Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

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					Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and of All Africa

                                            Founder       The Apostle and Evangelist Mark

                                            Independence Apostolic Era

                                            Recognition   Orthodox

                                            Primate       H.H. Pope and Patriarch Shenouda III

                                            Headquarters Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt

                                            Territory                                  Pentapolis
                                                          Egypt, Nubia, Sudan, Western Pentapolis,
           Coptic Orthodox Cross                          Libya and All Africa
      Reads: Jesus Christ, the Son of God

                                  ,                                               Zealand,
Middle East, Canada, Great Britain, Western Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand
Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean Islands

                                Arabic                                             ,
Coptic, Greek, Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, English, French, German, Swahili, Afrikaans, and several other
African languages

~15.4 million total (~11,000,000 in Egypt + 350,000 - 400,000 in East, Central and South Africa
(Native Africans) + ~4,000,000 Abroad (Diaspora)

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Egyptian Orthodox Church) is the official name for the
largest Christian church in Egypt. The Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches,
which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a
different position over Christological theology from that of the Eastern Orthodox and Western
churches, then still in union. The precise differences in theology that caused the split are still
                                        co                                  .
disputed, highly technical and mainly concerned with the nature of Christ. The foundational roots of
the Church are based in Egypt but it has a worldwide following.

According to tradition the Coptic Orthodox Church is the Church of Alexandria which was established
by Saint Mark the apostle and evangelist in the middle of the 1st century (approximately AD 42).[1]
The head of the church and the See of Alexandria is the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa
                              ,                                                    Christians
on the Holy See of Saint Mark, currently Pope Shenouda III. Around 95% of Egypt's Christia belong
to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, though other churches also claim Patriarchates and
Patriarchs of Alexandria; among them:

    •   The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
    •   The Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria
    •   The Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem

    1 History
             1.1 Apostolic foundation
             1.2 Contributions to Christianity
                       1.2.1 The Catechetical School of Alexandria
                       1.2.2 The cradle of monasticism and its missionary work
             1.3 Role and participation in the Ecumenical Councils
                       1.3.1 Council of Nicea
                       1.3.2 Council of Constantinople
                       1.3.3 Council of Ephesus
                       1.3.4 Council of Chalcedon
             1.4 From Chalcedon to the Arab conquest of Egypt
             1.5 Muslim conquest of Egypt
             1.6 From the 19th century to the 1952 revolution
             1.7 Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
    2 Present day
    3 Coptic Orthodox churches around the world
    4 Official titles of the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa
             4.1 Episcopal titles
             4.2 Honorary titles
             4.3 Historical evolution of the ecclesiastical title
    5 Jurisdiction outside of Egypt
             5.1 Administrative divisions of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria
             5.2 The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria
    6 Cathedrals
    7 Monasteries
    8 See also
    9 References
    10 External links
    11 Bibliography

Apostolic foundation

Egypt is identified in the Bible as the place of refuge that the Holy Family sought in its flight[3] from
Judea: "When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
and was there until the death of Herod the Great, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Matthew 2:12-23).

The Egyptian Church, which is now more than nineteen centuries old, regards itself as the subject of
many prophecies in the Old Testament. Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says "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

The first Christians in Egypt were common people who spoke Egyptian Coptic [4], there were also
Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus,[citation needed] whom Saint Luke the Evangelist addresses in the
introductory chapter of his gospel. When the church was founded by Saint Mark[5] during the reign
of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews)
embraced the Christian faith.[4]

Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is
clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the
year AD 200, and a fragment of the Gospel of John, written in Coptic, which was found in Upper
Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century. In the second century, Christianity
began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely

The Catechetical School of Alexandria

The Catechetical School of Alexandria is the oldest catechetical school in the world. St. Jerome
records that the Christian School of Alexandria was founded by St. Mark himself.[6] Around AD 190
under the leadership of the scholar Pantanaeus, the school of Alexandria became an important
institution of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras,
Clement, Didymus, and the native Egyptian Origen, who was considered the father of theology and
who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical studies. Origen wrote over
6,000 commentaries of the Bible in addition to his famous Hexapla.

