Today, the term "Coptic" is used to describe the Egyptian Christians, as well as the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language script.
The term also describes the distinctive art and architecture that developed as an early expression of the new faith. The Coptic Church is a member of the Oriental Orthodox family, which also includes the Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Erithrean and Indian Orthodox Churches.
Their religious background helped them to accept Christianity with eagerness and to enjoy its depth through their ascetic life, meditation and studying of the Holy Scriptures.
Egypt was the refuge that the Holy Family sought in its flight from Judea: "When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son" [Mathew -23].
The Coptic Church is based on the teachings of Saint Mark who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a dozen of years after the Lord's ascension.
He was one of the four evangelists and the one who wrote the oldest canonical gospel.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the national Church of Egypt, established around 60 AD.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria is one of the original four Patriarchates of the Early Christian era, besides those of Antioch, Jerusalem and Rome.The term "Copt" is equivalent to the word "Egyptian." It is derived from the Greek "Aigyptos," which in turns is derived from the ancient Egyptian "Ha-ka-Ptah," i.e."the house of the spirit Ptah," one of the names of Memphis, the first capital of Ancient Egypt.Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 A.D., and a fragment of the Gospel of Saint John, written using the Coptic language, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century.The Coptic Church, which is now more than nineteen centuries old, was the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament.