St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church

Reportedly founded in the first century, the Coptic (meaning "Egyptian") Church is one of the most ancient churches in the world. While the history of its presence in Los Angeles doesn't reach back quite that far, it has made an indelible mark on the religious landscape of the city and its various neighborhoods.

With the help of the Egyptian community already settled in the area, Fr. Bishoy Kamel came to Los Angeles from Egypt to purchase a small church in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, established in 1970, became the first Coptic church in the Western United States. A small Coptic community began to grow around the church, as it was their custom to live close to their church.

Fr. Cyril Gorgy of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church first came to Los Angeles at the age of nine. Raised practically in the church by his family, whose Coptic Christian faith followed them from Egypt, Fr. Cyril nonetheless did not pursue a life dedicated to the faith; instead he settled into a comfortable job working on freeways for CalTrans. But soon the church came calling, and with no regrets, Fr. Cyril turned his back to the civilian workforce, and entered the world of Fatherhood.

Father Cyril Gorgy: Mother Church
Fr. Cyril Gorgy describes the process in which St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church came to be established in the Pico Robertson neighborhood.


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About the Author

Yosuke Kitazawa is the Site Editor of KCET Departures.
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