Many scholars such as Jerome visited the school of Alexandria to exchange ideas and to
communicate directly with its scholars. The scope of this school was not limited to theological
subjects; science, mathematics and humanities were also taught there. The question-and-answer
method of commentary began there, and fifteen centuries before Braille, wood-carving techniques
were in use there by blind scholars to read and write.

The Theological college of the catechetical school of Alexandria was re-established in 1893. The new
school currently has campuses in Alexandria, Cairo, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, where Coptic
priests-to-be and other qualified men and women are taught among other subjects Christian
theology, history, Coptic language and art - including chanting, music, iconography, and tapestry.

The cradle of monasticism and its missionary work

Many Egyptian Christians went to the desert during the 3rd century, and remained there to pray and
work and dedicate their lives to seclusion and worship of God. This was the beginning of the
monastic movement, which was organized by Anthony the Great, Saint Paul, the world's first
anchorite, Saint Macarius the Great and Saint Pachomius the Cenobite in the 4th century.

Christian Monasticism was born in Egypt and was instrumental in the formation of the Coptic
Orthodox Church character of submission, simplicity and humility, thanks to the teachings and
writings of the Great Fathers of Egypt's Deserts. By the end of the fifth century, there were hundreds
of monasteries, and thousands of cells and caves scattered throughout the Egyptian desert. A great
number of these monasteries are still flourishing and have new vocations to this day.

All Christian monasticism stems, either directly or indirectly, from the Egyptian example: Saint Basil
the Great Archbishop of Ceasaria of Cappadocia, founder and organizer of the monastic movement
in Asia Minor, visited Egypt around AD 357 and his rule is followed by the Eastern Orthodox
Churches; Saint Jerome who translated the Bible into Latin, came to Egypt, while en route to

Jerusalem, around AD 400 and left details of his experiences in his letters; Benedict founded the
Benedictine Order in the sixth century on the model of Saint Pachomius, but in a stricter form.
Countless pilgrims have visited the "Desert Fathers" to emulate their spiritual, disciplined lives.

Role and participation in the Ecumenical Councils

Council of Nicea

In the 4th century, an Alexandrian presbyter named Arius began a theological dispute about the
nature of Christ that spread throughout the Christian world and is now known as Arianism (not to be
confused with the racist Nazi ideology Aryanism). The Ecumenical Council of Nicea AD 325 was
convened by Constantine under the presidency of Saint Hosius of Cordova and Saint Alexander of
Alexandria to resolve the dispute and eventually led to the formulation of the Symbol of Faith, also
known as the Nicene Creed. The Creed, which is now recited throughout the Christian world, was
based largely on the teaching put forth by a man who eventually would become Saint Athanasius of
Alexandria, the chief opponent of Arius.

Council of Constantinople

In the year AD 381, Saint Timothy I of Alexandria presided over the second ecumenical council
known as the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, which completed the Nicene Creed with this
confirmation of the divinity of the Holy Spirit:

        "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who
        with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified who spoke by the Prophets and in
        One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins
        and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the coming age, Amen."

Council of Ephesus

                                       Coptic Icon in the
                                       Coptic Altar of the
                                       Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

Another theological dispute in the 5th century occurred over the teachings of Nestorius, the
Patriarch of Constantinople who taught that God the Word was not hypostatically joined with
human nature, but rather dwelt in the man Jesus. As a consequence of this, he denied the title
"Mother of God" (Theotokos) to the Virgin Mary, declaring her instead to be "Mother of Christ"

When reports of this reached the Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark, Pope Saint Cyril I of Alexandria
acted quickly to correct this breach with orthodoxy, requesting that Nestorius repent. When he
would not, the Synod of Alexandria met in an emergency session and a unanimous agreement was
reached. Pope Cyril I of Alexandria, supported by the entire See, sent a letter to Nestorius known as
"The Third Epistle of Saint Cyril to Nestorius." This epistle drew heavily on the established Patristic
Constitutions and contained the most famous article of Alexandrian Orthodoxy: "The Twelve
Anathemas of Saint Cyril." In these anathemas, Cyril excommunicated anyone who followed the

teachings of Nestorius. For example, "Anyone who dares to deny the Holy Virgin the title Theotokos
is Anathema!" Nestorius however, still would not repent and so this led to the convening of the First
Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), over which Cyril I of Alexandria presided.

