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Anastasia1
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« on: August 24, 2010, 04:31:44 AM »

As I understand, the Armenian church will require chrismation but not a second baptism, but the Coptic church would require me to be baptised again. I was baptised Lutheran. Why the second baptism and why the difference?

What are some of the other differences between Armenian Orthodox and Coptic?
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 01:45:55 PM »

Hello Anastasia1,

From what I understand, there are two views of baptism, not just within OO's, but even EO's have similar views.  I will mention the differences, and I assume the Armenians have the same reasons, but an Armenian can correct me if I'm wrong.

For the Coptic Church, baptism MUST be performed in its entirety by an Orthodox priest, and secondly must be performed within Orthodox faith.  Therefore, Lutheran baptism, even if they be triple immersion, is not Orthodox, and the priest is not Orthodox.  We accept even EO baptisms because we believe the faith is the same, based on the Pauline verse, "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism."  Therefore, whatever happened in the Lutheran Church, it's as if you were never baptized, and Copts would advise that it must be done not just correctly, but in the correct context by the correct person.

For the Armenian Church, I believe they see that the baptism that is performed, as long as it is performed correctly, then all one needs is that the priest of the Armenian Church to bless the baptism that was already performed as Orthodox, and thus acceptable enough.

When it comes to inter-OO relations on how baptism is conducted and accepted, no answer is given.  Would there be a problem when someone accepted in the Armenian Church through Lutheran baptism would be able to partake of Coptic communion?  My personal answer is NO, but some priests might be a bit more strict and have a problem with that.  In any case, if you wonder about how the ancient historical Church conducted "heretical" baptisms, both views are well within Orthodox tradition.  Therefore, whichever way you choose, I personally see no problem with it.  The Coptic Church just happens to be quite ultra-strict Orthodox in this issue.

God bless.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 02:29:17 PM »


For the Coptic Church, baptism MUST be performed in its entirety by an Orthodox priest, and secondly must be performed within Orthodox faith.... We accept even EO baptisms because we believe the faith is the same, based on the Pauline verse, "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism."  Therefore, whatever happened in the Lutheran Church, it's as if you were never baptized, and Copts would advise that it must be done not just correctly, but in the correct context by the correct person.

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon? Also, if the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Coptic Church, the second chrismation of Orthodox Christians is not needed either.
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 05:02:18 PM »


For the Coptic Church, baptism MUST be performed in its entirety by an Orthodox priest, and secondly must be performed within Orthodox faith.... We accept even EO baptisms because we believe the faith is the same, based on the Pauline verse, "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism."  Therefore, whatever happened in the Lutheran Church, it's as if you were never baptized, and Copts would advise that it must be done not just correctly, but in the correct context by the correct person.

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon? Also, if the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Coptic Church, the second chrismation of Orthodox Christians is not needed either.

Well, a dialogue occurred a couple of decades ago that the Coptic Church seems to respond positively to.  As for sacramental theology, if you look at the context of the whole sacramental theology of the contemporary Coptic Church, to accept the baptism of the Eastern Orthodox is a big deal, and it represents the Coptic Church's expression of accepting the EO's as Orthodox.  The Coptic Church wouldn't even accept Catholic baptism.  The only difference is that the other sacraments seem to represent that while we are one in faith in baptism, we are still in schism with all other sacraments.  Whether or not there's validity to such thought is another debate.  But this is how I understand the practice of the Coptic Church.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 08:13:15 PM »

The Coptic Church wouldn't even accept Catholic baptism.

I know people who were baptised Roman Catholic who were later chrismated into the Coptic Church. The bishops who allow this are probably in the minority, but I'm assuming they'd be admonished if it wasn't kosher.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 08:15:03 PM »


For the Coptic Church, baptism MUST be performed in its entirety by an Orthodox priest, and secondly must be performed within Orthodox faith.... We accept even EO baptisms because we believe the faith is the same, based on the Pauline verse, "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism."  Therefore, whatever happened in the Lutheran Church, it's as if you were never baptized, and Copts would advise that it must be done not just correctly, but in the correct context by the correct person.

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon? Also, if the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Coptic Church, the second chrismation of Orthodox Christians is not needed either.

