Coptic Orthodox Vs. Greek Orthodox

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
I was just wondering what the difference between Coptic and Greek Orthodox is? Are the traditions really that different? Sacraments? Can people inter-marry or does one have to convert to the other?


  • Hi 'SunBabyNJ',

    I am sorry i am not very confident about my understanding of the differences between Greek and Coptic Orthodoxy. There are many issues but as far as i know nothing is "TOO DIFFERENT" (i could be wrong! ???) . I DO KNOW that the marriage is recognised by both churches without any conversion! (see below)

    There is a useful website that deals with bringing all the Orthodox Churches together in Unity here's the link:

    In this website you can find the information i've copied below about "inter-marriage":

    "the Holy Synods of both Patriarchates have agreed to accept the sacrament of marriage which is conducted in either Church with the condition that it is conducted for two partners not belonging to the same Patriarchate of the other Church from their origin. Both the Bride and the Groom should carry a valid certificate from his/her own Patriarchate that he/she has a permit of marriage and indicating the details of his/her marriage status up to date.

    Each of the two Patriarchates shall also accept to perform all of its other sacraments to that new family of Mixed Christian Marriage.

    It is agreed that the Patriarchate which shall perform the marriage shall be responsible for any marriage problems that may happen concerning this certain marriage, taking into consideration the unified marriage laws signed by the heads of Churches in Egypt in the year 1999.

    Each Patriarchate shall preserve its right not to give its sacraments to any persons whom she does not find fulfilling its canons according to the Apostolic Tradition."

    Hope that helps,
    Please pray for me
    God Bless...
  • How about marriage between Catholics and Coptics? Is there any literature / websites, that discuss this? Or do you have convert one way or the other? I know that when my parents were married (mom - Catholic American / dad - Orthodox) they were married in the Catholic church since there was not an Orthodox church in the city they lived in (long time ago). The Catholic priest simply requested a letterhead from the church in Egypt that said my dad had never been married. Will the Orthodox church also accept something like this from the Catholic Church? Or is the fact that they're two different denominations what makes the union "imposible?" ???
  • There is really no difference (theologically) between the Greek and Coptic churches.

    The difference occurred because of the term Monophysite vs Miaphysite which was at the council of Chalcedon.

    The Copts were interpreted as being Monophysite, which is to say, that we believe that God only has one nature. The Copts due not truly believe this, we believe God had 2 natures "inseparable", his divinity parted not from his humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye........ as we say in the divine liturgy.

    What we (the Copts) meant to say that Jesus has 2 natures (human and divine) which were joined in one Complex Nature (or maiphysite).

    This is what we really meant. Which is in-line with the other orthodox church's (greek's) theology.

    Interestingly, the Copts were the ones excommunicated from the Greek Church (not the other way around) for this heresy.

    This split was the biggest split in the Christian church until the spread of Protestatism.

    Anyway, we are all theologically the same. Anyone who will say different is incorrect, or manipulating the story.

    Just thought I'd let you know the history. I've studied this thoroughly.

    Actually, the churches were almost reunited a few years ago, however Anba Bishoi (on the Holy Synod) backed out in the last minute (or that's how the story goes).

    God bless us all and reuinte us one day.
  • Most Coptic Bishops will recognize the Greek Sacraments (i.e. marraige) but this it not official. You should get proper authorization if going this way.

    Greek Baptism is offically recognized by the Coptic Church.

    The Greek's recognize and allow us to partake in all our sacraments.

    Some Coptic priests will also allow Greeks to have communion in our church.

    Hope this is helpful, if you have quesitons let me know.
  • Thank you for your replies; it certainly clarifies things!
  • They're both ;D
  • i wuz only talking about Greek and ;)
  • "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together; each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification......For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." 1 Corinthians 14:26

  • the main difference, that i kno of, is divinity. wen we say 'his humanity parted not from his divinity for a moment' they dont. for that reason, we cant take communion in a greek orthodox church. :Dhope that helps
  • please please keep in mind that the church does NOT recognize the greek church as our sister church.. for reason unbeknownst to me... we do not consider them our sister church for a reason... but i don't think that it deals anything with the divinity... but i'll definetly do my research and get back to you..
  • Mary, you're right, we don't officially HOWEVER the reason's are political, not spiritual AND there are a Coptic bishops that allow it.

    For example, my sister got married in the Greek church, and 2 of the Coptic bishops in the US dioceses said they recognize her marraige and allow her to take communion in either church.

  • Hi every1,

    Since June 1989, there was an agreement reached between both Churches (Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox) to recognize each other Sacrements.

    For more information, please refer to the site :

    Thank you and may God bless you.

    Pray for me.

  • Hey SunBabyNJ, what's up? Anyway, there really is no difference between the Greek and Coptic Orthodox churches. They are pretty much the same, and there is no need to convert to one or the other if you are already baptized, for we are all one denomination. The reason that the churches split were over some minor differences, but we are still free to take communion in the other Orthodox churches unless the father of that church objects. I got my information from my father, who is a Coptic Orthodox priest, and whose father was Greek Orthodox. I hope I answered some of your questions. Yalla, beace!
  • [right][/right]

    Christos Anesti! I am Eastern Orthodox of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and I must say that the gentle spirit found in your responses warms my heart immensely! All of you are correct concerning our spiritual onenss in the Faith and its about time both Churches are talking about reunification! I desire it with all my heart and soul.
    The explanation of the Hypostatic Union of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was very interesting in the sense that it is the first time i read it in this form. I always understood it this way when describing it to other non-Coptic Orthodox. But to say that Coptics mean 2 natures into one nature is very refreshing becuase its great to hear it from a Copt! Copts say 2x2=4...Greeks say 2+2=4 .... we are both saying the same thing using slightly different terms! So lets pray for unity because its about time we became one Body again for the glory of God!
    P.S. I have read a few of His Holiness Pope Shenouda's books and he is an awesome teacher! God grant him many years! Amen!
  • Amen to that.