The First Ecumenical Council of Ephesus confirmed the teachings of Saint Athanasius and confirmed
the title of Mary as "Mother of God". It also clearly stated that anyone who separated Christ into
two hypostases was anathema, as Athanasius had said that there is "One Nature and One Hypostasis
for God the Word Incarnate" (Mia Physis tou Theou Loghou Sesarkomeni). Also, the introduction to
the creed was formulated as follows:

         "We magnify you O Mother of the True Light and we glorify you O saint and Mother of God
         (Theotokos) for you have borne unto us the Saviour of the world. Glory to you O our Master
         and King: Christ, the pride of the Apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the rejoicing of the
         righteous, firmness of the churches and the forgiveness of sins. We proclaim the Holy Trinity
         in One Godhead: we worship Him, we glorify Him, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord
         bless us, Amen." [not dissimilar to the "Axion Estin" Chant still used in Orthodoxy]

Council of Chalcedon

St. Mark Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria

When in AD 451, Emperor Marcianus attempted to heal divisions in the Church, the response of
Pope Dioscorus – the Pope of Alexandria who was later exiled – was that the emperor should not
intervene in the affairs of the Church. It was at Chalcedon that the emperor, through the Imperial
delegates, enforced harsh disciplinary measures against Pope Dioscorus in response to his boldness.

The Council of Chalcedon , from the perspective of the Alexandrine Christology, has deviated from
the approved Cyrillian terminology and declared that Christ was one hypostasis in two natures.
However, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, "Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and of
the Virgin Mary," thus the foundation of the definition according to the Non-Chalcedonian adherents,
according to the Christology of Cyril of Alexandria is valid. There is a change in the Non-Chalcedonian
definition here, as the Nicene creed clearly uses the terms "of", rather than "in".

In terms of Christology, the Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonians) understanding is that Christ is
"One Nature--the Logos Incarnate," of the full humanity and full divinity. The Chalcedonians'
understanding is that Christ is in two natures, full humanity and full divinity. Just as humans are of

their mothers and fathers and not in their mothers and fathers, so too is the nature of Christ
according to Oriental Orthodoxy. If Christ is in full humanity and in full divinity, then He is separate in
two persons as the Nestorians teach.[7] This is the doctrinal perception that makes the apparent
difference which separated the Oriental Orthodox from the Eastern Orthodox.

The Council's findings were rejected by many of the Christians on the fringes of the Byzantine Empire,
including Egyptians, Syrians, Armenians, and others.

From that point onward, Alexandria would have two patriarchs: the non-Chalcedonian native
Egyptian one, now known as the Coptic Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy
Apostolic See of St. Mark and the "Melkite" or Imperial Patriarch, now known as the Greek Orthodox
Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa.[8]

Almost the entire Egyptian population rejected the terms of the Council of Chalcedon and remained
faithful to the native Egyptian Church (now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria).
Those who supported the Chalcedonian definition remained in communion with the other leading
churches of Rome and Constantinople. The non-Chalcedonian party became what is today called the
Oriental Orthodox Church.

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria regards itself as having been misunderstood at the
Council of Chalcedon. There was an opinion in the Church that viewed that perhaps the Council
understood the Church of Alexandria correctly, but wanted to curtail the existing power of the
Alexandrine Hierarch, especially after the events that happened several years before at
Constantinople from Pope Theophilus of Alexandria towards Patriarch John Chrysostom and the
unfortunate turnouts of the Second Council of Ephesus in AD 449, where Eutichus misled Pope
Dioscorus and the Council in confessing the Orthodox Faith in writing and then renouncing it after
the Council, which in turn, had upset Rome, especially that the Tome which was sent was not read
during the Council sessions.

