Coptic Christians – What Do Copts Believe?

what do coptic christians believe

Coptics believe, like other Christian traditions, that both God and humanity play a part in salvation: through Jesus Christ’s atoning death and resurrection and good works on both parts.

They practice seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, confession (penance), Eucharist (Communion), matrimony and unction of the sick.

People also revere saints and icons.

The Holy Trinity

Coptic Christianity embraces a fundamental doctrine known as the Holy Trinity, which describes the relationship among God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as one entity sharing energy and power equally. They all play different roles yet remain interdependent on one another – similar to how Catholics perceive the Trinity with different names for each aspect of God.

The Church teaches that both God and mankind play roles in salvation; God through Jesus’ death on the Cross, and humanity through their good works. Additionally, sins must be confessed to a priest for absolution through the sacraments of infant baptism, confession, communion, matrimony, unction and ordination.

As with other Christian denominations, the Coptic Church emphasizes that our efforts cannot please God on their own. As a result, fasting and other spiritual disciplines are encouraged as well as veneration of saints and icons depicting Christ and saints painted onto wood panels – saints are believed to provide intercessory prayers on behalf of those praying to them.

Coptic Church members believe in Jesus Christ being both fully human and fully divine, which distinguished it from other Christians of East and West Christianity at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. The Council proposed that Christ had one unifying nature made up of both divine and human aspects, without any mixup or confusion – an understanding that is widely held among Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches today.

The Coptic Church is one of the earliest Christian branches, dating back to one of Jesus Christ’s apostles being sent out to Egypt to found it. Over time it quickly expanded in Egypt where many members died for their beliefs against persecution from Roman rulers – an event now dubbed “Era of Martyrs.” Now there are over 10 to 60 million individuals worldwide who identify themselves as Coptics!


Coptic Orthodox Church members hold that salvation comes from both God and humans alike, through both Jesus’ sacrificial death and our own good works as believers. Coptic Church members pray for and work to help others obtain salvation while also improving themselves through prayers, fasting and almsgiving.

The Church believes that the Bible influences its followers’ basic tenets and practices, but also draws heavily upon a body of teaching known as Church Tradition – including saints’ teachings, holy council decisions and ritual books. Therefore it’s essential that followers realize not everything written in Scripture can be taken literally.

Coptics were one of the early major divisions within Christianity and were profoundly shaped by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. At that meeting, Christ was declared one person with two natures – which eventually became standard orthodoxy among both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

Estimates put the worldwide population of Coptic Christians between 10 million and 60 million today, with most living in Egypt. They are sometimes known as the Church of Martyrs as many have given their lives for their beliefs. While they share no formal ties with Roman Catholicism nor recognize its pope as infallible, they have their own bishops, priests, as well as church hierarchy that exist outside its orbit.

Copts follow similar beliefs as Catholics regarding baptism, confirmation and communion; however they do not subscribe to purgatory or the infallibility of Pope. Additionally they believe women should not receive communion while on their menstrual cycle as this symbolizes adultery and should be discouraged from receiving communion during that period. Furthermore the church teaches marriage should only occur between Christian individuals who have been confirmed by church authority, encourage remarriage in valid prior marriage cases and discourage divorce; their beautiful icons often depict scenes from biblical stories depicting heaven like creatures or scenes depicting biblical events such as Heaven or hell!


Copts believe, like other Christians, that God and man both play an active role in salvation. While Jesus Christ’s death offers forgiveness for sins, individuals must also work towards earning their salvation by doing good deeds and receiving the sacraments such as fasting, almsgiving and receiving Communion.

Coptic Christians believe that confession to a priest is integral to seeking forgiveness of their sins and avoiding further embarrassment as part of this process. Parents should teach their children about confession early so that they become familiar with it as adults.

As with other Christian traditions, Coptic church members are expected to attend mass at least once every week and refrain from engaging in sexual activity on both the eve and day of communion; menstruating women are not permitted to take communion. Coptic church members observe an important weekly tradition known as Communion which includes bread and wine blessed by priests during Mass that are consumed as Eucharist; its priest then reminds the congregation that Christ sacrificed his body and blood so we may all live freely and remember him when taking part.

Church rituals vary for special events. Newborn babies are washed in a special service eight days post birth and then baptized. If a member passes away there is usually a funeral and prayer service three days post-death; additionally the church celebrates Easter and Christmas holidays as special holidays.

Egypt’s Coptic Church has endured many periods of persecution and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Over its existence, many saints such as St Athanasius helped write the Nicene Creed and St Anthony, known for monasticism, have arisen within its ranks. Today it still maintains strong presence even though no longer the majority religion. Copts view Scripture as their primary source of truth while Church Fathers and other ancient documents also play an integral role.

The Eucharist

Coptic worship centers around Eucharist as its centerpiece and most sacred sacrament. Believers revere it because Christ Himself is present within the bread and wine offered for Communion. This miracle, known as Transsubstantiation, signifies Christian unity while giving the Church special powers to heal those in need.

The Church teaches this mystery as an interplay among three divine Beings; these three beings being Jesus Christ. Arianism, which taught that Jesus was created rather than eternal and divine Being is rejected, as is its emphasis on oneness between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; also their belief in Incarnation through Holy Spirit-powered Virgin Mary-borne Jesus is shared among these three in their worship of oneness between Father Son Spirit. Additionally saints may intercede on behalf of believers for intercession on their behalf if necessary.

Although the church does not practice worshiping saints or icons, its members can request their intercession for various needs. Saints can pray for those suffering illness, offer comfort during grief or protection against evil; some even intercede on behalf of people facing judgement at death.

Copts believe that confession to a priest is essential for forgiveness of sins, seeing him as both father, judge, and teacher. Furthermore, they regard the Bible as God’s word and source of knowledge.

Copts live predominantly in Egypt, yet their faith has found followers all around the world. Over one million of their members live outside Egypt – many in America as well. Coptic churches can be found throughout suburbia serving people of all ages.

Although the Church has endured many difficulties throughout its existence, its strength remains undiminished. Historians have recorded instances in which Coptic Christians willingly gave up their lives for their belief in Jesus; many even died proclaiming their devotion as Roman rulers executed them chanting about how much they loved Christ.

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