Coptic Catholic Church

Coptic Catholic Church
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The Coptic Catholic Church is an Alexandrian Rite particular Church in full communion with the Pope of Rome. Historically, Coptic Catholics represent a schism from the Coptic Orthodox Church, leaving that church in order to come into full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

The current Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria is Archbishop Antonios Naguib, who replaced Stephanos II Ghattas in 2005. The offices of the Patriarchate are located in Cairo. The Cathedral (Our Lady of Egypt) is located in Nasr City, a modern suburb of Cairo.



The Catholic Copts existed historically of adherents of Coptic Orthodox Church who wanted to be in communion with the Catholic Church. Their numbers slowly increased in Egypt, to the extent that in 1741, a Catholic priest, Athanasios was assigned as the first Coptic Catholic Apostolic Vicar to head the established Coptic Catholic congregations. The Ottoman authorities recognized the Catholic Copts as a separate religious community, permitting the Coptic Catholics to begin building their own churches in 1829 in Egypt.

Coptic Catholic Patriarchate

Establishment of Patriarchate

In 1824 the Holy See (the Vatican) created a Patriarchate for Coptic Catholics. But the Coptic Catholic Patriarchal seat created by Pope Leo XII remained titular, with no official line of succession. The Coptic Catholic Church was continued to be run by a series of Apostolic Vicars.

It was only Maximos Jouwed (also known as Maximos Givaid)who became the sole Coptic Catholic Apostolic Vicar ruling 1822-1831 to carry the title of Patriarch of Alexandria. But those who followed him as Apostolic Vicars never assumed the title of Patriarch after him.

Reinstatement of Patriarchate

In 1895 Pope Leo XIII re-established the Patriarchate. The first patriarch in this new era was Kyrillos Makarios ordained 1899 and seated until his resignation in 1908, upon which the patriarchal seat again remained empty until 1948 when the Coptic Catholic Church was served by locum tenens bishops. In 1948, Markos II Khouzam was ordained as Patriarch of Alexandria, followed by Stéphanos I Sidarouss from 1958 to 1996, Stéphanos II Ghattas from 1996 to 2006, and presently Antonios I Naguib starting 2006.

Religious orders

The Catholic Coptic Church does not have Coptic monasteries. Instead the Church has religious congregations such as the three communities for women: the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Coptic Sisters of Jesus and Mary (both based in Egypt) and the Egyptian Province of the Little Sisters of Jesus. There is also a community of male Franciscans.

Educational and health services

Most candidates for the priesthood are trained at St. Leo’s Patriarchal Seminary, in suburban Cairo. More than 100 Coptic Catholic parishes administer primary schools, and some have secondary schools as well. The church maintains a hospital, a number of medical dispensaries and clinics, and several orphanages.

Coptic Catholics have several religious orders, modelled on western monastic communities, involved in educational, medical, and charitable activities.


See also

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