Would it even make sense for me to convert to Coptic Orthodox?

I am a Nigerian who desperately wants to get into orthodoxy, but it seems that there is not really a path for me to do so. Many of the Coptic churches in the United States present a serious language barrier for me as I do not understand Arabic and do not plan on learning Arabic. All of the churches seem ethnically exclusive, which is far different from what I am accustomed to seeing in churches since Catholic churches commonly have people of many nations in a single congregation. Although there may be a small amount of Coptic Orthodox people in Nigeria, they are all expatriates from Egypt and there presence is almost nonexistent, so it is virtually impossible for someone who is living in Nigeria to become Coptic Orthodox. Although there is very little Orthodox Christian presence in Nigeria, it seems there is more of a Greek Orthodox presence in Nigeria than Coptic.  If I was to convert to Coptic Orthodox here in the United States, then I would not be able go to church at all during times when I am in Nigeria, and if I ever were to find an orthodox church, it would most definitely be Greek Orthodox. Would it make sense for me to convert to Coptic Orthodox then go to only Greek Orthodox churches while in Nigeria? Or would it make more sense for me to convert to Greek Orthodox?


  • Hi Luckyluke!
    Well it makes sense to me. Im norwegian and there is no Coptic churches here. Only Ethiopian as far as I know. I found the Coptic Church to be the the one I really can become closer to God with. I dont want to dive into the topic of which Church is the most true one, but the Coptic Church is very close to the full truth of Christ. Im converting from a kind of unspecific christianity, I will be baptised in Egypt this summer. I plan to live some different places, and some I know have churches, but when Im in Norway i will have to go to the Ethiopian one for communion. As for fellowship I find it with any christian if they truly love and seek God through Jesus Christ. We may disagree and misunderstand eachother, but we can learn the good faith together. I recently spent a lot of time with two american girls who are best friends, one is protestant and one is catholic and they love God so much and I learned a lot from them and I hope to bring them to a Holy Liturgy in a Coptic church sometime when i will visit them in America.
  • Congratulations Studyandlearn on your baptism into the Apostolic church of Saint Mark.
    God bless.
  • Thank you Joshua! Im so happy.
    God bless!
  • welcome lucky luke! come and visit a church, pray with all your heart and God will guide u.
    in my church we have people from many backgrounds, including south asia and africa. in fact I brought some friends (european+south american origins) 2 visit one day after liturgy and they met people from several countries and only 2 from egyptian backgrounds!
    obviously there will be more ethnic groups in big cities.
    i am a white british lady, my friends are indian british, ghanaian british, danish, eritrean and egyptian/sudanese egyptian and others. we are all coptic orthodox :)
  • edited June 2017
    I plan to visit a Coptic church next month and I am so excited. The Coptic church is the church which I have really been drawn for months to years now, as their faith seems so authentic and unchanged.

    I understand how StudyandLearn will being going to an Ethiopian church for communion, but that is a little different from my situation. The Ethiopian church is in communion with the Coptic church. In Nigeria, you go to the church that's in your village, and there's only Catholic and Protestant churches in almost all villages. Looking online shows me that there are Greek Orthodox churches here and there in Nigeria, but very few of them. So on average, it will mean I will be going to a Catholic Church, and in rare occasions, I may visit a Greek Orthodox Church. None of these churches are in communion with the coptic church, so is this fine?
  • Luckyluke,

    You need to speak to a Coptic bishop. Either Bishop Antonios Markos of South Africa or Bishop Boula of Western Africa or any of the US/Canada bishops (whoever is closest to you when you come to the US)

    I think once you explain your situation, they may allow you to become Coptic Orthodox and take communion in the Greek Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church when you're in Nigeria because of your circumstances. 

    If you need help contacting any of the bishops, let us know.
  • I am a Christian from a Non-denominational church, I recently met a Coptic man who has sparked an incredible interest in me about the Orthodox Church. I know hardly anything of the Church but I would like to be able to explore and find out how to learn to walk with Christ in an Orthodox Church. I do not speak Arabic, nor do I read it. Any advice on some first steps I can make? Please Help
  • I am a Christian from a Non-denominational church, I recently met a Coptic man who has sparked an incredible interest in me about the Orthodox Church. I know hardly anything of the Church but I would like to be able to explore and find out how to learn to walk with Christ in an Orthodox Church. I do not speak Arabic, nor do I read it. Any advice on some first steps I can make? Please Help
  • first pray to God and ask Him to lead u to all fullness. then go to an orthodox church and listen and pray. most churches in english speaking countries are either in english or have translation on the screen. read a bit of church history. the church was established before the books of the Bible were assembled.
    speak to orthodox Christians and pray. take your time deciding to become orthodox because you won't want to go back :)
    may God guide you to the fullness of the Christian faith. i was protestant for about 30 years (from early childhood) before I joined the orthodox church 9 years ago.
    i use the name 'mabsoota' as it describes how i am when i am in the orthodox church (means 'happy' in arabic)

    and no, u don't have to learn arabic!
  • I would caution new believers on the importance of speaking Arabic. Arabic has always had a "forced" feel to it in our Church as we were forced to adopt it by Muslim invaders. New Copts growing up in the West are quickly losing their Arabic, I very much expect Arabic to be slowly phased out of the Liturgy in the not so distant future. Arabic has mostly kept its place in the diaspora because 1st generation immigrants who were native Arabic speakers were the majority when the first Churches were built. Arabic has otherwise no innate religious or cultural value to our Church, unlike Coptic. Second and third generations Copts, the majority of which have lost Arabic, are now growing and replacing their parents in numbers and seniority.

    Even now, you'd be hard pressed to find any youth meetings, sunday school,... conducted in Arabic and nearly 99% of the youth of any Church exclusively speak English to one another. I agree there may be barriers to joining a Coptic church but language is no longer as relevant as it once was.
  • i agree, but maybe a few people should still speak arabic in order to help the rest of the world know Gods' love. it is a very useful language, even if you don't know it well!
  • edited September 2017
    We should be able to talk to others in their language as the apostles did. Also this language will continue as we hope Copts can stay in Egypt a long time. We will always have to deal with fellow church members who speak Arabic. And priests get more serious with older adults and I want to know what they are saying. Our parents raise us with part of the culture of Arabs and their common sense and we have to know where they developed it.
    But I suppose if the church will remove Arabic it will take away our necessity to learn it and help many who won't learn it
    In conclusion ideally the church would still make everything English yet maybe encourage learning Arabic. Unless they make sure to translate every video in Arabic to English. But learning will still add a benefit but if they do this you could survive
  • edited September 2017
    To luckyluke yes it makes sense. Much of our talks and our mass is in English you will just miss out on sermons preached from Egypt. You just won't be able to interact with those who mostly speak in Arabic. Though many things are in Arabic someone always makes sure the point is taught in English otherwise you wouldn't be judged for it I think. You won't know which priests hold what views but if it would help us wouldn't someone reveal it ?
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