• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

The term Coptic Christianity refers to the various forms of Egyptian Christianity, in particular the Coptic Orthodox Church. Originally, the word Coptic, from the Greek Aigyptos (“Egyptian”), referred to Egyptians in general. However, as Islam became the dominant religion in Egypt, the term evolved to refer specifically to Egyptian Christians. Coptic is also the name of their liturgical language, a form of Egyptian written with Greek and Demotic characters. Of the 10–15 million Coptic Orthodox Christians in the world, the majority are still located in Egypt, with only 2 million spread out among various other countries.

The Coptic Orthodox Church traces itself back to the first century CE. According to the fourth-century church historian Eusebius, St. Mark traveled to Egypt following Jesus’ death to preach the ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles