Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America

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The Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America is an independent body which is not recognized by or in communion with any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches including the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Synod in Exile, headed by Abuna Merkorios or the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Synod in Ethiopia led by Abune Mathias. Instead, it is associated with a number of Episcopi vagantes organizations including the Apostolic Episcopal Church, the African Orthodox Church and the Russian True Orthodox Church of North America.[1]

History[edit]

The group claims Apostolic succession through the Alexandrian and Ethiopian line, claiming to have been established by an Ethiopian prelate called Abune Mikael, who, according to the group's account, established the Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America, reinserting the name “Coptic” into the name of the church in 1962. This event is not corroborated by the records of either the Coptic or Ethiopian Orthodox Churches.[2]

Canonical status[edit]

The Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America is not in communion with or recognized as a canonical body by any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church or either of the Ethiopian Orthodox Synods, that of Abune Mekorios or that of Abune Mathias. Nevertheless, although the group has no official contact with or recognition by the Coptic Orthodox or Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, it claims to recognize the Coptic Pope Theodore II, and Abuna Merkorios of the Ethiopian Orthodox Synod in Exile as legitimate patriarchs.

References[edit]

Independent Bishops: An International Directory”. Edited by Gary L. Ward, Bertil Persson, Alan Bain. Preface by J. Gordon Melton. Apogee Books, Penobscot Building, Detroit, Michigan 48226, U.S.A.