Coptic Orthodox festival is aimed at educating others (USA)
- Coptic Orthodox festival is aimed at educating others Coptic Orthodox Christians in the Twin Cities are feeling a little misunderstood. So they're throwing a party.
Last update: September 01, 2006 5:23 PM
COPTIC ORTHODOX FESTIVAL
A free festival featuring Egyptian food and crafts for sale, music and cultural exhibits and church tours.
Where: St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, 501 6th Av. S., South St. Paul.
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Sunday.
Information: 651-455-8947 or www.stmarycoptic.mn.org.
Coptic Orthodox Christians in the Twin Cities are feeling a little misunderstood. So they're throwing a party.
The public is invited to a festival at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church in South St. Paul next weekend that aims to educate church neighbors and other nonmembers about these Christians of Egyptian heritage, one denomination in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. "There is so much misunderstanding about Arabs, the Middle East and religion," said church member Basma Ibrahim DeVries, an assistant professor of communication studies at Concordia University in St. Paul. "Many people don't know that most American Arabs are Christians, or anything about the Coptic faith or culture." St. Mary's, Minnesota's only Egyptian Coptic church, is a close-knit, growing congregation of about 170 families -- 400 people -- who have emigrated from Egypt to Minnesota over the past 50 years, said longtime church member Adel Mikhail, 71, of Bloomington. "People are still moving here, partly for greener economic pastures, partly because the situation in Egypt can be uncomfortable for
Christians," he said. Coptic Christians are a religious minority in largely Muslim Egypt. The Coptic Orthodox church, one of several churches in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, was founded in Egypt by St. Mark the Evangelist in the first century A.D., and remains based in that country under the leadership of Pope Shenouda III. In the third century, during Arab rule, many Egyptians converted to Islam. Those who remained Christian called themselves Copts. There are about 10 million Coptic Orthodox Christians worldwide, according to www.coptic.net, a church encyclopedia. North America is home to about 120 congregations, with large communities in New York, California, Texas and Canada, Mikhail said. Services at St. Mary's, whose priest is the Rev. Youannes Tawfik, are conducted in English, Copt and Arabic. Pamela Miller 612-673-4290
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