Saturday, March 10, 2018

Churches founded by Jesus’ disciples or their disciples—the Other Catholics

The Coptic church in Egypt used to be one of the largest and best known Christian churches, second only to Rome, until the Arab invasion in 641. It was founded by the gospel writer, Mark, the disciple of Peter, and Coptic Catholics still have the succession of their Patriarch (Pope) from him to this day. The current patriarch is Anba Ibrahim Isaac. The 200,000-member Catholic Church has 14 dioceses in Egypt, including pastoral services for Latin, Melkite, Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite and Syriac Catholics. The Coptic Orthodox church is much larger--I'm assuming both claim St. Mark and all the early church fathers. Since the 1940s, many Coptic Christians have settled in the U.S., more are Orthodox than Catholic.

The first European monarch to accept Christianity was King Tiridates IV (also called III) of Armenia. This church was established by Jesus' apostles, Thaddaeus and Bartholomew. Known today as The Patriarchal Armenian Catholic Church. Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan was elected Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians July 24, 2015. He succeeds former patriarch Nerses Pierre XIX Tarmouni, who died June 25, 2015.

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