History of Coptic Catholic Church of ALEXANDRIA

Historical Note

The origin of the Patriarchate of Alexandria goes back, according to tradition, the Evangelist Saint Mark. This Patriarchate was instrumental in the universal Church during the first five centuries of the Christian era, through its scholars, philosophers and scholars: Pantene, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Dionysius, Didymus, and others; thanks to its great Patriarchs, in his admirable theologians, confessors of the faith: such Alexander, Athanasius, Theophilus and Cyril. It's in her womb was born Christian monasticism, with its great founders: St. Anthony, St. Pachomius, and Macarius.

Because of all this, it deserved the second seat after the one in Rome, decreed as the Council of Nicaea in 325, however, a division occurred within the Patriarchate in 451, following the Council of Chalcedon. The Alexandrian Church separated from the Universal Church when Patriarch Dioscorus refused the doctrine of the Council about the nature of Christ. But many remained faithful attached to the Church of Rome and were called "Melkites", that is to say, supporters of the king who defended the teaching of the Council of Chalcedon; they later took the name "Catholic". Politics played a big role in these events, as also in the following periods.

After the Council, the Patriarch of Alexandria was sometimes unorthodox, sometimes Catholic, sometimes there were two patriarchs. Often the Catholic Patriarch was Byzantine. The last of the Patriarchs was Mark II in the early thirteenth century; he wanted to abolish the Alexandrine rite and replace the Byzantine rite. Catholics opposed it and he went to Constantinople where he remained until the end of his life.

Catholics kept the rite of Alexandria, the Coptic language predominated over the Greek and later Arabic. Catholic priests came from Jerusalem to Egypt at different times of the year, to give the sacraments to the Christians who remained faithful to the Catholic faith.

The Holy See made a strong effort to restore unity. Many contacts were exchanged correspondence with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchs. A first attempt at union took place in the Council of Florence in 1443. A union paper was signed on February 4 that year, but it was not implemented. A second attempt was made at the Council of Memphis (Cairo) in 1582 and a third in 1814, but never achieve the desired results.

The Holy -Seat did not neglect the small Catholic herd of Egypt. The Franciscan Fathers who settled in Egypt in the eighteenth century were careful.

In 1741 his Holiness Pope Benedict XIV named Athanasius, Bishop and Vicar Apostolic for the Catholic Copts of Egypt. And, from that date, the Apostolic Vicar for Catholic Coptic Church has succeeded. In 1895, his Holiness Pope Leo XIII, by his apostolic letter "Christi Domini" on November 26, restored the Patriarchate of the Catholic Copts of Alexandria.

Then a decree was issued which establishes the appointment of Anba. Kyrillos Macaire as Apostolic Administrator for the Coptic Catholic community and the establishment of three dioceses: the patriarchal eparchy that encompassed all Lower Egypt (Alexandria, the Delta and Cairo) with headquarters in Cairo - the Eparchy Hermopolis (Minia) and the Eparchy of Thebes (Tahta). On June 19, 1899 Anba Kyrillos Macaire was raised as Patriarch on the seat of Alexandria. From 1908 to 1947 the leadership of the Patriarchate was entrusted to the Apostolic Administrators who succeeded as follows: Anba Sedfaoui Maximos then Anba Marc Khouzam was elected Patriarch on August 9, 1947 and inducted March 7, 1948.

The number of faithful has increased, especially in Upper Egypt, the Diocese of Thebes was divided into two parts and, on August 9, 1947, the new diocese of Assiut sprung; its first Bishop was consecrated December 18, 1947 in the person of Alexander Anba Scandar.

After the death of His Beatitude Patriarch Anba Mark II, February 2nd, 1958, the Patriarchal Synod of the Coptic-Catholic Bishops elected Anba Stephanos I as Patriarch by auxiliary who was enthroned on June 29, 1958. Thereafter, February 22, 1965, Anba Stephanos I was promoted as first Cardinal of the universal Church. He took to assist as his Excellency Patriarchal Assistant Anba John Kabes.

On February 24 1984 his Excellency Anba Andraos Ghattas, Bishop of Thebes, Luxor, was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Patriarchate. On April 19, 1986, his Eminence Stephanos I presented his resignation for reasons of age and health, the Patriarchal Synod elected, on June 9, 1986, Anba Andraos Ghattas, who took the name Stephanos II as Patriarch and was enthroned July 12 the same year. He was promoted Cardinal on February 21st, 2001. On March 27, 2006, he presented his resignation for reasons of age and health.

And March 30, 2006, the Patriarchal Synod elected his successor in the person of Anba Antonios Naguib, who was inducted on May 1st of that year. He was promoted Cardinal on November 21, 2010. He presented his resignation for reasons of age and health.

And on January 15, 2013, the Patriarchal Synod elected his successor in the person of Anba Ibrahim Isaac who was enthroned on March 12 of the same year.