The Church believes in the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit and that they are equal to each other in one unity. We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world. Fewer changes have taken place in the Coptic Church than in any other church in both ritual and doctrine aspects. Additionally, the succession of the Coptic Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests and Deacons has been continuous.
Daily experiences that each member of the church has to live.
Dogmas to the Coptic Orthodox Church are not merely theological concepts concerning God, man, church, eternal life, heavenly creatures, and demons to be discussed among Clergymen, Scholars and Laymen. Dogmas are daily experiences that each member of the church has to live. Thus we conceive of our redemption, and our membership of the church, a deep understanding of the Holy Bible, an acceptance of the Kingdom of God within our souls, a communion with the heavenly creatures and the experience of eternal life.
The Church is not merely a school involved in research and teaching dogmas, but an institution that worships God and serves mankind. It works for the transformation and the renewal of this world, and hopefully awaits the world to come.
Dogmas interpret our whole philosophy through practice of our faith through holy tradition (the holy scriptures, worship, behavior, and preaching). All these elements represent different aspects of the one inseparable church life.
Dogmas in fact are mirrors of the holy scriptures. They explain the holy scriptures and attract men to enjoy its spirit. They correlate to our ascetic attitude.
The early Alexandrian theologians and clergymen were true ascetics and as a result asceticism still strongly affects our theology. This is not by denying the needs of our bodies, as some scholars charge, but by insisting on the solitariological aspect. The early Coptic ascetics were involved in enjoying the redeeming deeds of the Holy Trinity, e.g. enjoying the sanctification of the soul, mind, body, and gifts through communion with the Father in His Son through the Holy Spirit.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Apostolic Church because it is a living extension of the apostolic church without deviation.
The Coptic Church was established in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by St. Mark the Evangelist in the city of Alexandria around 43 A.D. The church adheres to the Nicene Creed.
St. Athanasius (296-373 A.D.), the twentieth Pope of the Coptic Church, effectively defended the Doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Divinity at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. His affirmation of the doctrine earned him the title “Father of Orthodoxy” and St. Athanasius “the Apostolic”.
The term “Coptic” is derived from the Greek “Aigyptos” meaning “Egyptian”. When the Arabs arrived in Egypt in the seventh century, they called the Egyptians “qibt”. Thus the Arabic word “qibt” came to mean both “Egyptians” and “Christians”.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Apostolic Church because it is a living extension of the apostolic church without deviation. The Coptic Church is sometimes accused of exaggerated conservatism and refusal of concessions; however, the church is not stagnant or stolid but faithful and conservative, preserving the apostolic life, and desiring to offer the gift of faith in all its aspects throughout the ages.
Coptic Church, Part I
Coptic Church, Part II: Birth of the Church
Coptic Church, Part III: The Birth of the Church
St. Mark was an African native of Jewish parents who belonged to the Levites’ tribe. His family lived in Cyrenaica until they were attacked by barbarians, and lost their property. Consequently, they moved to Jerusalem with their child John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37). He was given a good education and became conversant in both Greek and Latin in addition to Hebrew. His family was highly religious and in close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
His cousin was St. Barnabas and his father’s cousin was St. Peter. His mother, Mary, played an important part in the early days of the Church in Jerusalem. The upper room in her house became the first Christian church in the world where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself instituted the Holy Eucharist (Mk 14:12-26). Also, this is the same place where the Lord appeared to the disciples after His resurrection and His Holy Spirit came upon them.
Young Mark was always associated with the Lord, who chose him as one of the seventy. He is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures in a number of events related with the Lord. For example, he was present at the wedding of Cana of Galilee, and was the man who had been carrying the jar when the two disciples went to prepare a place for the celebration of the Passover (Mk 14:13-14; Lk 22:11).