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Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony
Coptic Orthodox Church of Richmond

The word “Copts” is taken from the Greek word “Aigyptos,” which was derived from “Hikaptah,” one of the names for ancient Memphis, the first capital of Egypt. Today, the term “Copts” or “Coptic” commonly refers Egyptian Christians; it is also used for the ancient Egyptian language and the distinctive architecture and art that developed by the early Egyptian Christians.

The Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony Coptic Church is a member of the Coptic Orthodox religion. The Coptic Orthodox Church is comprised of three main churches. These are the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Both t he Ethiopian and the Eritrean Orthodox Churches acknowledge the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria as their honorary mother church. According to the Coptic Orthodox Church Network website, the Coptic Orthodox religion was founded when the Apostle Mark visited Egypt in 42 ACE and formed the Church of Alexandria. Since that historic event, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria has grown into the largest Christian Church in Egypt. In fact, more than eleven million individuals, totaling 95 percent of Christians living in Egypt, belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

The Coptic Orthodox Church separated from the Eastern Orthodox Church (which at the time was still part of the Catholic Church) over theological differences following the Council of Chalcedon in 451 ACE. Many centuries later, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have made efforts to resolve some of their differences. For example, since the 1980s, baptisms and marriages performed by each church are recognized by both churches.

As the Egyptian population began to expand rapidly during the middle of the twentieth century, it caused a Diaspora of the “Copts” from Egypt. Many Copts moved and settled in North America, Europe, Australia, Sudan, Israel, and other part s of the world. Since the 1940s, many the Copts started to immigrate into the United States. This immigration of the Copts has continued, and today there are an estimated two hundred Coptic Orthodox Churches with over 400,000 members located throughout the United States.

Some of the central doctrines of Coptic Orthodox Church are the observation of the seven canonical sacraments that include Baptism, Christmation, Eucharist, Confession, Orders, Matrimony, and Unction of the sick. Additionally, non-clerical members of the church, such as the Coptic Lay Council and the lay-clerical committee, are a vital part of the church and are involved in the church administration. The worship services are liturgical. The three Liturgies of the Coptic Orthodox Church are the Saint Basil, Bishop of Caesarea; the Liturgy according to Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople; and the Liturgy according to Saint Cyril I.

The Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony Coptic Church was founded in 1993. During its early years, worship services were held in the Chesterfield Baptist Church located in Moseley , Virginia . The church completed its own building in 2006, and on February 25 the congregation held its first service in the new sanctuary. Worship services at the Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony Coptic Church are held weekly, alternating between Saturday and Sunday. The congregation is small in size congregation, numbering 150 to 200 members. The congregation consists of primarily middle class families of all ages, and most members are of Egyptian descent. The Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony Coptic congregation supports the Coptic Orthodox Church Network along with many other Coptic websites that promote the tradition of the Copts.

Archangel Michael & St Anthony Coptic Orthodox Church
6650 Elkhardt Road
Richmond, VA 23225
(804) 622-8566

Sources:
Archangel Michael & St Anthony Coptic Orthodox Church website
Coptic Orthodox Church Network website

Profile prepared by John Lack
May, 2007

 

 

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