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The one thing everyone should know about Coptic Christians

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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
4/10/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Who are the Coptic Christians?

This weekend, terrorists attacked Coptic Christians in Egypt, killing 43 people during Palm Sunday services in Alexandria and Tanta. Who are these people?

There are 9 million Coptic Christians in Egypt.

There are 9 million Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/10/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Coptic, Christian, Egypt, Muslim, persecution


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Christianity has a long history in Egypt. The faith was introduced to Egypt by the Apostle Mark. At that time, Egypt was a Roman province. When the Roman Empire became Christian, Catholic to be precise, Alexandria became the capital of Christendom in Egypt.

The early Christians flourished in Egypt, building monasteries and churches. At one time, there were hundreds of monasteries in the country.


Around 451 AD, a schism in the Church resulted in a split between the Coptic faith and the mainstream Christian Church. The division was technical and remains the subject of dispute, centered on the nature of Christ.

However, the Church remained in relative communion with the Orthodox faith, and today it enjoys a close association with both the Orthodox faith and the Catholic Church.

Persecutions of the Coptic Church occurred in the fifth century, and again when Islam arrived in 639 AD. Over the next six hundred years, the nation would slowly convert to Islam making the Copts into a minority.

Today, Coptic Christians number about 9 million souls in Egypt and 1 million across the rest of the world. The head of their Church is the Pope of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II.

Persecutions of Coptic Christians have always been present, although most Muslims coexist peacefully with their Christian neighbors. The rise of ISIS and other Islamic hard-line sects have caused new problems for Coptic Christians. Problems include difficulty building churches, vandalism, and outright acts of terrorism.

Coptic Christians continue to struggle for survival in a country that is now passive aggressive, to outright hostile. Still, there are acts of mercy of solidarity between Muslims and Coptic Christians. Muslims have previously surrounded Coptic gatherings to protect the people from those who would threaten them with violence.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about Coptic Christians is that they are the same as anyone else. They have hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They suffer and die the same too. They are people like any other; the only difference is they have a personal belief that varies from others.

We have much more in common with Coptic Christians than we have different. Embracing this commonality is key to peaceful coexistence.


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