To make thing even worse, the Tome of Pope Leo of Rome was, according to the Alexandria School
of Theology, particularly in regards to the definition of Christology, considered influenced by
Nestorian heretical teachings. So, due to the above mentioned, especially in the consecutive
sequences of events, the Hierarchs of Alexandria were considered holding too much of power from
one hand, and on the other hand, due to the conflict of the Schools of Theology, an inpass was to be
and there was a scape goat, i.e. Pope Dioscorus. The Tome of Leo has been widely accused
(surprisingly by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars) in the past 50 years as a much less
than perfect orthodox theological doctrine.

It is also to be noted that by anathemizing Pope Leo, because of the tone and content of his Tome,
as per Alexandrine Theology perception, Pope Dioscorus was found guilty of doing so, without due
process, in other words, the Tome of Leo was not a subject of heresy in the first place, but it was a
question of questioning the reasons behind not having it either acknowledged or read at the Second
Council of Ephesus in AD 449. Pope Dioscorus of Alexandria was never labeled as heretic by the
council's canons.

Copts also believe that the Pope of Alexandria was forcibly prevented from attending the third
congregation of the council from which he was ousted, apparently the result of a conspiracy tailored
by the Roman delegates.[9]

Before the current positive era of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox dialogues, Chalcedonians
sometimes used to call the non-Chalcedonians "monophysites", though the Coptic Orthodox Church

in reality regards monophysitism as a heresy. The Chalcedonian doctrine in turn came to be known
as "dyophysite".

A term that comes closer to Coptic Orthodoxy is miaphysite, which refers to a conjoined nature for
Christ, both human and divine, united indivisibly in the Incarnate Logos. The Coptic Orthodox Church
of Alexandria believes that Christ is perfect in His divinity, and He is perfect in His humanity, but His
divinity and His humanity were united in one nature called "the nature of the incarnate word", which
was reiterated by Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

Copts, thus, believe in two natures "human" and "divine" that are united in one hypostasis "without
mingling, without confusion, and without alteration". These two natures "did not separate for a
moment or the twinkling of an eye" (Coptic Liturgy of Saint Basil of Caesarea).

From Chalcedon to the Arab conquest of Egypt

Copts suffered under the rule of the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire. The Melkite Patriarchs,
appointed by the emperors as both spiritual leaders and civil governors, massacred the Egyptian
population whom they considered heretics. Many Egyptians were tortured and martyred to accept
the terms of Chalcedon, but Egyptians remained loyal to the faith of their fathers and to the Cyrillian
view of Christology. One of the most renowned Egyptian saints of that period is Saint Samuel the

Muslim conquest of Egypt

The Muslim conquest of Egypt took place in AD 639. Despite the political upheaval, the Egyptian
population remained mainly Christian. However, the gradual conversions to Islam over the centuries
changed Egypt from a Christian to a largely Muslim country by the end of the 12th century.[10]

This process was sped along by persecutions during and following the reign of the Fatimid caliph Al-
Hakim bi-Amr Allah (reigned AD 996–1021) and the Crusades, and also by the acceptance of Arabic
as a liturgical language by the Pope of Alexandria Gabriel ibn-Turaik.[11]

During Islamic rule, the Copts needed to pay a special tax called the jizya in order to be defended by
Muslim armies, as non-Muslims were not allowed to serve in the army. This tax was abolished in

From the 19th century to the 1952 revolution

The position of the Copts began to improve early in the 19th century under the stability and
tolerance of Muhammad Ali's dynasty. The Coptic community ceased to be regarded by the state as
an administrative unit and, by 1855, the main mark of Copts' inferiority, the Jizya tax, was lifted.
Shortly thereafter, Christians started to serve in the Egyptian army. The 1919 revolution in Egypt, the
first grassroots display of Egyptian identity in centuries, stands as a witness to the homogeneity of
Egypt's modern society with both its Muslim and Christian components.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

In 1959, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic
Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa Cyril VI.

