The Coptic Church more formally known as The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and was founded by the Apostle and Evangelist Mark. The church became independent during the Apostolic era.
It is the largest Christian Church in Egypt.
It is recognized as an Oriental Orthodox religion with the primate being Pope and Patriarch Shenouda III. It has been a distinct body since AD 451 when it took a different opinion of the nature of Christ than the Eastern Orthodox and Western churches.
It is headquartered in Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt and has members in Egypt, Nubia, Sudan, Western Pentapolis, Libya and Africa.
There are approximately 15 million adherents.
According to tradition the Coptic Orthodox Church is the Church of Alexandria which was established by Saint Mark the apostle and evangelist in the middle of the 1st century (approximately AD 42).
The head of the church and the See of Alexandria is the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa and the Holy See of Saint Mark, currently Pope Shenouda III.
Approximately 95% of Egypt's Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The first Christians in Egypt were common people who spoke Egyptian Coptic and there were also Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus, whom Saint Luke the Evangelist addresses in the introductory chapter of his gospel.
When the church was founded by Saint Mark during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews) embraced the Christian faith.
Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt. They date around the year AD 200.
In the second century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely Coptic.
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