In the name of the One and Only God. Amen
Our Lord and Savior
Articles in this page :- The Coptic Orthodox Church
The term "Coptic" is derived from the Greek "Aigyptos" meaning "Egyptian". When the Arabs arrived in Egypt in the seventh century, they called the Egyptians "qibt". Thus the Arabic word "qipt" came to mean both "Egyptians" and "Christians".
The term "Orthodoxy" here refers to the preservation of the "Original Faith" by the Copts who, throughout the ages, defended the Old Creed against the numerous attacks aimed at it.
The Coptic Church was established in the name of Jesus Christ by St. Mark the Evangelist in the city of Alexandria around 43 A.D. The church adheres to the Nicene Creed. St. Athanasius (296-373 A.D.), the twentieth Pope of the Coptic Church effectively defended the Doctrine of Christ's Divinity at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. His affirmation of the doctrine earned him the title; "Father of Orthodoxy" and St. Athanasius "the Apostolic".
The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, are equal to each other in one unity; and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world. Less changes have taken place in the Coptic Church than in any other church whether in the ritual or doctrine aspects and that the succession of the Coptic Patriarchs, Bishops, priests and Deacons has been continuous.
The Coptic Orthodox Church recognizes the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (Eucharist), Penance, Marriage, Unction of the Sick and Holy Orders.
The Copts pride themselves on the Apostolicity of their church and on the fact that Egypt is the only land in the world to be honored and blessed by the visit by the Holy Family. The Copts also pride themselves on their Egyptian saints, theologians and scholars, who are counted among the most distinguished figures of the Christian Churches such as Origen in 185 A.D.; St. Clement 211; St. Antony the Great 250; St. Pachomius 290; St. Athanasius 296; St. Macarius 300; St. Cyril 377 just to mention a few.
The Coptic Church has always felt a mandate to reconcile "semantic differences" between all Christian churches". This is aptly expressed by H. H., Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark when he said, "To the Coptic Church, faith is more important than anything. People must know that semantics and terminology are of little importance to us".
Since the middle of this century, the Coptic Church has played an important role in the ecumenical movement. The Coptic Church is one of the founders of the "World Council of Churches". The Coptic Church is also a member of the African Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches.
The number of the Coptic Church members in Egypt alone is approximately
10,000,000 members. There are around 1.5 million Coptic immigrants living
in The United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia.
In the Holy Scriptures there are many names and titles which are applied to our Lord and saviour, Jesus. He is said to be the Word. He is called Wisdom. Light and Power, right hand and angel, man and lamb and sheep and priest. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, a vine. Justice and Redemption, bread, a stone and doctor, a fount of living water, peace and judge and door. Yet for all these names which are to help us grasp the nature and range of His power, there is but one and the same Son of God who is our God. These many names and titles belong to one Lord. Take courage, therefore. . . . and plant your hope firmly in Him. If you would learn of the Father, listen to this Word.
If you would be wise, ask Him Who is Wisdom. When it is too dark
for you to see, seek Christ for He is the Light. Are you sick? Have
recourse to Him Who is both doctor and healer. Would you know by
whom the world was made and all things are sustained? Believe in Him
for He is the arm and right hand. Are you afraid of this or
that? Remember He will stand beside you like an angel. If you are
innocent like a lamb He will join your company. If you are saddened
by persecution, take courage. Remember that He Himself went like a
lamb to the slaughter, and, priest that He is. He will offer you up
as a victim to the Father. If you do not know the way of salvation,
look for Christ, for He is the road for souls. If it is truth that
you want, listen to Him, for He is the truth. Have no fear whatever
of death, for Christ is the life of those who believe.
