Being African in the Coptic Church

What is the experience of Black Africans or African Americans in the Coptic Church? 


  • welcome, kransaalwyn :)
    i am in uk, so can't comment about african americans.
    most people in the coptic church are (obviously) african, but there are a few who think that skin colour is relevant somehow and that paler africans are superior to darker africans.
    this is not the official church view, of course! it is very sinful to think like that.

    many other people who have various african or mixed african ethnicities find the orthodox churches to be refreshingly non european in outlook, so that has brought quite a few people to the church in my country.

    there are also lots of ethiopians and eritreans in the coptic orthodox church in uk. their culture is very different to west african cultures so their experience is different to people from west african and carribean backgrounds (which are the 2 very different cultures that predominate in britain, whose ancestors came here hundreds of years ago).
    in uk we have coptic orthodox Christians from all these backgrounds.
    also in the ethiopian orthodox church in london, we have a priest with carribean ancestry (mostly west african ethnically, raised in uk in a family who had been in uk for a long time).
    he has learnt the ethiopian culture very well and is gifted at welcoming new people from all backgrounds to the orthodox church :)

    if you (or your friend) has african culture or ethnicity, you are very welcome in the coptic orthodox church. bring some jollof rice to share and you will fit in easily (we all like food)!
    i hope and pray you visit soon

    (european background lady - orthodox for 15 years)

  • Thank you so much! I myself gained an interest in the church partly from someone of Ethiopian ancestry, but I've seen on some forums that some are more exclusive to those not of Coptic Egyptian descent. Coming from someone of Central African descent, this made me wary of approaching the Church or joining the community. This along with my lack of Arabic knowledge sort of scared me off of the church so I reached out to this forum to get info from those already integrated in the Church.

  • people are generally nicer in real life than on forums.
    avoid forums!
    (this one is not too bad though ;) )
    please come and visit the lovely orthodox church, and if (and i hope and pray you don't) you have a negative experience, please try again in a different church.
    you see, the church is a hospital for sinners, and so some of us are not as welcoming as we will be once God has changed us to be more like Him
  • Thank you so much! God bless you!
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