There are also indigenous, black African Catholics and Protestants in Africa:
That doesn't make the Roman Catholic Church or the Presbyterian Church African in the sense that the Ethiopian and Coptic Churches are.
I'll get to the "Roman Catholic Church" in a moment, but this is comparing apples and oranges, because these churches come prepackaged to Africa, whereas African Greeks packaged the Church in Africa in Greek.
This of course predates the Church's founding: the OT was translated into Greek at Alexandria, and all us Orthodox, EO and OO, use that as our text. St. Mark was a Hellenist Africa, born in a Greek city of Africa, and wrote his Gospel in Greek.
St. Pantaenus, a Sicillian Greek, came to Alexandria and founded the Catechetical School of Alexandria to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Gospel (and who went on mission to India btw), and pasted it on to his prize pupil, St. Clement of Alexandria, who came from Athens. The School was revived by his student Origen who seems to have been a native Egyptian (perhaps even Copt). This School became a distinctive constituent part of the Alexandrian Church.
Like the above, the Coptic Father Popes. SS. Athanasius and Cyril and the others wrote in Greek although they were Copts (arguing with a Greek once about their nationality, I pointed out that no doubt like all Copts and unlikeall Greeks, they were circumcized, which is a pan-African practice btw). Even Coptic is written with the Greek alphabet, has a large Greek vocabulary (especially in Church related ideas, e.g. the native Coptic words for priest and soul, for instance, are not used for Christians: instead the Greek loan-words are used). Huge parts of the "Coptic" Divine Liturgy and other services are said in Greek even today. The Ethiopians do not use the Greek alphabet (they use an abuga which comes from South Arabia, itself from the North Semitic alphabet and thus also not from Africa), but they too have a huge number of Greek loans (whether any of their service is in Greek, I do not know).
IOW, if the Greek element was taken out of the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches, there would be a huge hole there. The same cannot be said of the European churches.
The point that Habte was making was that even though there are Africans who are Greek Orthodox and even though there have been Greeks living in Alexandria since pagan times, the Greek Church is just not rooted in Africa the way that the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches are.
We are just saying that is a hard point to argue. Just because the Greeks have flourished elsewhere doesn't make them less rooted in Africa. In fact, much of what we call Greek culture was in fact formed in Alexandria, so in many was it is not a European culture exported to Africa, but an African culture exported to Europe.
(By the way, don't the Romans have an ancient presence in Tunisia? Maybe the Roman Catholic Church really is African.)
The Father of the Latin Fathes, Tertullian, was an African, as was the Latin Father that the Vatican claims to follow above all others, St. Augustine. The Latin mass was brought to Rome by Pope St. Victor, an African, and much of the discipline of the Latin Church came out of Carthage in Africa (much of the canons of Carthage were accepted by Ecumenical Councils). A Romance language was spoken in North Africa at least until the 13th century, and maybe until the 16th century.
And I know that His Beatitude is considered the successor of St. Mark by the EO's, but the vast majority of native Egyptian Copts just don't see him that way.
No, but the native Egyptian EOs, both Greek and Arab, see him that way.
That being said, I'm siding with you guys on the point that there is nothing wrong with the EO's going into places where the Ethiopians and Copts don't already have a significant presence, and evangelizing there. There are so many millions who have not been reached by any sort of Orthodoxy, OO or EO, that I think it would be wrong for us to squabble over who should be where. (Of course, I would strongly object to any attempts at sheep stealing from one Church to the other, but I don't see where that is happening there.)
I've never heard of any problems:both EO and OO get along well in Egypt, and the rest of the continent is rather big. Both Popes signed agreements recognizing each others Holy Mysteries (something neither Copts nor EOs have done with anyone else), and I've been to several Churches given by departing Greeks (during the nationalisms of Nasser, many fled) to their Coptic neighbors in Egypt.
Also, like I said above, the Copts themselves are evangelizing Great Britain through the British Orthodox Church, and it would be hypocritical to support that while opposing the EO's in Africa.
I've heard of no conflict between EO and OO there either.
Whatever. As Ozgeorge indicated, this is getting to be a petty discussion.
Given history, especially history in Africa, they were valid questions.
I suggest we all just pray for Orthodox missionaries everywhere.
Amen! There is soon, Lord willing, going to be freedom to evangelize South Sudan soon. Let's get to it!