And thou shalt call his name Jesus ( MATT 1:21)
Prince of Peace, Mighty God,
Wonderful Counselor(ISA 9:6)
Holy One (Mk 1:24), Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Prince of Life (Acts 3:15),
Lord God Almighty (Rev 15:3)
Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5), Root of David (Rev 22:16)
Word of Life (1John 1:1),
Author & Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)
Advocate (1Jn 2:1), The Way (John 14:6),
Dayspring (Lk 1:78), Lord of All (Acts 10:36),
I AM (John 8:24, 8:58),
Son of God (John 1:24),
Shepherd & Bishop of our Souls (1Pet 2:25),
Messiah (John 1:41), The Truth (John 14:6),
Saviour (1Pet 2:20), Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20),
King of Kings (Rev 19:16),
Righteous Judge (2Tim 4:8),
Light of the world (John 8:12, 12:46),
Head of the Church (Eph 1:22),
Morning Star (Rev 22:16),
Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2),
Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11),
Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4),
Resurrection & Life (John 11:25),
Horn of Salvation (Lk 1:69),
Emmanuel (Matt 1:23, ISA 7:14)
Lord of Sabaoth (Rom 9:29, James 5:4)
Governor (Matt 2:6),
THE ALPHA & OMEGA (Rev 1:8)
Jesus demonstrated the power of God by working miracles, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. He changed water into wine. He healed the sick. He cleansed the leper. He opened blinded eyes. He stilled the storm. He even raised the dead from the grave.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written...John 21:25
One clear purpose of miracles was to authenticate the character of Jesus and his relationship with his heavenly Father. In this regard, miracles demonstrate the following: God is with Jesus (John 3:2); Jesus is from God (John 3:2; 9:342-33); God has sent Jesus (John 5:36); Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10-11; Matt. 9:6-7; Luke 5:24-25); Jesus is approved by God (Acts 2:22); the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father (John 10:37-38; 14:11); in Jesus the kingdom of God has come (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20); and Jesus is the Messiah (Matt. 11:1-6; Luke 7:18-23) and the Son of God (Matt. 14:25-33).
Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.
There is something almost impudent in Peter's telling Christ to bid him come to him walking on water. We wonder that Peter dared do it. But after he had taken a few steps and realized what he was doing, Peter's weak faith caught up with him. He began to doubt, and when that doubt took hold, he began to sink. We can understand how Peter felt, both the exaltation and the letdown. We, too, know what it means to falter in faith. But that should not keep us from striving to trust even more. Faith is demanding but only because its rewards are so great. It is the joyful living in an understanding of the Gospel's words" for with God nothing is impossible."
When the outlook is darkest, we need to exercise our faith. Christ is out there on the water calling, "Come." What a joy it will be for you and me and for Jesus if we press forward and do not let our doubts hold away. Then we, too, will" walk on the water" and not sink.
Lord, strengthen my faith that I may make you happy by trusting your power will sustain me.
When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "bring some of the fish you just caught." John 21:9-10
One is awed by the graciousness of our risen Lord Jesus. These men really let him down, fled from him in his time of need, even though he had repeatedly pleaded with them to be with him. He tends so gently to their needs to be brought into the mystery of a risen Lord and to be reconciled with him whom they have betrayed. First, he reassures them with the familiar miracle-familiar to them, associated with their calling-of a wondrous catch of fish after a fruitless night. Then with his own hands, he prepared a breakfast for them, he the Risen Lord and Master. And then he invites them to add to it what they themselves have caught-by his grace. He is not an overbearing Lord, he ever respects us and invites us freely to be part of his plan. Finally, he gives Peter the opportunity to redeem his three denials with three affirmations, before going to prophesy the ultimate triumph of Peter's love. When our God bends so low to reach to us, how can we fail to respond to such humble love? May we like Peter again and again profess our love and go all the way to prove it.
Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many? John 6:9
In the hands of Jesus, five barley loaves and two fish are more than adequate to feed the huge crowd gathered around him. There will even be leftovers. Jesus can do a lot with a little, and that is good news for us when we become discouraged by our meager resources. The miracle shows what happens when we put our meager resources into the hands of Jesus. We experience his power, energizing us with a strength we could never have by ourselves, enabling us to do more than we thought possible.
