Chronology of Catholic Dioceses:The Coptic Catholic Church

See a list of abbreviations used in this list.

1: Historical Background

2: Jurisdictions

1: Historical Background

A formal union between the Catholic and the Coptic Orthodox Churches took place with the signing of the document «Cantate Domino» by a Coptic delegation at the Council of Florence on 4 February 1442. But, because this act was not supported in Egypt, it had no concrete results. Another attempt was made 150 years later. The ineffective union of 15 Jan 1595 and 28 June 1597 appears to have broken down by 7 Oct 1602 over issues of autonomy and obedience to the Pope.

The first significant activity of Catholic missionaries among the Copts took place in the 17th century, with the Franciscans in the lead. A Capuchin mission was founded in Cairo in 1630, and in 1675 the Jesuits began missionary activity in Egypt. During the same century a number of lengthy but fruitless theological exchanges took place between Rome and the Coptic Church.

In 1741 a Coptic bishop in Jerusalem, Amba Athanasius, became a Catholic. Pope Benedict XIV appointed him Vicar Apostolic of the small community of Egyptian Coptic Catholics, which at that time numbered no more than 2,000. Although Athanasius eventually returned to communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church, the line of Catholic Vicars Apostolic continued after him.

In 1824, under the mistaken impression that the Ottoman viceroy wished it to do so, the Holy See erected a Patriarchate for Coptic Catholics, but for now it only existed on paper. The Ottoman authorities permitted the Coptic Catholics to begin building their own churches in 1829.

In 1895 Pope Leo XIII re-established the Patriarchate, and in 1899 appointed Bishop Cyril Makarios as Patriarch Cyril II «of Alexandria of the Copts». Soon great difficulties emerged, especially with respect to the financial dependence of the patriarchate on Rome, and the Patriarch became embroiled in controversy, and felt compelled to resign - actually, was suspended - in 1908. The Patriarchal see remained unoccupied until 30 dec 1927 when Bishop Markos Khuzam was named as administrator. Only after a probationary period of twenty years, on 9 August 1947, was he permitted to occupy the Catholic patriarchal see as Mark II.

While the offices of the patriarchate are located in Cairo, the largest concentration of Coptic Catholics have always been in upper Egypt.

There were at the end of 1998 six Coptic Catholic jurisdictions, and 198.000 Coptic Catholics.

-CT (Based on Robertson 1995 and AP 2000, with input from Mr. James A. Derrick, based on the Coptic Encyclopedia)

2: Jurisdictions

1824
Alexandria [Copt.] (Patr., detached from the Latin jurisdiction of AV of Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Cyprus) - Egypt
1824
Alexandria [Copt.] (patriarchal eparchy, history follows that of the Patriarchate itself) - Egypt
1895
Alexandria [Copt.] (Patr., reestablished, detached from the Latin jurisdictions of Egypt AV, and from Nile Delta AP) - Egypt
1895
Luqsor or Tebe / Luxor or Thebes [Copt.] (detached from the Latin jurisdiction of Egypt AV) - Egypt
1895
Minya [Copt.] (detached from the Latin jurisdiction of Egypt AV) - Egypt
1908
Alexandria [Copt.] (Patr., vacant) - Egypt
1947
Alexandria [Copt.] (Patr., revived) - Egypt
1947
Assiut [Copt.] (detached from Luqsor [Copt.]) - Egypt
1981
Sohag [Copt.] (detached from Luqsor [Copt.]) - Egypt
1982
Ismayliah [Copt.] (detached from Alexandria [Copt.]) - Egypt
av Webmaster publisert 08.09.2004, sist endret 08.09.2004 - 12:11