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Today is the final day of the worldwide Annual Church Unity octave. To enter into the spirit of the week, on Saturday I invited our local retired Coptic (Egyptian) priest and his good wife to share with us some values and practices of their Church.

I intended it to be an informal exchange of questions and answers. However he dominated the session and gave us very little opportunity to have any real input.

As you may be aware, the Coptic Church was initiated in Egypt by the followers of St. Mark around 200 AD and were well established by the time of the Council of Nicea (325 AD) which was the first effort by Christians to reach consensus on the true nature of Christ and to express it in what is called the Nicean Creed. The Council of Constaninople (381AD) dealt with the nature of the Holy Spirit.

The Coptic Church differs very little in beliefs and practices from the Chatholic Church but are extremely strict and have changed not at all since Nicea! There is a great emphasis on sin, penance, fasting, pilgrimage, martyrdom, asceticism and the "earning" of salvation in general by 'good works'. Our own old Celtic Christian practice, through St. Patrick, appears to have taken much from them in this.

Their priests must always carry a Coptic cross with them, wear a beard, and be married before being ordained.

On the whole I don't think I would ever feel happy joining them!!



the surrounding culture can shape the practices of a group
both the copts and the irish catholics were hard pressed to hold on to their faith

when faith can breath free it can be more open and joyful

i think your invitation was quite splendid - good for you!
Yes. The Egyptian Church has been persecuted for practically all it existence up to the present.
Neither would I! Some of these denominations seem very far from Jesus.
I attended a talk a little while ago by a Coptic bishop at my local synagogue; it was very interesting. There is a Coptic church just a few hundred yards away from where I lived until Sunday; the church hall is the local polling station!