Where is Egypt mentioned in the Bible?
Many events from the Old Testament took place in Egypt. These stories begin with Moses the prophet, where God punished the Egyptian Pharaoh for holding the Hebrew people captives as slaves, for four hundred years (Genesis 15:13, Exodus 12:40-41; 14).
After being betrayed by his brothers, Joseph suffered at the hands of the Egyptians (Genesis 42), before rising to become second in power to the Pharaoh. Some of the Biblical notables who travelled to Egypt include Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20), King Jeroboam of Israel (1 Kings 11:40) and the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 43:5-7). Egypt and/or the Egyptian people were also mentioned in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Nehemiah, Psalms, Isaiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum, Haggai and Zechariah.
Similarly, the land of Egypt is mentioned a number of times in the New Testament. The Holy Family (Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Theotokos Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph) fled from Jerusalem and King Herod to Egypt (The Flight into Egypt; Matthew 2:13-15). Egypt is also mentioned in the book of Acts, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation.
What are the origins of the Coptic Orthodox Church?
The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Christian Church, predominantly based in Egypt, some countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Coptic Church was founded by St. Mark the Apostle and Evangelist in Alexandria, around the middle of the 1st century (c. 42 AD). St. Mark became the first Pope of Alexandria and began to preach the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This later became known as the Holy See of St. Mark. Historians have given the title of ‘Church of the Martyrs’ to the Coptic Church. This is a direct result of the Coptic Christian’s perfect love for Christ, their firm hope and unashamed open practice of worship, in the midst of waves of religious persecution.
How many Major Feasts are there in the Coptic Orthodox Church and what are they?
1. The Annunciation (announcement of the coming of Christ to the Virgin Mary)
2. The Nativity of Christ (Christ’s birth)
3. The Epiphany or the Baptism of Christ
4. Palm Sunday
5. Easter (The Christian Pasch or Passover)
How many Minor Feasts are there in the Coptic Orthodox Church and what are they?
1. The Feast of Christ’s Circumcision
2. The Holy Family’s Entry into Egypt
3. The Feast of Christ’s Transfiguration
4. The Feast of the Wedding at Cana of Galilee (Christ’s first miracle)
5. The Lord Jesus Christ’s Presentation to the Temple
6. Thomas Sunday
7. Covenant (Maundy) Thursday of Holy Week
More about copt
What does the word ‘Copt’ mean?
The English word ‘Copt’ refers to a native Egyptian Christian. ‘Copt’ comes from the New Latin word Coptus, which is derived from the Arabic: qubṭi قبطي. This term is an Arabic version of the Coptic words kubti (Bohairic) and/or kuptaion (Sahidic), derived from the Greek word Αἰγύπτιος (‘aigyptos’) which means, Egyptian (New World Encyclopedia, Copt, 2020).
Which category of Orthodox Christianity does the Coptic church belong to?
The Coptic Orthodox church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches. Sister churches in the Oriental Orthodox family (that are in communion with the Coptic church) include the: Armenian Apostolic church, Eritrean Orthodox church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church, Syriac Orthodox church and the Indian Orthodox church (the Malankara Orthodox Syrian church, Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christian Church).
Does the Coptic church have a Pope?
Yes, the Coptic Orthodox church is headed by a Patriarch. The first Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox church was St. Mark the apostle and evangelist. The current Patriarch of the Coptic church is His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, who was consecrated to this seat in 2012. H.H Pope Tawadros is the 118th Pope of the See of St. Mark of Alexandria. He resides in St. Mark’s cathedral in the Abbassiya in Cairo, Egypt.
Are there ranks of priesthood in the Coptic church?
There are 3 ranks in the Coptic priesthood:
1. Deacons – who help Priests and Bishops in church services.
There are 5 ranks of deacons, that a male member of the Coptic community may be ordained as and grow spiritually:
• Epsaltos – hymnist
• Oghnostos – reader
• Epideacon – subdeacon
• Deacon – full deacon
• Archdeacon – leader of the deacons
2. Priests – there are ranks within the Priesthood:
• Archpriest – hegomen
• Khouri Episcopos – this rank of Priesthood is often considered closer to a Bishopric rank.
3. Bishops – celibate monks, who reside in monasteries or in churches, can later be ordained as Bishops. A Metropolitan is a leader of a group of Bishops, usually in a large city. The Patriarch (Pope) is the highest rank in the church.