Because it rejected the Council of Chalcedon of 451, the Coptic Orthodox Church does not recognize the Catholic pope and instead has its own pope, who is the bishop of Alexandria and claims apostolic succession from St. Mark.
Its highest form of worship, akin to the Catholic Mass, is the Divine Liturgy.
The Coptic Orthodox Church, an Oriental Orthodox Church, is not to be confused with the Coptic Catholic Church, which is an Eastern rite Church in full communion with Rome. Most of Egypt’s Christian minority of about 10% of the total population are Coptic Orthodox Christians, along with a few Maronite and Latin rite Catholics.
Why are they persecuted?
Coptic Christians have been a frequent target of terrorism in Egypt, especially since the rise of the Islamic State. Beyond a general anti-Christian sentiment among Muslims, Egypt’s Copts have been accused by their Muslim neighbors of aiding the rise to power of the President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who came to rule after the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted in a 2013 military coup and who has enjoyed the public support of Coptic leaders.
In Feb. 2015, the Islamic State released a video online showing masked fighters beheading 21 men as they knelt on a Libyan beach wearing prison-style orange jumpsuits. The Egyptian government and the Coptic Orthodox Church later confirmed the video's authenticity, and the men are now honored as saints in the Coptic church.