Metro Detroit's second Egyptian Orthodox church has inaugural mass today

The inaugural mass of a second Coptic Orthodox church in metro Detroit will be held today in Detroit, a sign of the growing Egyptian-American Christian community.

The Holy Cross Coptic Orthodox Church will be on the second floor of a building at the St. Andrew House Center for Orthodox Christian Studies in Detroit near I-96 and Telegraph Road. It’s intended to attract Egyptian Orthodox Christians from western Wayne County and the Ann Arbor area.

The first Egyptian Orthodox church in metro Detroit, St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Troy, has about 700 families and started in 1975. There are about 2,300 Egyptian-American Christians in metro Detroit, said local leaders. In Michigan, there are roughly 3,400 residents of Egyptian descent, some Christian, some Muslim, and about 220,000 nationally, according to census figures.

While Michigan is known for its sizable Arab-American population, its Egyptian-American community tends to be smaller compared with communities in states like New Jersey and California.

The new congregation will be smaller, part of a trend that allows people to better connect with the church and each other, said Mark Michail, a board member of the new church whose late father used to be the priest at St. Mark.

“There’s been a huge growth in expansions of churches” in the Egyptian community nationally, Michail said. “They want a smaller church, something they feel is theirs, something homey.”

Today’s mass will be conducted by the three priests at St. Mark and will be attended by the national head of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Nathaniel, and a bishop with the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Holy Cross is the fifth Coptic Orthodox church in Michigan. The others are in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Mio, Mich.

The service will last about 2½ hours, followed by lunch.

Source: Detroit Free Press