Hillsborough, New Jersey (PRWEB) May 15, 2016
On May 15, 2016, Saint Mary and Saint Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church will be celebrating its 10th anniversary as a congregation. The Church is located at 211 US Highway 206 in Hillsborough, and has been a member of the Hillsborough community since June, 2015.
Saint Mary and Saint Athanasius was established in 2006 in order to serve Somerset and Hunterdon Counties in New Jersey, and, its service extended as far as Bucks and Lehigh Counties in Pennsylvania. At its inception, the church's congregation was composed of less than ten families and held services at what used to be the Third Reformed Church in the Borough of Raritan in Somerset County, New Jersey (now Shree Swaminarayan Temple).
In 2009, the congregation relocated to the parish hall of Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Manville, New Jersey. The congregation remained there until mid-2015, when it found its new home in Hillsborough, New Jersey: the former Christian Community Chapel.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Known as the ancient Church of Alexandria, it was one of the five centers of ancient Christianity along with Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome.
Saint Mark, the Gospel writer, brought the Christian faith to Egypt around 55AD. Egypt became one of the first nations to become Christian. Since the Muslim conquest of Egypt (639-642AD), it has become a Muslim country and the Coptic Christians are now the minority. However, the Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian Church in the Middle East today.
The first wave of Coptic Christians to America was in the mid 1960’s with just a small number of families. The first Coptic Orthodox Church was established in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1970 with the purchase of a Methodist Church on West Side Avenue. Currently, it is estimated that there are over 12 million Copts worldwide. The Archdiocese of North America was established in 1989 and is represented by over 300 parishes nationwide. The Archdiocese is presided over by His Grace Bishop Karas, Patriarchal Exarch for Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.