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Coptic Church

Coptic Church (Arab., qibṭ, from Gk., Aigyptios, ‘Egyptian’). The national Christian church of Egypt.

Its position under Islam has, however, always been difficult. There were occasional persecutions under the khalīfas, besides the legal disabilities imposed on non-Muslims as dhimmis. Many restrictions (e.g. on church building and publication) still exist.

The Coptic Church was a founder member of the World Council of Churches in 1948. Its vitality appears in its Sunday schools and in a recent repopulation of some of the ancient desert monasteries. The number of Copts in the 1976 census was given as 2.3 million, but Coptic leaders claim it is 5 million or more, and that the figures were falsified to serve the picture of Egypt as an Islamic state.

Coptic liturgies and ceremonial preserve some very archaic features. The traditional liturgical language is Coptic, although it gave way to Arabic as a spoken language as early as the 9th cent.

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Coptic Church

Coptic Church Largest Christian Church in Egypt. Its members form 5–10% of Egypt's population. Of ancient origin, the Copts trace the history of the church to Saint Mark. As a result of its Monophysite creed (denying the humanity of Christ), the Coptic Church was declared heretical by the Council of Chalcedon (451) and was isolated from other Christian Churches. The Arab conquest of Egypt brought mass conversion to Islam.

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