Coptic Orthodox

National Christian church of predominantly Muslim Egypt. Egyptians before the Arab conquest of the 7th century identified themselves and their language as Aigyptios in Greek (Westernized as Copt) and later when Egyptian Muslims stopped calling themselves Aigyptioi, the term became the distinctive name of the Christian minority. Since the 5th century these Christians have been Monophysites, meaning that they acknowledge only one nature in Christ.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
8933
Names
Coptic
Coptic Orthodox
Coptic Orthodox Church
Coptic Church
koptisch Dutch
Copto Spanish
Egyptian Church
Parent Topics

More Definitions

Oriental Orthodox Christian religion of predominantly Muslim Egypt. Egyptians before the Arab conquest of the 7th century identified themselves and their language as Aigyptios in Greek (Westernized as Copt) and later when Egyptian Muslims stopped calling themselves Aigyptioi, the term became the distinctive name of the Christian minority. Since the 5th century these Christians have been Monophysites, meaning that they acknowledge only one nature in Christ. Apart from the Monophysite question, the Coptic and the Eastern Orthodox churches agree regarding doctrine. Services are almost entirely conducted in Arabic and the service books, using the liturgies attributed to St. Mark, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, are written in Coptic (the Bohairic dialect of Alexandria), with the Arabic text in parallel columns. After the 1890s the church devised a democratic system of government, led by the patriarch who lives in Cairo. Outside of Egypt, there are a few Coptic Orthodox churches in the Holy Land and a Coptic bishopric in Khartoum, Sudan. The Ethiopian, Armenian, and Syrian Jacobite churches are in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church. There is an impressive body of Coptic religious art and the church is known for its vital system of schools. There are over three million Copts and, although a minority, are well represented in Egyptian professional life. Copts have suffered and continue to suffer occasional persecution. With reference specifically to the Early Medieval period in Egypt, use "Coptic (period)."

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300022022. The J. Paul Getty Trust.