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Coptic Orthodox Parishes in Jerusalem

The Coptic Orthodox Church

The term “Copt” comes from the Greek word “aegiptos,” meaning “Egyptian”. The establishment of the Coptic Church is attributed to St. Mark the Apostle in the 1st century CE.

Antonius, who founded the Coptic monastic movement, was alone in the desert and Satan tried to tempt him. Satan attempted to remove his hat, which had been given to him by God as a symbol of his adherence to Christianity, and the hat tore during the struggle.  Antonius repaired the hat and since then Coptic monks have worn this distinctive hat with a prominent seam that divides the hat in two, as a constant reminder of the dangers of temptation and being distracted from God.

Photo: BETH & RICHIE WOLFF
The Coptic Orthodox make up the largest Christian church in the Middle East. Their leader, with the title of pope, is in Egypt. The liturgy is in Coptic, the ancient language of Egypt, with readings in Arabic.

Coptic Orthodox Parishes in Jerusalem

The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem has had a presence at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Church of the Resurrection) and in Jerusalem since the time Queen Helena founded the church in the 4th century.

In Jerusalem, the Copts have several buildings in the Christian Quarter of the Old City including Monasteries, Convents and schools. Situated literally on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the Coptic Patriarchate of Jerusalem. This includes the Patriarchate itself (His Eminence’s residence), St Anthony’s Monastery, 5 Churches and St Anthony’s Coptic College (Secondary).

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There are around one thousand Copts in the Holy Land, and they could have been more had it not been for the self-restriction imposed by Pope Shenouda III (1971 – 2012) on Coptic Christians to visit Jerusalem in consequence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the fear of the Copts being targeted by Arabists and Islamists for visiting Israel.

Though in Israel, the Coptic community retained strong connection with the Coptic Church in Egypt, it feels the suffering of the Copts in Egypt.

About Israel and You

Cameling in the holy land since forever