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, who preached around 40-68 AD and who wrote one of the four canonical gospels. One of the oldest Christian churches in the world, the Coptic Orthodox Church has made contributions of great significance to Christendom. From its origins in ancient Egypt (the word "Coptic" comes from the ancient Greek word "aigyptos", meaning "Egyptian"), the Coptic Orthodox Church played an important role in early Christian theological learning, in the development of Christian monasticism beginning in the fourth century, and in the defense during Ecumenical Councils of certain Christological formulations. The Coptic Church is also recognized as having suffered one of the most violent waves of persecution in Christian history, leading to the martyrdom of a great number of Coptic Christians. Such persecution continues in the modern Middle East to this day.
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), and died for us on the Cross in order to free us from slavery to sin and death, 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.