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St. Mark the Evangelist and author of the Gospel of Mark was the first to bring Christianity to Egypt, and to this day we have held to the doctrines he taught us. It is true that we believe in the One Incarnate Nature of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and that this nature is the unity of His *full* Divinity and *full* Humanity. In other words, He is both fully Divine and fully Human, but these were not separate, but rather united. This is unlike the heresy of Eutyches, who asserted that Christ's Humanity was "swallowed" by His Divinity. This is a heresy the Coptic Church has officially rejected since it started. In regards to Salvation, we believe that we are saved by Grace, and that nothing we do can ever make us worthy of the gifts God bestows upon us. We take our relationship with God extremely seriously and actively work with our priests (spiritual guides) to improve and strengthen it. We also emphasize the importance of being ONE body in Christ, and we always work towards the strength of the entire unit, recognizing the importance of the Church's relationship with her Bridegroom Jesus Christ. While we put great emphasis on salvation by Grace and the importance of a relationship with God both as individuals and as one Body in Christ, we also acknowledge that we cannot sit idle in our ways, and must make a constant effort to focus ourselves on our Lord, and obey His commandments. Actually, all of the redemptive sacraments (Baptism, Chrismation, Repentance/Confession, and the Holy Eucharist) are rooted in direct commandments from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We hold that Christ commanded baptism and even emphasized its necessity in Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19 (as well as other places), and therefore practice it to this day in obedience to Christ. Chrismation is the sacrament in which we receive the Holy Spirit. The priest anoints the newly water baptized individual with a holy oil called Holy Myron, and then breathes on them saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit." This is explained in more detail here: http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/sacraments/2_confirmation.html We believe that repentance does not happen in a moment, but is rather something we do constantly throughout our lives, since we are all sinners and will fall sometimes (more like always--thank God for His eternal mercy) in our Christian walk. In regards to confession, this website explains the Coptic perspective and interpretation of Biblical texts. Https://ukmidcopts.org/resources/q-a/spiritual/239-why-do-i-have-to-confess-to-a-priest-isnt-it-enough-to-confess-directly-to-god-v15-239 (I apologize for not being able to go into more detail personally, I am young and still studying and learning). The Holy Eucharist is the central focus of any Coptic Orthodox liturgy you will attend. For when we receive the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Body and Precious Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, we unite ourselves with Him fully: in both body and spirit. This is in accordance with His commands in John 6:46-69 and those He gave at the Last Supper on Covenant Thursday to "Do this in remembrance of Me." We also believe in the necessity of service, as this is one of the greatest commandments given by our Lord. In the Parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), our Lord casts away those who did not serve into eternal punishment, the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels. Every aspect of our Divine Liturgy is rooted in scripture, with many allusions to the descriptions of Heavenly worship as described in the book of Revelations. This is a topic that I am still studying, but I will leave a link to a book written by one of our priests if you are interested in learning about why we practice a liturgical service the way we do. Https://s3.amazonaws.com/stmaryscopticorthodox/books/liturgy.pdf God bless you always, and please pray for our Coptic brothers and sisters in Egypt still facing persecution.
It is true that St. Mark the evangelist was the one who established the Ancient Apostolic church of Alexandria i.e Coptic Church. But the faith was also carried to the corners of Egypt by Jews who believed in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the son of our living God. As we know in the early years of Christianity there were no clear distinction between Jews and Christians. Alexandria was the largest gathering of Jews outside of Israel. But they kept the faith to themselves not spreading the faith to the gentiles. The opening to the gentiles came later as we know, headed by St. Paul’s letters. Later by St. Peter following his vision.
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