Present day
The current Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of
Saint Mark is Pope Shenouda III.

There are about 10 to 15 million Coptic Orthodox Christians in the world: they are found primarily in
Egypt under the jurisdiction of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (roughly 8-15
million).[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] There are also significant numbers in the diaspora in countries
such as the United States of America, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Sudan. The number
of Coptic Orthodox Christians in the diaspora is roughly 2 million.[23] In addition, there are between
350,000 and 400,000 native African adherents in East, Central and South Africa. Although under the
jurisdiction of the Coptic Orthodox Church, these adherents are not considered Copts, since they are
not ethnic Egyptians. Some accounts regard members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
(roughly 45 million),[24] the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (roughly 2.5 million), as members of
the Coptic Orthodox Church. This is however a misnomer, since both the Ethiopian and the Eritrean
Churches, although daughter churches of the Church of Alexandria, are currently autocephalous
churches. In 1959, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was granted its first own Patriarch by
Pope Cyril VI. Furthermore, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church similarly became independent of
the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church in 1994, when four bishops were consecrated by Pope Shenouda III
of Alexandria to form the basis of a local Holy Synod of the Eritrean Church. In 1998, the Eritrean
Church gained its autocephelacy from the Coptic Orthodox Church when its first Patriarch was
enthroned by Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.

These three churches remain in full communion with each other and with the other Oriental
Orthodox churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo
Church do acknowledge the Honorary Supremacy of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria,
since the Church of Alexandria is technically their Mother Church. Upon their selection, both
Patriarchs (Ethiopian & Eritrean) must receive the approval and communion from the Holy Synod of
the Apostolic See of Alexandria before their enthronement.

In addition to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria whose adherents make up around 90% of
Egypt's total Christian population.[13][20] The country also includes Christian minorities that belong
other Christian denominations, which are:

    •    The Coptic Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has around 162,000 members in
         Egypt[25][26] and roughly 50,000 adherents abroad. It is headed by the Coptic Catholic
         Patriarch of Alexandria.
    •    The Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile) (a Protestant church) has between
         around 140,000 members out of 200,000[21] Protestants in Egypt.
    •    The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria (an Eastern Orthodox Church) has around
         350,000[21] adherents in Egypt, out of whom approximately 45,000 are of Greek descent. The
         Church has another 1.5 million adherents in Africa, out of whom approximately 175,000 to
         200,000 of Greek descent and the rest are native African converts (1.3 million). There are
         also between 10,000 and 15,000 ex-patriates in Europe, North and South America. The
         current Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria is Pope Theodoros II.[27]
    •    The Melkite Greek Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has around 7,000[21]
         members in Egypt. The eparchy of Egypt is looked after by a Protosyncellus, and has
         between 15,000 and 20,000 ex-patriates in Europe, North and South America, and Australia.
    •    The Armenian Apostolic Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church) has around 7,000[21]
         adherents in Egypt. Most of them follow the Holy See of Echmiadzin in Armenia, rather than
         the Holy See of Cilicia in Lebanon.

    •   The Roman Catholic Church has has around 500,000 adherents in Egypt. See Wiki link [4]
        Most are citizens born in Egypt but of foreign descent, like Italians, Maltese and French, or
        members of the foreign Diplomatic Corps in Egypt. There are very few native Christian
        Egyptians who adhere to the Roman Catholic Church, and those who do (several hundreds)
        do so mainly through marriage.
    •   The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East (a Protestant Church known in Egypt
        as the Anglican Church) has between 10,000 and 15,000 members in Egypt.
    •   The Maronite Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has has around 5,000[21] adherents in
    •   The Armenian Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has around 1,200[21] adherents in
    •   The Chaldean Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has around 500[21] members in
    •   The Syriac Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church) has has around 2,000[21] adherents in
    •   The Syriac Orthodox Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church) has a very small population in
        Egypt, numbering between 450 and 500. Most are students of the Catechetical School of
        Alexandria, or foreign students studying in Egyptian Universities.

