The Coptic Orthodox Church


The Coptic Orthodox Church

“The Coptic Orthodox Christian Church is an Apostolic Church founded in the first century by St. Mark the Apostle and Evangelist. One of the oldest Christian churches in the world, the Coptic Orthodox Church has made a contribution of great significance to Christendom. From its origins in what is now Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church played an important role in the development of Christian monasticism beginning in the fourth century, in the foundation of significant biblical exegetical traditions, and in Christological formulations. Some of the Church’s important theological contributions were made by the catechetical school of Alexandria and the development of Coptic Orthodox Christianity under Arab rule (beginning in the seventh century).

The Coptic Orthodox Church is a Trinitarian Church which believes in the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — as one God. The Church proclaims that our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, was incarnate and born of the Holy Virgin Saint Mary (Theotokos, or Mother of God), who died for us on the Cross in order to free us from slavery to sin and death and thereby granting us Salvation. On the third day, our Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead that He might grant us everlasting life with Him. He ascended to the heavens after forty days, and sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples, as He promised them, on the day of Pentecost.

The Orthodox Church grounds herself in the following sources of tradition: Holy Scripture (the Bible); Liturgical Life; the Creeds and Canons produced by the Ecumenical councils; the Writings of the Church Fathers and Lives of Saints; and Church Art (e.g. iconography, architecture, music).

The Coptic Church is a sacramental church, recognizing that the life of the Orthodox Christian is a mystical one grounded in the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church. Her foremost Mysteries (Sacraments) are: Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, the Holy Eucharist (Communion), Marriage, Priesthood, and Holy Unction or the Anointing of the Sick.

Being a living and organic body, the Coptic Orthodox Church has of course changed over the centuries with regards to language, culture, and certain ritual practices, however, despite centuries of turmoil and periods of persecution, she has preserved the Holy Faith in terms of its dogmatic and theological teachings as it has been handed down from Christ to His holy Disciples and Apostles and throughout the ages.”

-Via St. Basil American Coptic Orthodox Church

List Of Beliefs Of The Orthodox Church

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.

Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The fundamental truth of the Orthodox Church is the faith revealed in the True God: the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  The Orthodox Church believes that God is one in substance and Triune in three Persons or Hypostases.

GOD THE FATHER is the fountainhead of the Holy Trinity. The Scriptures reveal that the one God is Three Persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-eternally sharing the one divine nature. From the Father the Son is begotten before all ages and all time (Psalm 2:7; 2 Corinthians 11:31). It is also from the Father that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds (John 15:26). Through Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, we come to know the Father (Matthew 11:27). God the Father created all things through the Son, in the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1; 2; John 1:3; Job 33:4), and we are called to worship Him (John 4:23). The Father loves us and sent His Son to give us everlasting life (John 3:16).

JESUS CHRIST is the Second Person of the Trin­ity, eternally born of the Father. He became a man, and thus He is at once fully God and fully man. His coming to earth was foretold in the Old Testament by the Prophets. Because Jesus Christ is at the heart of Chris­tianity, the Orthodox Church has given more attention to knowing Him than to anything or anyone else.

THE HOLY SPIRIT is one of the Persons of the Trinity and is one in essence with the Father. Orthodox Christians repeatedly confess, "And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. . ." He is called the "Promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4), given by Christ as a gift to the Church, to empower the Church for service to God (Acts 1:8), to place God's love in our hearts (Romans 5:5), and to impart spiritual gifts (1 Corin­thians 12:7-13) and virtues (Galatians 5:22, 23) for Christian life and witness. Orthodox Christians be­lieve the biblical promise that the Holy Spirit is given in chrismation (anointing) at baptism (Acts 2:38). We are to grow in our experience of the Holy Spirit for the rest of our lives.

SALVATION is the divine gift through which men and women are delivered from sin and death, united to Christ, and brought into His eternal King­dom. Those who heard Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost asked what they must do to be saved. He answered, "Repent, and let every one of you be bap­tized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Salvation begins with these three "steps": 1) repent, 2) be baptized, and 3) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To repent means to change our mind about how we have been, turning from our sin and committing ourselves to Christ. To be baptized means to be born again by being joined into union with Christ. And to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit means to receive the Spirit who empowers us to enter a new life in Christ, be nurtured in the Church, and be con­formed to God's image.

Salvation demands faith in Jesus Christ. People cannot save themselves by their own good works. Salvation is "faith working through love." It is an ongoing, lifelong process. Salvation is past tense in that, through the death and Resurrection of Christ, we have been saved. It is present tense, for we must also be being saved by our active participation through faith in our union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is also future tense, for we must yet be saved at His glorious Second Coming.

The most awesome ceremony in the Orthodox Church is the Mysterion (sacrament) of the Holy Eucharist. This ceremony was instituted by Jesus Christ the day before His Crucifixion, as He enriched His Church forever with the Divine Gifts, His own Body and Blood. This ceremony of the Holy Eucharist is both His sacrifice for the salvation of man and a sacred mysterion. The Holy Eucharist is the seal of the proclamation of the communion with God. It is the only Sacrament offered by the Church in which the elements of bread and wine not only carry the Grace of God, as a mysterion, but are "changed" into and "are" the very Body and the very Blood of Christ, being a propitiatory sacrifice.

MARRIAGE in the Orthodox Church is forever. It is not reduced to an exchange of vows or the establish­ment of a legal contract between the bride and groom. On the contrary, it is God joining a man and a woman into "one flesh" in a sense similar to the Church being joined to Christ (Ephesians 5:31, 32). The success of marriage cannot depend on mutual human promises, but on the promises and blessing of God. In the Ortho­dox marriage ceremony, the bride and groom offer their lives to Christ and to each other—literally as crowned martyrs.

The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex. The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.

ABORTION is the termination of a pregnancy by taking the life of the baby before it comes to full term. The Scriptures teach, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13). When an unborn child is aborted, a human being is killed. For the Christian, all children, born or unborn, are precious in God's sight and a gift from Him. Even in the rare case in which a choice must be made between the life of the child and the life of the mother, decision making must be based upon the recognition that the lives of two human persons are at stake.