Welcome, we’re glad you’re here!
New visitors will find there are many new things to experience in a Coptic Orthodox Church service. Feel free to go at your own pace, ask any questions you want, and know you are most welcome to “come and see” (John 1:39)
What is The Coptic Church?
Frequently Asked Questions
How long has this church been around?
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the world. It was founded by St. Mark the Evangelist and author of the second gospel, in Alexandria, Egypt, in the mid-first century.
What does “Coptic” mean?
The term “Copt” means Egyptian. Copts are the native Christians of Egypt and the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians who were converted to Christianity by St. Mark.
Do you have to be Egyptian to join Coptic Orthodox Church?
Come on! The Kingdom of God is “equal opportunity”! Although the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded in Egypt, today there are hundreds of Orthodox Churches all over the world, with millions of members from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Why should I come to the Coptic Orthodox Church (or any church, for that matter)?
Christ never intended that any of His followers should be on his or her own, but that they should exist and worship in communion, community and fellowship with one another, forming one body – the Church.
Today in an age where new and strange teachings pop-up everyday, claiming to be the truth, it is refreshing to find a church that has remained genuine and true to the faith and spirituality of the early church, as established by Christ and handed down to the apostles and church fathers. This is a church whose teachings one can trust.
But how can I be sure?
Check out some reliable books in the history, faith and worship of the early church! You will find that they match that of the Orthodox today.
So what does the Coptic Orthodox Church believe, anyway?
First and foremost, the church believes that the Bible is the inspired word of God, to be followed according to the interpretation of the early church fathers.
The church upholds all the beliefs stated in the Nicene Creed (of 325 A.D.): One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Christ who took human flesh, died and rose to save us from sin and death and in His second coming He will judge all and His Heavenly Kingdom will be forever; one universal and apostolic church and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
In addition, the church believes in seven sacraments, which are mysteries through which the Holy Spirit imparts grace to the believers.
These sacraments are:
- Baptism (Mark 16:16; John 3:5)
- Chrismation (anointing of the oil; 1 John 2:20, 27)
- Repentance & Confession (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; John 20:23)
- Eucharist (communion; John 6:51-58; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
- Matrimony (Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31-33)
- Priesthood (Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:6)
- Unction of the Sick (James 5:14-15)
What are Orthodox Services like?
The main worship service in the Orthodox Church is the Divine Liturgy, celebrating the Eucharist. The liturgy is basically the story of humanity’s redemption. It is told regularly in order to remind the believers of Christ’s work to reconcile the world to God, so that all may be led to repentance as they partake of His Body and Blood. The most commonly used liturgy in the Coptic Church was written by St. Basil the Great, in the fourth century. The liturgy is always celebrated on Sunday (the Lord’s Day), but may also be celebrated on any day of the week.
In addition, to the Divine Liturgy, the church holds Bible study meetings, youth meetings and Sunday School classes, for all to learn and grow.
How can I get more information?
To experience the spirituality of the Orthodox Church first-hand the invitation is extended to all to “come and see!”, to speak to a Coptic Orthodox priest, and to receive literature about the Orthodox Church.
For a schedule of all the services at The Church of St. Mina, see our Calendar.
Things to Know Before Your First Visit
What languages are used in the service?
Our services are in three languages – English, Coptic, and Arabic. Sunday morning services are mostly in English. You will find screens around the sanctuary with the text of the service in English and Arabic to follow along.
How is the seating organized?
Traditionally, the church practicees segregated seating. You will find ladies’ seating on the right and men’s seating on the left. Nowadays, some families choose to sit together.
How should I dress for my visit ?
We kindly do ask that you please dress modestly: no shorts/mini skirts, no revealing tops, no hats or inappropriate logos on clothing.
For our female visitors, you will notice that most women veil during the liturgy. If you wish to wear a veil, please feel free to do so; however, this is not expected of visitors.
I have respiratory sensitivity, does the church use incense?
For visitors with breathing difficulties or chemical sensitivies, we do use incense at certain points in the liturgy service. While many people with asthma and other repiratory sensitivities often report no ill effects from the incense, please feel free to step out of the sanctuary during those times if you need to.
Is the church wheelchair accessible?
The church has ramps and wheelchair- accessible restrooms with the main church building bein ground level.
Can I bring young children to the service(liturgy)? Will there be accommodations?
For young children who may find it difficult to participate through the whole service, there is a sound-proof crying room available at the back of the sanctuary with a view of the sanctuary and the prayers from the sanctuary broadcasted in the room.
Can I participate in communion?
We practice closed communion – only those baptized (and married, if applicable) in the Coptic Orthodox Church (or one of our sister churches*) may partake of the mysteries.
* The Coptic Church is a member of the Oriental Orthodox family who is made up of six sister churches: Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, and Indian Orthodox.
Is there any activity after liturgy?
Liturgy is followed by lunch in the dining room. The meal is provided cafeteria style, along with coffee and tea, and you are more than welcome to stay for a visit.
Sunday School is after lunch. If you have children of Sunday School age that may be interested in attending, please reach out to one of our priests before your visit.