Doctrine, Practice and Spirituality:

The Coptic Orthodox Church is a deeply spiritual and conservative church whose doctrines and rites have been followed from one generation to the next, as handed down to her by the founding fathers of the Church in the early centuries of Christianity. The following are the seven pillars of Coptic Orthodox Church doctrine and practice:

1. The Bible: The Holy Bible is the basic foundation of Coptic Orthodox faith and life. It is used extensively during liturgical services and communal prayers and encouraged for family and personal study and contemplation.

2. The Creed of Faith: The recitation of the Creed, as formulated in the 4th century at the Council of Nicea, is said during all liturgical services and prayers and forms the foundation of the church’s Christian belief and declaration of faith.

3. The Seven Sacraments: A sacrament is an invisible grace officiated by a canonical priest. The Coptic Orthodox Church believes in seven sacraments, these being: Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), Repentance and Confession, Eucharist, Unction of the Sick, Matrimony and Priesthood.

4. The Virgin Mary: The Coptic Church calls Saint Mary ‘Theotokos’ which means ‘Mother of God’. The Coptic Orthodox Church believes in the perpetual virginity of Saint Mary, before, during, and after the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. However like all human beings, Saint Mary was born with the original sin and hence is in need of our Lord Jesus Christ’s salvation (Ps. 51; Luke 1; Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:22).

5. Intercession of Saints: The Coptic Church believes in the veneration of the triumphant heavenly church, for God said He is the God of the living and not of the dead. This heavenly ‘cloud of witnesses’ is what the Church on Earth look to for support. The Coptic Church does not worship saints – worship is for God alone – however the Coptic believers call upon the saints and angels for their power of intercession.

6. Fasting: In the Coptic Orthodox Church, fasting is a spiritual practice encouraged for all its members, and precedes all religious feasts, such as Easter and Christmas. Fasting is not merely considered exclusion of animal protein, but more importantly, focusing on overcoming negative habits and forming a closer relationship with God. There are various fasts in the Coptic Church: Lent, the Apostles Fast, the Fast for the Virgin Mary, Advent, Jonah’s Fast, as well as every Wednesday and Friday (excluding the period between Easter to Pentecost) to commemorate the occasions of the Betrayal of Christ by Judas (Wednesday) and Good Friday (Friday).

7. Prayer: By means of liturgical, communal and personal prayers, the Church encourages her children to spend as much time with the Lord Jesus Christ as possible in order to deepen their relationship of love with Him.