Dear God, please guide us in our ecumenical
efforts with the Coptic Orthodox Church.
May we all be one some day. +
Here is background information about this Christian church. The picture is of their current Pope.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt was founded by St. Mark, the Apostle. It is the official name of the largest Christian church in Egypt. The term "Copts" is the same as the word, "Egyptians." "Coptic" is used to distinguish Christian Egyptians from Muslim natives in that country. The Coptic Orthodox are Oriental Orthodox, who have been its own entity since the Council of Chalcedon which was held in 451 AD. At that time, they split off due to their different views on the nature of Christ. Was He all human? all Divine? both human and divine? human and divine as a mix or as two separate natures in one body?
"In terms of Christology, the Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian [and Copts]) understand that Christ is 'One Nature--the Logos Incarnate,' of the full humanity and full divinity. The Chalcedonians' [and therefore Roman Catholic] understand that Christ is in two natures, full humanity and full divinity." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coptic_Orthodox_Church_of_Alexandria
Another significant difference between the Copts and the Roman Catholics stems from our conflicting beliefs about the Pope's role in the Church. We believe the Pope, who is a successor of Peter who was the first Pope, has a special primacy or authority and is elevated in dignity above all Popes and Patriarchs in other Christian sects. We believe he is the Supreme Pontiff, head of all the bishops. The Copts on the other hand, believe the Pope is a "first among equals." That is, he has no special authority over the other bishops.
Their Pope is the chairman and head of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, as a first among equals. This organization is the highest authority in their Church of Alexandria. It formulates the rules and regulations for the church's faith, order and organization. Their Pope is also the chairman of the church's General Congregation Council.
The Oriental Orthodox and therefore the Coptic Orthodox, say that their respective patriarchs (like our bishops) and Pope are equal with all Christian bishops, including the Roman Catholic Pope. On the other hand, Roman Catholics believe that the Pope of Rome is elevated in dignity and jurisdiction not only above the other bishops, but also above the other four Popes and Patriarchs of the Major Apostolic Thrones (Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem). The Coptic Orthodox Church rejects this and our two churches remain independent of each other.
The Coptic Orthodox Pope is currently H. H. Shenouda III. The Roman Catholic Pope is Benedict XVI..
images - http://www.stmarkboston.com/