This word occurs in the Greek New Testament in Romans 9:3 and I Corinthians 12:3. It means anything (or anyone) devoted to evil. Hence, it is considered a curse. The great curse of the Coptic Church is excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine or practice as damnable.
This anathema is pronounced against heretics, usually by the authority of a Church council. Anathemas are pronounced against those who insist on contradicting the dogma accepted by the council.
Among the famous anathemas in the Church history were the Twelve Anathemas sent to Nestorius by St. Cyril and his synod. The last chapter of the Book of the Professions of the Fathers is a compilation of the anathemas of the Fathers of the Church, such as Gregory the Armenian, Hippolytus of Rome, Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodosius.