Coptic Christians believe Jesus to be a living manifestation of God who suffered and died for the redemption of human sin. They also believe in the Trinity: the essential unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Heavy emphasis is placed on ritual (sacramental) and ascetic practices.
Unlike some Christian denominations, Coptic Christians believe that both God and human beings play essential roles in human salvation. Consequently, faith in Christ alone is not sufficient to be saved. The individual must also perform works throughout his life, including fasting, almsgiving and receiving the prescribed sacraments. Verbal confession to a priest is considered especially necessary for true forgiveness of sins.
Baptism in the Coptic Church follows Levitical law, wherein a mother must wait 40 days after the birth of a son for the sacrament and 80 days after the birth of a girl. Adult baptism is also performed. Holy Communion is believed the most important of all the sacraments, and participants must fast nine hours before the service. Coptic Christians don't always approach the Bible literally, but they consider it "an encounter with God and an interaction with Him in a spirit of worship and piety," according to About.com. Saints and icons are also held as holy and venerated by Coptic Christians, though they are never directly worshipped themselves.