Tagged with Orthodoxy

Jesus Baptized Peter, Others

As we mix and mingle with Orthodox Christians in Egypt, it is not irregular to discover items in the faith that do not square exactly with what we were taught in Protestant circles in America. This week, while at an end of year conference for the Coptic Bible Institute I have been attending, I learned … Continue reading

Daddy – Daughter at the Monastery

My daughter Emma is soon to be five years old – getting old enough to enjoy the occasional Daddy – daughter date. The idea came up when I was invited by friends at the Coptic Bible Institute I attend to go to the Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel in the Fayyoum region of Egypt. This … Continue reading

A Christian Face to the Protests

Sunday, February 6 witnessed a peculiar exhibition amidst the drama unfolding in Tahrir Square. Christian Egyptians publically conducted a prayer service, honoring their fallen co-demonstrators who have died in the effort to topple the Mubarak government. Calling them ‘martyrs’, as is common Egyptian custom to designate all who perish in a cause or as a … Continue reading

Christmas Conversion Conversations

Note: I wrote this piece shortly after Western Christmas, but a few lines needed more consideration, and we delayed publishing. Then, Alexandria happened, and I forgot all about it. Even so the theme, if not exactly the title, is fitting with what has taken place in this country. —— One of the topics I am … Continue reading

The Happiest Christmas of My Life

You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. How is Christmas held in mourning? For the Coptic community of Egypt, Christmas is traditionally a time of celebration. Midnight on Christmas Eve ends a forty-three day period of fasting, concluded during mass in which the Eucharist is served. Afterwards, families congregate and break the … Continue reading

Weekly Meeting with the Pope

Pope Shenouda (87), head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, is a busy man. For 39 years he has presided over the spiritual – and often political – affairs of Egypt’s Christians, having become pope in 1971. Underneath him are over 100 bishops who administrate local and international dioceses as well as specific programs and activities … Continue reading

Orthodoxy, Year Two

How long do experiments last? What does commitment mean in an experiment? Is it right to experiment with church? Having returned from a short vacation in America, we are now beginning our second year of life in Egypt. The first year was very good, and we are happy to return. While acknowledging our status as … Continue reading


Tonight I attended the weekly service at the local international evangelical church.  We attend there sporadically, maybe once every three months, as we have been worshipping at the Orthodox Church, hoping to learn more and participate in the primary church of Egypt. Since it was the first Sunday of the month, as is typical in … Continue reading

This Also is True

The central feature of the Coptic Orthodox liturgy is the celebration of communion. Consumed as the final element of the mass, much of what comes before is preparation. Early on, before most people arrive, are Bible readings and traditional hymns, followed by a sermon aimed to connect both to the Gospel text of the day … Continue reading

From Poverty to Riches

Note: This text was prepared recently but recalls a personal trip I took with my family to visit Maghagha during the Coptic Christmas holiday in January 2010. While there we visited Holy Family sites, but also a rapidly developing pilgrimage center focused on the memory of Fr. Abd al-Masih al-Manahari. Upon watching the film produced … Continue reading

Easter, Reluctantly

Easter in Egypt is a negotiated reality; this is true for both the nation’s Christians and myself. All last week at work I wondered about the holiday schedule. Ours is a multi-religious and liberal office; if someone wishes a religious holiday, they can pretty much have it. The Copts who work with us would take … Continue reading

A Departing Third Opens an Unclear Future

Yesterday, March 10, 2010, the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar died of a heart attack while visiting Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi led the inimitable institution, considered by many if not most Sunni Muslims to be the leading Islamic university in the world, since his appointment by President Mubarak in 1995. Together with President Mubarak and … Continue reading

Coloring Theology

What do you notice in this picture? Try to identify subtle messages before you read on. This picture was a product of craft time in our home. Julie distributed several coloring sheets printed from the internet, and Emma and I were taking daughter-daddy time sitting at the dinner table applying color to white spaces. Emma’s … Continue reading

Finding Church (part three)

In early October we began this blog, and after the opening post our next two entries were about the challenge of finding a local church in which to worship. In part one we described our general attitude toward this process, and in part two we described some of the local options from which to choose. … Continue reading

Coptic Conference, Egyptian Triumph

The two items in the title today bear no relation to one another except for the day. In the end, it was a true Egyptian experience. This past weekend the class I am with at the Coptic Bible Institute – its actual name is the Institute for Orthodox Doctrine and Spiritual Guidance – had its … Continue reading

Bishop Marcos on Nag Hamadi

The recent killings in Nag Hamadi have engendered various reactions throughout Egyptian society. Some have cursed the darkness, while others have closed up their eyes and ears altogether. Some, however, have been spurred to action, but sensitivity, distance—geographically and culturally, and ignorance make it terribly difficult to know what to do. We at the Center … Continue reading

A Priest’s Opinion on Nag Hamadi

During our stay in Maghagha for Coptic Christmas, we got to see Christian reactions first hand as the news about the killings in Nag Hamadi began to spread. We discussed this somewhat in our reflections on Day One and Day Two of our Christmas celebration. There was shock, discouragement, and resignation. Sadly, many Copts believe … Continue reading

Coptic Christmas: Day Three

Today we visited two “Holy Family Sites” near Maghagha.    For those who know the Bible story, you may remember that due to the threat of Herod’s soldiers coming to kill the babies under age 2 in Bethlehem, Joseph took his small family down to Egypt before returning to Nazareth.  From what I know and remember, … Continue reading

Coptic Christmas: Day Two

The lack of sleep did cost us the next morning, though, as we were due to pay a visit to the area bishop for breakfast at 8:00am sharp. In the Coptic Orthodox Church the bishop is only one level below the pope, and carries great authority and responsibility. Christmas duties pressed on everyone, but he … Continue reading

A Coptic Christmas of Joy and Sorrow

There is complicating news today. It is significant enough that you may already know about it. Six Christians and a policeman were killed today in an ambush as they were exiting midnight mass in an Upper Egyptian town to the north of Luxor. I wish to be careful in conveying information because I have been … Continue reading