  • I don’t know much about this topic (even though I try) but from what I understand there are two types of orthodox- Eastern and Oriental.

    We’re part of the Oriental Orthodox Church, along with the following churches:

    1 Armenian Orthodox
    2 Eritrean Orthodox
    3 Ethiopian Orthodox
    4 Indian Orthodox
    5 Syrian Orthodox (Antioch)

    We are allowed to partake in the other churches Holy Communion and other sacraments. And we follow the same doctrine. We aren’t supposed to partake in the other 11 Eastern Orthodox Churches which include:

    1 Romanian Orthodox
    2 Macedonian-Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox
    3 Russian Orthodox
    4 Armenian Catholic
    5 Coptic Catholic
    6 Macedonian Orthodox
    7 Serbian Orthodox
    8 Malankara Orthodox
    9 Ukrainian Orthodox Church
    10 Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox
    11 Greek Orthodox

    I have been informed numerous times that the misunderstandings between the Oriental and Eastern churches are minor and should diminish in a matter of 10 or so years.

    Unfortunately the Coptic Church has not made a book in regards to why or how the separation of the orthodox churches took place and the differences in doctrines. Hopefully in the near future our church will present this sort of information.

    If I have given information that is not 100% factual please forgive me (and correct me!)
    God Bless.

    [ftp=ftp://] [/ftp]
  • The best book on the subject from our churches POV is The Council of Chaledon Rexamined. It looks at the historical and theological side of the split. It was written by an Indian Orthodox author so it repesents our doctrines as they are a sister church.

    God bless,

  • can i find this book in any church library?
    also.. random fact:
    when we do the cross, we do it from left to right, believing that evil is related to the left hand side and that the Lord Jesus Christ sits at the hand of the right had side...
    the greeks do it from the right to the left
    it's really just a cultural difference, but if u ask me, our ways the right way ::)
  • BoricuaManhood

    I really liked your post. It is also refreshing to
    hear the eastern side of it. Hopefully more people
    will realize this.

    With all the threats from Islam, liberalism (i.e.
    homosexuality) and other non-Christian threats, it's time for
    all of us as Christians to unite and become one.

    Thank you for your perspective.

    In advance, Christos Anelepsis :)

  • i agree
    i for one must say, i'm very very proud of the advances taken by all the leaders of the christian churches to come together and become one
    i cant wait till this happens...
    but i may sound selfish when i say, i like being coptic... just coptic
    i mean... i love it when i tell ppl that we're from pharoanic descent
    and a part of me likes it when we keep our blood like fully egyptian by only marrying egyptians
    yet the other part of my head tells me to be open minded and that it is okay to marry other nationalities, because it is lol
    i got mixed feelings on this topic
    but as one of our songs say.. under his guidance may all... the churches become one...
  • Oh, I agree with you. There's definitely sense of pride in being Coptic whether you look at history, or the endurance/survival of the Church. However this pride shouldn't create barriers between our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox faith.

    The Coptic church will always be my church, however on the same note, I want my church to also be the church of other Orthodox Christians and vice versa.

    I think we've maxed out this threaded discussion :)
  • u put what i was thinking into the best words ever fhhanna! thanx
    and yea... we've threaded it out as much as others
    so ill stop talking now
  • [quote author=MarMar91 link=board=1;threadid=203;start=15#msg7264 date=1090118948]
    No, very good topic, it is not out-threaded, what is the difference betweemnth e coptic orthodox church, the catholic church, nad the coptic catholic church, same with coptic orthodox and greek orthodox??? Why are they not a sister church???
    i crave information!! ???

    Coptic Orthodox is part of the "oriental" "Orthodox Communion: Syriac, Indian, Armenian, Ethopian and Eritrean are full Communion Churches - they are allowed to recieve Communion with each other with no exception.

    Coptic Catholic - Is part of the Catholic Church, the Pope is universal, but it has its own Patriarch. Orthodox may recieve Communion at any Catholic Church.

    Greek Orthodox - part of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Head is Ecumenical Patriach Bartholomew of Constantinople. Russian, Greek, etc. are all in communion. They allow orientals to recieve in most circumstances.

    Currently the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental are very close to reunion.
    The Catholic and Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox consider each other all valid.

    We pray for reunion soon.
  • Well, there isn't much difference between greeks and coptic orthodoxes, but one of the servents in my church once told me that there is one main difference. It is that, greeks beleived that when jesus came down to save us, god wasn't in heaven and just came down to earth. I am not too sure about if were are able to inter-mary though.
  • Salam Wa ne3mat Rabena Yassu3 El
    Massieh faltako ma3akom ya ekhwaty.

    The Peace and Grace of Jesus Christ be with you all.

    I think this is probably the best time to post in this thread since I just visited a Greek Orthodox Church yesterday..

    The ONLY diffrence I noticed is that they believe in the 2 Natures and we believe in the 1.

    Other than it's all identical, they have the same exact deacon ranks with the same names,

    They havee the same Dome with same meaning.

    They even have a seat for the Bishop just like ours.

    I was very happy that we had so much similarities but was very sad that we are not united with them because of the 2 Natures and 1 Nature Theology.

    God Bless.

  • Hello,

    I'd like to remind people that the Synodal decision to accept marriages with Greek Orthodox Christians only applies in Egypt. That is the extent of the jurisdiction of this decision. It still hasn't been decided in the lands of immigration, so it's best not to use that extract too much.


Sign In or Register to comment.