Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
It is true that the Abyssinians belonged to the Coptic Church.But the rest of the statement is erroneous. Firstly, a sect is agroup of dissentient people who abandon a previous position inorder to set up a new form of Church. If the Coptic Church were theoriginal Church to which the whole Christian world adhered, then itis not a sect. All the newer and independent Churches which brokeaway from the original Church would constitute the sects. Secondly,we come to a question of fact. Was the Coptic faith the originalfaith to which all Christians adhered from the beginning? In otherwords, did St. Peter and the other Apostles belong to the CopticChurch? That is impossible, for the Coptic sect did not come intoexistence until the fifth century.
That is quite correct, but it spells death to the idea that theAbyssinian Coptic Church is the oldest form of Christianity, and tothe notion that the Church of Rome was subsequent in origin. ForSt. Athanasius, who consecrated St. Frumentius, was in completeunion with the Pope of Rome! In certain difficulties with his ownsubjects St. Athanasius appealed to the Pope, and Pope Julius I.wrote back to the rebels, "Do you not know that the ordinarypractice is first to write to us, and from Rome to receive thedecision as to what is right? Should any reproach fall upon theBishop of your city, you must undoubtedly refer the case to thisChurch of Rome." How could St. Athanasius be subject to theChurch of Rome if the Church of Rome had not yet arisen? And whatreligion would St. Frumentius preach save that professed by theBishop who consecrated him? St. Frumentius preached the Romanfaith, and lived and died without ever hearing of the CopticChurch.
Christianity was first preached in Abyssinia by St. Frumentiuswho had been consecrated Bishop by St. Athanasius in 341 A.D. Hepreached the faith of the Roman Church to which all the Christianworld adhered insofar as it was the faith St. Peter himself hadpreached at Rome. Over 100 years after the consecration of St.Frumentius, Eutyches, an Archimandrite of Constantinople, wascondemned as a heretic at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Refusingto submit, Eutyches commenced the Monophysite heresy. Now someBishops from the Abyssinian Church founded by St. Frumentius 110years earlier were present at the Council of Chalcedon. They thenacknowledged the jurisdiction of Pope Leo I. But they becameinfected by the Monophysite heresy, went back to their own country,broke away from the authority of Rome, and commenced that sect whichtoday is called the Coptic Church of Abyssinia. The word"Coptic" means "Egyptian," and the"Copts" are simply the descendants of the Monophysiteheretics in Egypt. As you will notice, the Coptic sect is very old.It is over a thousand years older than any Protestant sect. Butstill it did not begin until over 400 years after the foundation ofthe Catholic Church. And when you realize that it is now just about400 years since Protestantism began, you will understand that theCatholic Church is a good deal older than the Coptic Church.