Who are Coptic Christians?

Posted on September 30, 2012

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September 30, 2012. (Romereports.com)

Many early Christian communities settled in Egypt. But 16 centuries ago, there was a separation. From that division came the Coptic Church. It follows the religious tradition that was practiced by the descendants of Egyptian pharaos.

During the tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome, speakers talked about the historical legacy of these Christians.

ALBERTO CAMPLANI
International Congress of Coptic Studies
“It’s one of the churches that separated from the Roman and Byzantine Church in Century V and VI century. Currently the Coptic Church is very strong, even though historically the majority of the population became Muslim.”

Today, the Copts are an autonomous Christian community with a patriarch as its spiritual leader. The last patriarch, Shenouda III died on March 2012. In the month of December his successor could be elected.

There is also a Coptic minority that returned to the Catholic Church.

ALBERTO CAMPLANI
International Congress of Coptic Studies
“There is still a strong core of Coptic Christians in Egypt that remains true to the Christian faith and the forms of Christianity that emerged in the fifth century. There are Copts who have returned to the Byzantine Church or the Catholic Church, but they are very small groups.”

Even though Coptic Christians have suffered persecutions in Egypt at the hands of Islamic extremists, their history reflects a good relationship with Muslims.

ALBERTO CAMPLANI
International Congress of Coptic Studies
“Historically there has been a type of concordance between the Muslim and Christians in Egypt, which came about in the last phase of the colonial liberation in the country.”

Among their strong traditions is that their liturgy is celebrated in Coptic, Arabic and even a few words in Greek. Just one of several traditions that has survived throughout the centuries.

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