What does it mean to be Coptic?

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prision, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has goine into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." - 1 Peter 3:21, ESV

We also see this in Acts 9, when the Ethiopian guy says, "Look, here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?"

From this discovery (I was brought up in a Protestant Fundamentalist church in the USA), I noticed it also mentions Bishops. (We didn't have bishops either.)

Now I'm at the Council of Chalcedon, and I found this article (Eutyches and the Oriental Orthodox tradition - I don't know who wrote it), and now I'm trying to get my facts straight on the Council of Chalcedon because I've noticed wikipedia isn't 100% reliable.

I'm having some difficulty due to the missing documents, I don't really understand Orthodoxy, or only bits and pieces like I found an excellent piece titled The Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God on goarch.org, but it still seems strange to say "The Mother of God".

All of this to say, I'm not sure I'm approaching to topic correctly, thus my question, "What does it mean to be a Coptic?"

Thanks a lot.


  • I think you need to be concerned with the definition of Oriental orthodoxy and eastern orthodoxy. That's when a distinction matters. Coptic is simply a Greek word (aiguptos meaning egypt) that means Egyptian. Coptic is simply the rite and tradition of orthodoxy that is associated with Egypt and our culture to a degree.
  • I recommend you watch this video. In it, is guest speaker His grace bishop Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox church visiting a university in America. He will be able to answer your questions...

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