthodox Church?

Come on! The Kingdom of God is "equal opportunity"! Although the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded in Egypt, today there are hundreds of Orthodox Churches all over the world, with millions of members from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Why should I come to the Coptic Orthodox Church (or any church, for that matter)?

Christ never intended that any of His followers should be on his of her own, but that they should exist and worship in communion, community and fellowship with one another, forming one body - the Church.

Today in an age where new and strange teachings pop-up everyday, claiming to be the truth, it is refreshing to find a church that has remained genuine and true to the faith and spirituality of the early church, as established by Christ and handed down to the apostles and church fathers. This is a church whose teachings one can trust.

But how can I be sure?

Check out some reliable books in the history, faith and worship of the early church! You will find that they match that of the Orthodox today.

So what does the Coptic Orthodox Church believe, anyway?

First and foremost, the church believes that the Bible is the inspired word of God, to be followed according to the interpretation of the early church fathers.

The church upholds all the beliefs stated in the Nicene Creed (of 325 A.D.): One God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Christ who took human flesh, died and rose to save us from sin and death and in His second coming He will judge all and His Heavenly Kingdom will be forever; one universal and apostolic church and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

In addition, the church believes in seven sacraments, which are mysteries through which the Holy Spirit imparts grace to the believers.

These sacraments are:

  • Baptism
    (Mark 16:16; John 3:5);
  • Chrismation
    (anointing of the oil; 1 John 2:20, 27);
  • Repentance & Confession
    (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; John 20:23);
  • Eucharist
    (communion; John 6:51-58; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29);
  • Matrimony
    (Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31-33);
  • Priesthood
    (Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:6);
  • Unction of the Sick
    (James 5:14-15).

What are Orthodox Services like?

The main worship service in the Orthodox Church is the Divine Liturgy, celebrating the Eucharist. The liturgy is basically the story of humanity's redemption. It is told regularly in order to remind the believers of Christ's work to reconcile the world to God, so that all may be led to repentance as they partake of His Body and Blood. The most commonly used liturgy in the Coptic Church was written by St. Basil the Great, in the fourth century. The liturgy is always celebrated on Sunday (the Lord's Day), but may also be celebrated on any day of the week.

In addition, to the Divine Liturgy, the church holds Bible study meetings, youth meetings and Sunday School classes, for all to learn and grow.

How can I get more information?

To experience the spirituality of the Orthodox Church first-hand, the invitation is extended to all to "come and see"! To speak to a Coptic Orthodox priest, receive literature about the Orthodox Church, or inquire about the location of the Coptic Orthodox Church nearest you, at: Nihov's Coptic Directory

For additional resources, please visit: www.suscopts.org/coptic-orthodox/church/

For a schedule of all the Services at the church of Archangel Michael & St. Tekla, click here.