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 term “Orthodoxy” here refers to the preservation of the “original faith” by the Copts who, throughout the ages, defended the Old Creed against the numerous attacks.
The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that 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.
The Copts are proud of the apostolicity of their Church, whose founder is St. Mark; one of the seventy Apostles (Mk 10:10), and one of the four Evangelists. He is regarded by the Coptic hierarchy as the first of their unbroken 117 Patriarchs, and also the first of a stream of Egyptian martyrs.
This apostolicity was not only furnished on grounds of its foundation but rather by the persistence of the Church in observing the same faith received by the Apostle and his successors, the Holy Fathers.
His Apostolic acts
St. Mark was a broad-minded Apostle. His ministry was quite productive and covered large field of activities. These include:
- Preaching in Egypt, Pentapolis, Judea, Asia Minor, and Italy during which time he ordained Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
- Establishing the “School of Alexandria” which defended Christianity against philosophical school of Alexandria and conceived a large number of great Fathers.
- Writing the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist which was modified later by St. Cyril to the Divine Liturgy known today as the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril.
Referenced from suscopts.org