Since the 1980s theologians from the Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) Orthodox and Eastern
(Chalcedonian) Orthodox churches have been meeting in a bid to resolve theological differences,
and have concluded that many of the differences are caused by the two groups using different
terminology to describe the same thing (see Agreed Official Statements on Christology with the
Eastern Orthodox Churches).

In the summer of 2001, the Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria
agreed[28] to mutually recognize baptisms performed in each other's churches, making re-baptisms
unnecessary, and to recognize the sacrament of marriage as celebrated by the other. Previously, if a
Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox wanted to marry, the marriage had to be performed twice,
once in each church, for it to be recognized by both. Now it can be done in only one church and be
recognized by both.

According to Christian Tradition and Canon Law, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria only
ordains men, and if they wish to be married, they must be married before they are ordained. In this
respect they follow the same practices as does the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Traditionally, the Coptic language was used in church services, and the scriptures were written in the
Coptic alphabet. However, due to the Arabisation of Egypt, service in churches started to witness
increased use of Arabic, while preaching is done entirely in Arabic. Native languages are used, in
conjunction with Coptic and Arabic, during services outside of Egypt.

Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January (Gregorian Calendar), which
coincides with the 25th of December according to the Julian Calendar. The Coptic Orthodox Church
uses the Julian Calendar as its Ecclesiastical Calendar. It is known as the Coptic calendar or the
Alexandrian Calendar. This calendar is in turn based on the old Egyptian calendar of Ancient Egypt.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is thus considered an Old Calendrist Church. Christmas according to the
Coptic calendar was adopted as an official national holiday in Egypt since 2002.

Coptic Orthodox churches around the world
There are several Coptic Orthodox churches and institutions in Egypt and abroad:

   •   Africa: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Africa

   •   Asia: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Asia

   •   Australia and Oceania: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia

   •   Europe: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Europe
          o Britain: see British Orthodox Church (autonomous)
          o France: see French Coptic Orthodox Church (autonomous)

   •   North America: see Coptic Orthodox Church in North America
          o United States: see Coptic Orthodox Church in the United States
          o Canada: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada
          o Mexico: see Coptic Orthodox Church in Mexico

   •   South America see Coptic Orthodox Church in South America

Official titles of the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa
Episcopal titles

Main article: Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

   •   The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is known as Pope of Alexandria and
       Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle.
   •   His full title is Pope and Lord Archbishop of the Great City of Alexandria and Patriarch of All
       Africa on the Holy Orthodox and Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark the Evangelist and Holy
       Apostle that is, in Egypt, Pentapolis, Libya, Nubia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and all Africa.
   •   The Successor of St. Mark the Evangelist, Holy Apostle and Martyr, on the Holy Apostolic
       Throne of the Great City of Alexandria.
   •   Pope of Alexandria, being the Diocesan Bishop of the Great and Ancient Metropolis of
       Alexandria, that is in Alexandria and the metropolitan province of Greater Cairo.
   •   Elder Metropolitan Archbishop of the Egyptian Province.
   •   Primate of Egypt, Pentapolis, Libya, Nubia and Sudan.
   •   Patriarch of All Africa.
   •   Father of Fathers.
   •   Shepherd of Shepherds.
   •   Hierarch of all Hierarchs.

Honorary titles

   •   The Dean of the Great Catechetical School of Theology of Alexandria.
   •   The Ecumenical (Universal) Judge (Arbitrator) of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic (Universal)
   •   The Thirteenth among the Holy Apostles.
   •   The Pillar and Defender of the Holy, Catholic (Universal), Apostolic Church and of the
       Orthodox Doctrine.

Historical evolution of the ecclesiastical title

The Bishop of Alexandria was first known just as the Bishop of Alexandria. It continued to be so, until
the Church grew within and all over the Egyptian Province, and many Bishops were consecrated for
the newly founded parishes all over the towns and cities.

