On January 7 2016, Coptic Christmas will be celebrated with Church services, family, feasts and gifts. In Australia, Coptic Orthodox Churches will commemorate the Feast of the Nativity with services on January 6.
The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions, His Grace Bishop Suriel will share his Christmas message of hope and love.
"The past year has seen many hardships for our church, with the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya in February and the continued persecution of our brothers and sisters in Egypt and the region," he said.
"Our church, the oldest Christian Church in the Middle East, has survived for centuries and together we can overcome hatred with love and forgiveness."
The Church has also achieved significant success this year with the establishment of the first Coptic Orthodox Monastery for Nuns in Australia and the remarkable progress of Eporo Tower, a new Coptic heart for Melbourne's CBD.
Members of the media are invited to attend the service. Filming and photography is permitted.
What: The Feast of the Nativity
Where: St Mark Coptic Orthodox Parish at 42 Gilbert Road, Preston
When: 9pm on January 6 2016
Other Coptic Orthodox Churches in Melbourne will also be commemorating the Feast of the Nativity and media attendance can be negotiated upon request.
- St Athanasius Church, Donvale
- Archangel Michael & St Anthony, Oakleigh
- St Bishoy & St Shenouda, Bulleen
- St George, St Albans
- St Mary, Kensington
- St Mina & St Marina, Hallam
- St Verena & St Bishoy, Armadale
- St Macarius the Great, Lalor
- St Paul the Apostle, Bendigo
Coptic Orthodox Church
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East. The Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated regions is led by His Grace Bishop Suriel and comprises Coptic communities in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, New Zealand and Fiji. One of the oldest Christian churches in the world, it began in 55AD when Saint Mark the Apostle arrived in Egypt. Today there are 12 million Copts worldwide. The word ‘Coptic’ means ‘Egyptian’ and is derived from the Greek word ‘Aigyptos’.
Alex St Claire