Oriental Orthodoxy means the group of Eastern Christian Churches that accept only the first three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus — and do not accept the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. These Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches. Oriental Orthodox churches are different from the churches that call themselves Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the spiritual leader of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. This is because the Pope of Alexandria is also Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle.
The spiritual leadership is not understood in the same sense as among the Eastern Orthodox Churches to the Church of Constantinople. It is in the spirit of respect and honour for the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria. It does not give any special rights to the Church of Alexandria.
The schism (division) between Great Church Orthodox and Catholic and the Oriental Orthodox Churches happened in the 5th century after the Council of Chalcedon.
- Betts, Robert B., Christians in the Arab East Archived 2013-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, Lycabbetus Press (Athens, 1978)
- Charles, R. H. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text, 1916. Reprinted 2007. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9. 
- ↑ Guirguis M. and van Doorn-Harder N. 2011. The emergence of the modern Coptic papacy: the Egyptian Church and its leadership from the Ottoman period to the present. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2011, pp. 111–127.