Our History

The Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Washington DC (SMCOC) was originally established in 1976. We started with a very small congregation of about 80 families that were dedicated to the idea of bringing the rich Coptic Orthodox faith to the area in and around our nation’s capitol while establishing dedicated facilities for them to practice their faith and instill these values in their children.

The first church building was in Vienna, VA. The congregation quickly outgrew the venue as more members joined. The church growth was attributed to an influx of Copts in the Washington Metro area, from Egypt and other parts of the USA; as well as to outreach services of church servants and priest.

New members expressed appreciation of the rich church history and feeling love and acceptance from the church community. The constant increase in the size of the congregation motivated a dedicated effort to look for a new site where adequate facilities can be established to serve the growing needs of the Coptic community in the area.

In 1992 an appropriate 2.5 acre plot of land was identified in Fairfax, VA (current site). Shortly after, it became the long-term location of the church. Saint Mark’s spiritual services and ministries grew alongside the congregation. To support growth, the Church expanded by acquiring the surrounding plots of land and buildings to reach its current size of 17 acres.

SMCOC aims to maintain the spirit and tradition founded by St Mark the Evangelist 2000 years ago when he erected an altar for God in the land of Egypt through its growth. In all its services and activities, the Church provides a warm environment for all members while maintaining the traditional customs and rites of the Coptic Church.

The mission of Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church is to help everyone grow in fervent love of Jesus Christ. We are a local church with a global impact. We hold fast to the Orthodox traditions, but incorporate a modern and progressive approach to the richness of the Faith.

Our church focuses on being diverse both in membership and service. Everyone is welcome to join us in worship, weekly Bible Study, and Sunday School. We offer dozens of various outreach programs throughout the greater DC area, around our country, and the world. We are currently sending missionaries to areas in need such as New Orleans, NY, KS, Bolivia, Mexico, Zambia, and Kenya. In addition, through Hope Clinic in Fairfax, VA, we are providing free medical care to those in need.

Please contact us for more information or to see how you can volunteer!


About the Logo

In 2011 we redesigned our logo to better reflect our church ministry. It was designed to include a traditional Coptic Orthodox cross overlaid on the globe. We feel this is a true reflection of the church mission: to hold to the traditional Coptic Orthodox faith while bringing that faith to the rest of the world. We do so by living our lives according to the words of Christ: “love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31.