The miracle also tells us much about him. He is a hospitable God: he sees a crowd and immediately concerned about setting out a meal for them. He is a gracious God: he condescends to us with a gentle sensitivity. Rather than making a meal materialize out of his domain, he takes the little we have-five loaves and two fishes-and makes them do. And he is a God of abundance: the only thing that limits what He will give us is how willing we are to receive. Each one could have all he or she wanted. Indeed, there were twelve baskets full of left over.
Lord, expand my heart by the wonder of your goodness so that I might receive more and more of your love.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic," Child, your sins are forgiven." Mark2:5
Listen to the tenderness of this statement: "Child, your sins are forgiven."
Jesus is calling an adult, "child", a word that implies a certain dependence,
an innocence. Like a child, this man is being carried to Jesus.
Not able to get there on his own, he has faith in his friends.
He trusts them in their extravagant manner of bringing him to Jesus.
Lowering someone down through the roof certainly
is not the common way of gaining entrance to a house!
Obviously the four who are carrying the man to Jesus are faith- filled people. Their love for their friend leads them to act foolishly on his behalf. Jesus is touched by their faith, a faith that appears to be instrumental in bringing about his healing.
Perhaps Jesus is trying to teach us that we are coworkers with him. Our faith matters. think about your faith today. Where has it come from? Who has been instrumental in nurturing it? How are you living it?
Jesus, increase my faith. Enable me to act lovingly on behalf of others even if, in the eyes of the world, I appear to be foolish.
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. John 2 :11
What Jesus does at the marriage feast is the symbol of what he will later
accomplish through his passion, death and resurrection. The water stored
in the jars is the symbol of old Adam, of solidarity in human incompletion
and sin. Jesus takes this water and transforms it into wine not
just into new water, but into something totally new! The sparkling, heady
character of wine is the symbol of the experience of refreshment, enthusiasm
and exhilaration that characterize the fruits of the Spirit.
The jars of water were required for purification according to Jewish custom, before, during and after the meal. Notice that each jar contained twenty to thirty gallons when filled to the brim. This is about a thousand quarts. After the miracle, there was enough wine to satisfy an army! The implication is that there is no limit to the new wine of the Gospel.
Who are the guests? You and I, of course.
Lord, may I be grateful today for the overflowing riches of your gifts of redemption.
The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. John 11:44
Lazarus stumbling from the tomb must have made quite a spectacle.
Wrapped in the bindings of death, he probably looked both comical and macabre
as he stepped out in the brilliant sunshine. Weak and dazed, trailing burial
cloths behind him, he may have a hard time standing, let alone placing
one foot in front of the other. Those who witnessed his resurrection
must have been terrified; only later would they be able to reflect on the
other emotions his appearance conjured up for them.
The comic and macabre are not mutually exclusive. When we allow ourselves to be bound by sin and by all that is destructive, we become caricatures of ourselves: the light within diminishes, reducing us to "ghosts." In effect, we have become the living dead. Like Lazarus, we are immobilized until the Word of Life calls us forth. Then, stripped of all that binds us, we can give vent to the laughter of relief, the laughter of gratitude.
Unbind us, O God of life, that we may sing your praise.
The advent of the Holy Family to Egypt, seeking refuge, is an event of the utmost significance in our dear country's long, long history.
Moved by the spirit of prophecy, Hosea foresaw the flight from Bethlehem where there was no safe place forth Christ Child to lay his head, and the eventual return of the holy refugees from Their sanctuary in Egypt, where Jesus had found a place in the hearts of the Gentiles, when he uttered God's words: "Out of Egypt have I called My SON ". (Hosea 11: 1)
In the Biblical Book of Isaiah, the prophet provides us with a divinely inspired prediction of the effect the holy infant was to have on Egypt and the Egyptians: "Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt will totter at His Presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in the midst of it". (Isaiah 19: 1)
The authority of Old Testament prophecy, which portended the crumbling of idols wherever Jesus went, further foreshadowed the singular blessing to be bestowed upon Egypt, for its having been chosen as the Holy Family's haven, and upon its people for having been the first to experience the Christ's miraculous influence.
