The Coptic Church of Egypt is one of the oldest denominations of Christianity, originating in Egypt around 50 AD, when St. Mark the evangelist landed in Alexandria, which remains the "capital" of the church today.
The Coptic Church of Egypt is a non-Chalcedonian, or Monophysite, Church. Its ethos, lifestyle, and worship are similar to the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is governed by the patriarch of Alexandria, who bears the title "pope". The Ethiopian Orthodox church was a part of the Coptic Orthodox church, and recognized the patriarchy of the Pope and Patriarch in Alexandria until 1959, when Pope and Patriarch Kyrillos VI granted the Coptic Church in Ethiopia its own patriarch.
At present, there are around 10 million members of the Coptic Church in Egypt. Due to increasing Islamic extremism, persecution and terrorizing of Copts has increased since the 1980s. There are also approximately 5 million Copts living outside Egypt.
On March 30, 2008 London Security forces ordered a "body search" for the Coptic Pope before boarding a flight to Egypt. The intervention of an Egyptian diplomat prevented a full strip and body cavity search. Later, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry threatened to treat all British diplomats the same way if this incident was repeated.
In 2007 relations between the Coptic church and churches in the West were strained when it was alleged by some in western Christianity that comments made by Pope and Patriarch Shenouda III were anti-semetic.