It seems like every Sunday, there’s a new face sitting in the pews of the Church of Saint Verena and the Three Holy Youth in Orange, Calif. Most are young professionals or families with small children and some have been living in the United States for a just few weeks.
“The first waves of immigration,” said Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii.
These worshippers are Egyptian Christians, better known as Copts. Their church is Coptic Orthodox, the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East with services similar to other Christian faiths. They perform sacraments like the Catholics and recite prayers many faithful Americans would recognize, including “Our Father” and “Hail Mary.” Mass is spoken in a mix of English, Arabic and the ancient Coptic language.
“We are Christians,” said Bishop Serapion. “We believe in the Holy Bible as the word of God.”
While small, the Coptic Christian population in the United States has been growing since the 1950s, particularly in Southern California, New York and New Jersey. But since the Arab Spring began in early 2011, Department of Homeland Security figures show the number of Egyptians seeking asylum has doubled. Unofficial estimates are that 100,000 Egyptians have so far sought refuge in the U.S. Many of them are believed to be Copts but there are no official statistics on their numbers.
Read More at foxnews.com . By Melissa Chrise.
Photo Credit: John H. Wright (Creative Commons)