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Christianity / Orientations / Roman Catholic / Eastern Rite /
Coptic Catholic Church

Coptic Catholic Church: Major church in central Assyut, Egypt.
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Major Coptic Catholic church in central Assyut, Egypt.

Coptic Catholics by country
Last column: % Coptic Catholics of the population
Egypt 210,000 0.3%
210,000 0,05%
Other countries 10,000

*) Calculated for the total population of North Africa and the Middle East, approx. 460,000,000.

Coptic Catholic Church: Icon of Jesus, Assyut.
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Icon of Jesus, reflecting largely standard Catholic styles.

Coptic Catholic Church: Priest of the major church in Assyut.
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Priest of the major Coptic Catholic church in Assyut.

Semi-autonomous Christian church in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, through the affiliation with the Eastern Rite.
Historically, several centuries before a branch of the Coptic church joined the Catholic church, there were Roman Catholics in Egypt. These had importance for the eventual conversion of the Coptic Catholic group, as they were a bridge to many groups and individuals in the Coptic community as a whole.
The church's centre is in Alexandria, while there are dioceses in: Minya, Assyut, Sohag, Luxor and Ismailia. Most of the Coptic Catholics live in the middle of Egypt, around the cities with dioceses.
There are no monasteries in the Coptic Catholic Church, in stark contrast to the Coptic Orthodox Church, but also well as the Roman Catholic Church.

Earlier history, see Coptic Church.
1443: A Coptic delegation signs an agreement to create a union between its church and the Roman, called Cantate Domino, at the Council of Florence. But this attempt was not supported by Coptic leaders in Egypt, so none of the plans were carried out.
1630: A Capuchin mission is established in Cairo.
1675: Jesuits start their mission activity in Egypt.
1741: The Coptic Bishop of Jerusalem, Athanasius becomes a Catholic, and converts his bishopric of 2,000 adherents, to Catholicism. Still, his church retains much of its character and independence. Athanasius later returns to the Orthodox branch, but the Catholic congregation continues.
1829: For the first time, Ottoman authorities allow the Coptic Catholics to build their own churches.
1893: 10 churches are given to the Coptic Catholics by the Franciscans in Egypt.
1895: The Coptic Catholics are divided into 3 dioceses.
1899: The Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria is appointed, but resides in Cairo.
1908: The patriarchal vicar, Bishop Cyril introduces certain Latin rites, and a controversy breaks out between the Coptic Catholics. The seat of the Patriarch remains unoccupied for about 40 years.
1947: A new Patriarch is elected.

By Tore Kjeilen