The founder of the Coptic Church

Christianity was brought to Egypt through Saint Mark the apostle and author of the oldest canonical gospel, around 55 A.D; hence making the Coptic Orthodox Church one of the oldest churches in the world. Saint Mark came to Egypt following the feast of Pentecost, and upon entering the great city of Alexandria, his sandal strap snapped and so he sought a cobbler to repair it. Whilst mending the sandal, the cobbler accidentally pierced his hand and cried out, ‘Oh one God!’ Saint Mark rejoiced at hearing this expression and miraculously healed the man’s wound and began to preach to this cobbler named Anianus about the one God. Soon after Anianus and his family were baptised and many others followed. The Apostle appointed Anianus as bishop and ordained three priests and seven deacons to assist him in his missionary work.

Saint Mark is not only the founder of the Egyptian Church and first patriarch, but is the first of many Egyptian saints and martyrs. Wanting to kill him for challenging paganism by preaching Christianity, the pagans sought to kill him, and so following the church service of the Feast of the Resurrection in the year 68 AD, the pagans tied a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets of Alexandria until he finally gave up his spirit; thus receiving the crown of martyrdom.

Saint Mark is regarded as the first in an unbroken chain of 117 Alexandrian patriarchs.
The present patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church is His Holiness Pope Shenouda III whose title is ‘Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark.’ May the Lord preserve his life.