St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church

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St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church
St Mary Coptic Orthodox Church ( Coptic: Ϯⲉⲕ'ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⳿ⲛⲣⲉⲙ⳿ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⳿ⲛⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ ⳿ⲛⲧⲉ ⲑⲏⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ // transliteration: ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos ente fi.ethowab Maria) is one of the oldest Coptic Orthodox churches established in Pennsylvania. It is one of over 200 Coptic Orthodox Churches in the US.

History
St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church is the second Coptic Orthodox church that was established in Pennsylvania, and was incorporated by 1975 with only 3 families at the time. It is located at the village of Silver Spring, Pennsylvania, a small, unincorporated town that has a relatively large proportion of Christian Orthodox Copts. The oldest parish in Pennsylvania, which was incorporated in 1973, is St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Expansion
The year 1977 marked the first pastoral visit by HH Pope Shenouda III to the US and Canada, including St. Mark's Church in Jersey City, the first Coptic Orthodox Church in the United States. Ten years later, in January 1987, the building of St. Mark's Church was newly refitted and consecrated. After a certain period of time, the small congregation of St. Mary's Church, with much help from the late Fouad Gad Youssef, founded the current building on Marietta Ave in 1980—with only five families at the time. The current building of St. Mary's Church of Lancaster, as it is often known, was consecrated by a Coptic Orthodox Bishop in September 1982.

Today
The Church was visited in 1989 by Pope Shenouda on his second visit (the first one being in 1977) to North America. Interestingly enough, this was the same year where the pope visited every Coptic parish in the US and Canada. Ever since the first two visits, Pope Shenouda has visited both Canada and the United States for every year afterwards. St. Mary's Church, being located in Eastern Pennyslvania that is near the large Coptic population in New Jersey, was also visited by other Bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church, although St. Mary's Church is already served by Fr. Estephanos A. Hanna. Over the years, St. Mary Church of Lancaster has grown exponentially in recent years to over 125 families, serving congregants from Lancaster, Columbia, York, and Reading.