The Bishop of Alexandria, being the successor of the first Bishop in Egypt consecrated by Saint Mark,
was honored by the other Bishops, as first among equals "Primus inter Pares,". This was in addition
to the appropriate honorary dignity, which was due by virtue of being the Senior Bishop of the main
Metropolis of the Province, Alexandria, which also the Capital and the main Port of the Province.
This honor was bestowed by making the Senior Bishop an “Archbishop,” thus presiding in dignity of
honor over all the Alexandrine and Egyptian Bishops.

The appellation of “Pope” has been attributed to the Bishop of Alexandria since the Episcopate of
Heraclas, the thirteenth Bishop of Alexandria. All the clergy of Alexandria and Lower Egypt honored
him with the appellation “Papas,” which means “Our Father,” as the Senior and Elder Bishop among
all bishops, within the Egyptian Province, who are under his jurisdiction. This is because Alexandria
was the Capital of the Province, and the preaching center and the place of martyrdom of Saint Mark
the Evangelist and Apostle.

The title “Patriarch” means the Head or the Leader of a Tribe or a Community. Ecclesiastically it
means the Head of the Fathers (Bishops) and their congregation of faithful. This title is historically
known as “Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa on the Holy Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark the
Evangelist,” that is “of Alexandria and of all Africa.” The title of “Patriarch” was first used around the
time of the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, convened in AD 431, and ratified at Chalcedon in
AD 451.

It is to be noted that only the Patriarch of Alexandria has the double title of Pope and Patriarch
among the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox Thrones.

Jurisdiction outside of Egypt
Besides Egypt, the Church of Alexandria has jurisdiction over Pentapolis, Libya, Nubia, Sudan,
Ethiopia, Eritrea and all Africa.

Both the Patriarchate of Addis Ababa & all Ethiopia and the Patriarchate of Asmara & all Eritrea do
acknowledge the supremacy of honor & dignity of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria on the basis
that both Patriarchates were established by the Throne of Alexandria and that they have their roots
in the Apostolic Church of Alexandria, and acknowledge that Saint Mark the Apostle is the founder of
their Churches through the heritage and Apostolic evangelization of the Fathers of Alexandria.

In other words, the Patriarchate of Addis Ababa & all Ethiopia and the Patriarchate of Asmara & all
Eritrea are daughter Churches of the Holy Apostolic Patriarchate of Alexandria.

In addition to the above, the countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Congo,
Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Malawi, Angola, Namibia and South Africa are under the
jurisdiction and the evangelization of the Throne of Alexandria. It is still expanding in the vast
continent of Africa.

Administrative divisions of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria

    •   9 Metropolises with 9 metropolitans, including 1 Metropolitan outside Egypt.

    •   58 Dioceses in Egypt and outside Egypt with 56 Diocesan Bishops, including 13 Diocesan
        Bishops outside Egypt and 2 in Sudan plus 2 Bishops shepherding a particular flock {the
        Eritreans} in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, while 3 Dioceses remain
    •   12 Auxiliary Bishops (1 in a Diocese in France, 3 in Dioceses in Egypt and 8 assistants to H.H.
        the Pope in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cairo, which is directly under the responsibility
        of H.H. the Pope)
    •   5 Patriarchal Exarchs (2 In the Archdiocese of North America, 1 in the United Kingdom and 2
        in East and South Africa)
    •   10 Bishop Abbots of Patriarchal Monasteries, plus 3 Monasteries awaiting the nomination of
        its Bishop Abbot.
    •   6 General Bishops, including 3 Bishops heading Patriarchal Institutions, 2 Bishops Secretaries
        of H.H. the Pope and 1 General Bishop without portfolios.
    •   1 Chorbishop.
    •   1 Grand Economos, Patriarchal Exarchs for Alexandria.

