|The Moslem Arab invaders referred to the indigenous peoples of Egypt as
Gypt (Copt) from the Greek word Aigyptos meaning Egyptian. Copts
take pride in the ancient tradition that Mark the Evangelist founded the
See (seat) of Alexandria, and take even more pride in that Egypt is part
of the Holy Land since it was the country of refuge for the Holy Family.
The church of Egypt also gave monasticism to the world in the fourth and
fifth centuries (everyone knows about St. Anthony the Great). The Coptic
Church was also one of the great theological centers of the world.
Missionary activity from the Coptic Church spread in all directions and
was particularly successful southward, reaching deep into Nubia before the
Islamic domination in the late seventh century.
Alexandria provided grain for Constantinople, which had grown in dominance over Alexandria. Both cities had cultural and language differences and arguments over trade. Egypt, after all, was once an empire itself. Now it was subservient to Constantinople. The Hellenization of the Coptic Liturgy was resisted for the most part, and the Coptic language (a mixture of the old Egyptian and Greek) and way of worship prevailed. The greater part of the Coptic Church divided from the rest of the church in 451 after the Council of Chalcedon; those who accepted the Council faded away during the long period of Islamic domination. In 1442 at the Council of Florence an agreement of unity was reached but did not materialize in practice. Around the middle of the 18th century, Franciscan and Jesuit influences resulted in a small number of converts. In the 19th century a Coptic Catholic Patriarch was established.
In 1999 there were 192,955 Coptic Catholics. Churches in Southern California include:
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