Coptic Church

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Coptic Church

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

"Copt" comes from the Greek word Aigyptos. This, in turn, comes from Hikaptah, one of the names for Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt.

The Coptic Church traces its roots to Saint Mark, who is said to have brought Christianity to Egypt twelve years after Jesus' ascension. The Copts believe they are the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 19:19: "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."

When Alexandria became a major presence in early Christianity, the Coptic Church was recognized as a center for learning. Much of currently accepted theology was hammered out there in the writings of major, foundation-building church theologians such as Origen and Augustine, the favorite of the Protestant Reformers.

Copts pride themselves as the ones who hosted the Holy Family when they were forced to flee Palestine after the birth of Jesus (see Christ/Jesus of Nazareth). The Nicene Creed, a statement of faith used in many churches to this day, was created under its tutelage. The Catechetical School of Alexandria, probably the oldest such school in the world, was founded there in 190 CE. Monasticism was born in Egypt when the Desert Fathers retreated there to pray, meditate, and contemplate. Saint Anthony, the world's first Christian monk, was a Coptic priest from Upper Egypt.

The prophet Muhammad was said to have had such respect for the Coptic Church that he warned his warriors to tread lightly in Egypt, "for they are your protégés and kith and kin." Because of this, Muslim scholars saved much of what otherwise might have been lost when European Christianity quite literally fanned the flames that led to the burning of the Alexandrian library.

Ever since the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE, the Copts have been independent of European Christianity. At that council, as at other ecumenical councils, Church bishops met to settle matters of doctrine and practice—in this case, to address the heretical notion that Christ had only one nature rather than two. Here there is great disagreement. Church historians tend to argue, as did the fifth-century council, that Copts are monophysites—that is, believing that Christ had only one (divine) nature rather than, as the council determined, two natures, divine and human.

The Coptic Church insists they were misunderstood at that council. Their position is that Christ had two perfect natures, but that those natures were joined in one called "the nature of the incarnate word." They believe their expulsion was due to European bigotry; they claim the Europeans wanted to isolate and finally abolish the Egyptians, who had their own Pope and who were insisting church and state should be separate.

Although centered in Egypt, the Coptic Church has congregations scattered around the world. Some nine million Copts live in Egypt, almost one-fifth of the population. Although they practice many of the same sacraments and feast days of Roman Catholicism, they no doubt hold the record for serious fasting. Out of 365 days in the year, Copts fast for 210 of them, allowing no food or drink to be consumed between sunrise and sunset.

References in periodicals archive ?
The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, led mourning for the victims.
5) The Coptic Church serves the community as a whole through the
A spokesman for the Anglican Diocese said: "The proposed closure of the church of St Paul's Stoneycroft, and subsequent lease and sale to the Egyptian Coptic church, has been properly consulted upon within the diocese, and the process is now in the hands of Church Commissioners in London.
The new head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was appointed as Pope during an official religious ceremony at St.
The new pope of Egypt's Orthodox Coptic church has been enthroned.
Bishop Raphael, a 54-year-old former aide to the late Pope, Bishop Tawadros, a 60-year-old auxiliary bishop to the acting head of the Coptic Church and a monk from Alexandria, Father Raphael Ava Mina, aged 70, are the names from which the new pope will be chosen.
Senior officials of the Coptic Church maintain that the travel ban is still in effect, telling Egyptian media that anyone who violates the restriction will be punished.
For which Sadat ultimately deposed and exiled the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III to the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in the Nitrian Desert.
Christian clergy assured that the attacks on the Coptic church would be seen as an attack on all churches.
The Administrative Court is currently presiding over a lawsuit which accuses the Coptic Church of kidnapping Shehata following her alleged conversion to Islam.
He was referring to the January 1 bombing at the Coptic Church of the Saints in Alexandria that killed 21 Coptic Christians and left 100 injured.
During the siege in October, the ISI said on its website that assault was in response to actions by the Coptic Church in Cairo, where the wives of two priests escaped their marriages but were returned to church protection.