The Coptic Orthodox is the oldest church in the world. It was founded by St. Mark the Evangelist, author of the second gospel in Alexandria, Egypt in the year 61 A.D. The word “Copt” means Egyptian. Copts are the native Christians of Egypt and the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians who were converted to Christianity by St. Mark.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, enthroned by the Coptic Orthodox Church on November 18, 2012, is the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. His Holiness was born Waguih Sobhi Baqi Sulayman on November 4, 1952 in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, Egypt. Born to a family with a number of ordained priests, His Holiness began his own religious journey when he started Coptic school in Damanhour. In college, Pope Tawadros studied to be a pharmacist, but after he graduated from Alexandria University’s Faculty of Pharmacy, he decided to dedicate his life to God. In 1983, he graduated from the Coptic Church Clerical College, and over the years he transitioned from being monk, to priest to general bishop, and today pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Even as he moved through the ranks of the church, His Holiness never stopped pursuing formal education getting joint degrees in pharmaceutical engineering, business administration and Christian education. He has also authored 12 books on Christian theology.
First and foremost, the church believes that the Bible is the inspired word of God, to be followed according to the interpretation of the early church fathers. The church upholds all the beliefs stated in the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D., including a belief in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in Jesus Christ who took human flesh, died and rose to save us from sin and death; that in His second coming He will judge all and His Heavenly kingdom will be forever; in one universal, apostolic church and; in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
The church believes in seven sacraments which are mysteries through which the Holy Spirit imparts grace to the believers.
Mark 16:16, John 3:5
Chrismation (gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with oil)
1 John 2:20-27
Repentance and Confession
1 John 1:9, James 5:16, John 20:23
Eucharist or Communion
John 6: 51-58, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31-33
Romans 15:16, 2 Timothy 1:6
Unction of the Sick
The main worship service in the Orthodox Church is the Divine Liturgy celebrating the Eucharist. The liturgy is the story of humanity’s redemption. It is told regularly in order to remind believers of Christ’s work to reconcile the Word to God, so that all may be led to repentance as they partake of His body and blood. The most commonly used liturgy in the Coptic Church was written by St. Basil the Great in the 4th century. The liturgy is always celebrated on Sunday (the Lord’s day), but may also be celebrated on any other day of the week. In addition to the Divine Liturgy, the church holds Bible study meetings, youth meetings and Sunday school classes, for all to learn and grow.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is historically known for its efforts in relieving poverty, sickness, suffering and pain of people. The church’s rich heritage stems from ancient traditions in the fields of literature, education, philosophy as well as the monastic system of welfare, training and mission. The church continues to vibrantly pursue these traditions by implementing various programs and services aimed at providing education, training and medical care to communities facing hardship in order to encourage sustainable development.
The Coptic Church continues to positively impact millions of people throughout the world through ministry, and hopes to continue to expand its mission in order to restore life and human dignity to millions who have not yet known freedom from poverty, illiteracy and disease. Through mission, the church is shining the light of God’s truth and demonstrating God’s great love for each man, woman and child.
Absolutely not. The Kingdom of God is for everyone! Although the Coptic Church was founded in Egypt, today there are hundreds of Orthodox churches all over the world, with millions of members from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Christ never intended for any of His followers to be alone, but rather that they should exist and worship in community with one another forming one body – the church. Do some research, find some reliable books from which you can learn more about the history, faith and worship of the early church.
by the grace of God
by the grace of God
The first Coptic Orthodox Church in Kenya was established in Nairobi, in 1976, and by the grace of God, it has grown tremendously over the years. Today Kenya has 29 churches, shepherded by eight priests and 160 deacons. There are a number of projects and ministries in Kenya including the Coptic Hospital and Hope Center in Nairobi, the Orphans Project, the Street Children's Project, the Theological School and much more.
The Nairobi Parish is served through St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church by Father Michael and Father Moses.
The Tala Parish has three churches served by Father Joseph. There are also two new churches for which buildings have not yet been constructed.
The Nakuru Parish has three churches served by Father Michael. He also serves in Nairobi with Father Moses. Maseno Parish The Maseno Parish has nine churches served by Father Bishoy and Father Elisha.
The first Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanzania was established in Musoma, in 1997. Today, there are two churches in in the Mara province, served by Father Joshua and 12 deacons. The church in Tanzania serves a community of people suffering from leprosy.
The first Coptic Orthodox Church in Zambia was established in Lusaka, in 1987. There are now three churches, a hospital, the Hope Center Infectious Diseases and many other projects. The churches are led by Father Mark and Father Abraham.
The first Coptic Orthodox Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo was established in Lubumbashi, in 1997. Today, there are eight churches served by four Congolese priests: Father Shenouda, Father Angelos, Father Theophilus and Father Paul. There are also 80 deacons supporting the priests. The two main projects in Congo are the widows project and three church-run accredited schools.
The first Coptic Orthodox Church in Nigeria was established in Lagos, in 2005. A new church was established in 2006 in Calabar, where most of the Coptic community live and work. Neither of these churches have permanent buildings yet so the congregation meets and prays in rented spaces until they can build or buy a church. Currently the congregation is led by Father Moses, from Nairobi and five deacons from Nigeria.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on November 4th, 1952 in Mansoura. His father was an irrigation engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour. He received his bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1975 from Alexandria University and earned a fellowship for the World Health Organization from the British International Health Institute in England in 1985. He attended the Coptic Seminary and graduated in 1983. He then worked as a manager in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.
His Holiness's life has always revolved around church since his youth; he wished to live the life of monasticism. He entered the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi Elnatroun on August 20th, 1986 and remained a brother for two years. He was ordained a monk on July 31, 1988 and after a year he was ordained a priest on December 23, 1989. Two months after, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira on February 15th, 1990. He was ordained a bishop on June 15th, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III as a General Bishop assisting H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius. His Holiness focused on childhood whether it was in the country-wide children's festival as well when he was in charge of the children's committee in the Holy Synod. Before assuming the papacy, H.H. wrote twelve books.
His Holiness was enthroned as the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Pope of the See of St. Mark on November 19th, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Reweiss in Abbassiya, Cairo. The enthronement was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira, other metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic church and was attended by many delegates of Christian Churches.
In the 1990s, Pope Shenouda III consecrated Paul (Boulos) as General Bishop of Mission Affairs in East and Central Africa.
Bishop Paul was first a physician, a deacon, and then a priest. He was also tonsured as a hieromonk before he was consecrated as a bishop.
Today, Bishop Paul leads over 50 churches, 2 monasteries, and 1 hospital.