God's message, also delivered through the prophetic utterance of Isaiah, ''Blessed be Egypt, My People ,' (Isaiah 1 9: 25 ), was an anticipation of the coming of St. Mark to our country, where the Gospel he preached took firm root in the first decades of Christianity. For Isaiah goes on to prophecy: "in that day there Will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt; and a pillar to the Lord, at its border. And it will be for a .sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt". (Isaiah 19: 19 & 20). According to the traditions of the Coptic Church, 'the altar' mentioned is that of the Church of Virgin Mary in Al-Muharraq Monastery, a site where the Holy Family settled for a period of more than six months; and the altar-stone was the ‘bed’ upon which the Infant Savior lay.
Al Muharraq Monastery is located, literally, "in the midst of the land of Egypt"....standing at its exact geographical center. As for the "pillar at its borders.... which will be for a sign and for a witness..." surely there can be no more demonstrable, concrete proof of the fulfillment of the prophecy than that the Patriarchal See of the Apostolic Church in Egypt, established by St. Mark himself, is situated in Alexandria, on Egypt's northern borders.
But the prophecy, knitting a perfect pattern of things to come, does not stop there. It continues, "Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and will make sacrifice and offering". (Isaiah 19: 21).
As Christianity in Egypt spread, churches were built throughout the length and breadth of the land, and the sites chosen were, primarily, those which, had been visited and blessed by the Holy Family's sojourns. The New Testament records the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies as they unfold in their historical sequence.
"…….behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word, for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him ". (Matthew 2 :13).
Joseph complied. A donkey was fetched for the gentle Mother, still so young in years, to ride with her new-born Child in Her arms. And so they set out from Bethlehem on their predestined journey, the hardened old carpenter, who was Mary's betrothed, striding ahead, leading the donkey by its leash into the untracked paths of a wilderness dark as the desert nights, and unending as the months of never ending horizons.
Such an arduous journey it was, fraught with hazard every step of the way. In those far-off days, there were three routes which could be followed by travelers traversing Sinai from Palestine to Egypt, a crossing which was usually undertaken in groups, for without the protection of well-organized caravans, the ever-present dangers - even along these known and trodden paths-were ominously forbidding.
But, in their escape from the infanticidal fury of King Herod, the Holy Family - understandably - had to avoid the beaten tracks altogether, and to pursue unknown paths, guided by God and His Angel.
They picked their way, day after day, through hidden valleys and across uncharted plateaus in the (then) rugged wastelands of Sinai, enduring the scorching heat of the sun by day and the bitter cold of the desert nights, preserved from the threat of wild beasts and savage tribesmen, their daily sustenance miraculously provided, the all-too-human fears of the young Mother for her Infant allayed by the faith that infused her with His birth.
And so they arrived, at last, safely, for God had pre-ordained that Egypt should be the refuge for the One who was to bring the message of peace and love to mankind.
The tortuous trails they followed in their passage across Sinai, and their subsequent travels within Egypt, are chronicled by Pope Theophilus, 23rd Patriarch of Alexandria (384 - 412 AD). He testifies, in his celebrated annals, that on the eve of the 6th of Hathor (the Coptic month corresponding roughly with November), after long prayer, the Holy Virgin revealed herself to him and, after relating the details of the Holy Family's journey to, in, and from Egypt, bade him record what he had seen and heard. It is a source which no Christian believer would question.
Besides, it is a virtual certainty that, at a time when happenings of a momentous or historical nature were transmitted by word of mouth from one generation to the next, the account of Pope Theophilus's vision confirmed the oral tradition of supernatural occurrences which accompanied the arrival of a wondrous Child in the towns and villages of Egypt some 400 years earlier.
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