A Coptic Orthodox Church in Amman, Jordan

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria is headed by the Patriarch of
Alexandria and the members are the Metropolitans, Bishops, Chorbishops and Patriarchal Vicars of
the Church of Alexandria.

For the list of the members of the Holy Synod and their official titles see main article The Holy Synod
of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria

    •   Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral
    •   Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria)
    •   Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Azbakeya)

  •   Monastery of Saint Anthony
  •   Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great
  •   Monastery of Saint Mina
  •   Paromeos Monastery
  •   Monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite
  •   Monastery of Saint Pishoy
  •   Red Monastery
  •   Syrian Monastery
  •   White Monastery
  •   Monastery of Saint Fana

  1. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, the author of Ecclesiastical History in the fourth century, states that st.
      Mark came to Egypt in the first or third year of the reign of Emperor Claudius, i.e. 41 or 43 A.D.
      "Two Thousand years of Coptic Christianity" Otto F.A. Meinardus p28.
  2. ^ ""Who are the Christians in the Middle East?"". Betty Jane Bailey. June 18, 2009.
  3. ^ Holy Family in Egypt
  4. ^ a b Early church missionary
  5. ^ New world encyclopedia
  6. ^ Coptic Church .net
  7. ^ Split of the Byzantine and Oriental Churches.
  8. ^ Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria.
  9. ^ Romanides, John S. Leo of Rome's Support of Theodoret.
  10. ^ Kamil, Jill (1997). Coptic Egypt: History and Guide. Cairo: American University in Cairo.
  11. ^ Kamil, op cit.
  12. ^ "Egypt from “The World Factbook”". American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). September 4,
  13. ^ a b "Egypt from “U.S. Department of State/Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs”". United States
      Department of State. September 30, 2008.
  14. ^ "”The Copts and Their Political Implications in Egypt”". Washington Institute for Near East
      Policy. October 25, 2005.
  15. ^ IPS News (retrieved 09-27-2008)
  16. ^ [1]. The Washington Post. "Estimates of the size of Egypt's Christian population vary from the
      low government figures of 6 to 7 million to the 12 million reported by some Christian leaders.
      The actual numbers may be in the 9 to 9.5 million range, out of an Egyptian population of more
      than 60 million." Retrieved 10-10-2008
  17. ^ [2]. The New York Times. Retrieved 10-10-2008.
  18. ^ [3] The Christian Post. Accessed 28 September 2008.
  19. ^ NLG Solutions <Online>. Egypt. Accessed 28 September 2008.
  20. ^ a b "Egypt from “Foreign and Commonwealth Office”". Foreign and Commonwealth Office -UK
      Ministry of Foreign Affairs. August 15, 2008.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Egypt Religions & Peoples from “LOOKLEX Encyclopedia”". LookLex Ltd..
      September 30, 2008.
  22. ^ "Egypt from “msn encarta”". Encarta. September 30, 2008.

  23. ^ Los Angeles Times, EGYPT: Coptic diaspora spreads the word, June 24 2008
  24. ^ WCC official visit to Ethiopia World Council of Churches - News Release. 21 September 2005.
      Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  25. ^
  26. ^ CNEWA – The Coptic Catholic Church
  27. ^ Pope Theodoros II
  28. ^ Official Statements on Christology.

  •   The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text. R. H.
      Charles (translator). Evolution Publishing. 2007-02-28. ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9.
  •   Meinardus, Otto (2002-10-01). Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity. Cairo: American
      University in Cairo Press. ISBN 9774247574.
  •   Partrick, Theodore (June 1996). Traditional Egyptian Christianity: A History of the Coptic
      Orthodox Church. Greensboro, NC: Fisher Park Press. ISBN 0965239608.
  •   Butcher, E. L. (1897) (in Arabic). Story of the Church of Egypt (text file ed.). London: Smith,
      Elder & Co.. ISBN 0837076102.
  •   Iskandar, Adel; Hakem Rustom (January 2006). "From Paris to Cairo: Resistance of the
      Unacculturated". The Ambassadors Online Magazine. Retrieved 2007-06-09.


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