Are you suggesting the Armenian Church is stricter about this than the Copts?  Armenian priests here in the US will commune EO's as they are, without even requiring any conversion at all.  Do they require baptism for EO's before they can be communed in Armenia?  

Maybe there needs to be a discussion about this among the bishops of our Church.  There needs to be more uniformity.  I don't mean among the OO's, but among the Armenians.  I know one Armenian priest who requires Protestants to be baptized, even if their Protestant baptism was in the name of the Trinity.  Most Armenian priests here, however, will receive a Protestant by Chrismation.  And then we have someone here at OCnet who says he recently saw an Anglican receive communion without any conversion at all:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29376.msg464733.html#msg464733

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29415.0.html

It's not my intention to be critical of our Church.  It's just that maybe this is something that needs to be addressed.    
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 11:51:10 PM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 08:29:08 PM »

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon?

Oh brother. This issue is really starting to get tiresome.

BTW, not all Copts agree with that position.

"All the noise" was supposedly "just politics".  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2010, 04:26:32 AM »


For the Coptic Church, baptism MUST be performed in its entirety by an Orthodox priest, and secondly must be performed within Orthodox faith.... We accept even EO baptisms because we believe the faith is the same, based on the Pauline verse, "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism."  Therefore, whatever happened in the Lutheran Church, it's as if you were never baptized, and Copts would advise that it must be done not just correctly, but in the correct context by the correct person.

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon? Also, if the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Coptic Church, the second chrismation of Orthodox Christians is not needed either.

Are you suggesting the Armenian Church is stricter about this than the Copts?  Armenian priests here in the US will commune EO's as they are, without even requiring any conversion at all.  Do they require baptism for EO's before they can be communed in Armenia?  

Maybe there needs to be a discussion about this among the bishops of our Church.  There needs to be more uniformity.  I don't mean among the OO's, but among the Armenians.  I know one Armenian priest who requires Protestants to be baptized, even if their Protestant baptism was in the name of the Trinity.  Most Armenian priests here, however, will receive a Protestant by Chrismation.  And then we have someone here at OCnet who says he recently saw an Anglican receive communion without any conversion at all:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29376.msg464733.html#msg464733

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29415.0.html

It's not my intention to be critical of our Church.  It's just that maybe this is something that needs to be addressed.    

Dear Salpy, where did you read in my words anything about the Armenian Church? My question to Mina was somewhat rhetoric and I wanted to show that if someone is really considered orthodox, as he mentioned, then it is not logical at all to chrismate such a person. Then the Copts, like us, the Armenians, must allow the EO believers to commune in their churches freely. But if there is a second chrismation for them, then they can't be considered orthodox. Either this way, or that. That was the whole matter in my post.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2010, 04:45:18 AM »

So the Eastern Orthodox are orthodox for the Copts? Then what was all that noise that arose around the Council of Chalcedon?

Oh brother. This issue is really starting to get tiresome.

BTW, not all Copts agree with that position.

"All the noise" was supposedly "just politics".  Roll Eyes

Firstly, I'm not a brother. Sorry for disappointing you Smiley
Secondly, when you read the writings of those miaphysite Fathers who wrote against the Council of Chalcedon in those "fresh" times, you'll understand it was not just politics. Yes, politics had its role too, I don't deny it, but it was not the first and the only factor. For example, if, one day, you have the possibility to read the book by Timothy of Alexandria against Chalcedon (Fr Peter said it is being translated now by someone), you'll understand that such books couldn't be composed because of "just politics", otherwise we have to admit the composers of them and all their successors had serious mental disorders or were great actors and pharisees. Far be it from us to think such things about our Fathers.
Thirdly, I have never discussed and am not going to discuss EO-OO relations, the Council of Chalcedon and other such topics here to make anyone tired of this. Simply because I consider all such "union" verbal attempts redundant. That's just my opinion, of course.
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2010, 04:52:06 AM »

What are some of the other differences between Armenian Orthodox and Coptic?

Dear Anastasia, since your question remained unanswered, I'll try to answer it as much as I can.

Some similarities and differences between these churches. We are considered one family because we both only accept the first three ecumenical councils. We both add "who were crucified" to the Trisagion, we both use Muron when consecrating the icons (the Syriac Church, for example, does not use Muron in this case, just like the EO Church). We both make the sign of cross moving the hand from left to right. We both may kneel during the Liturgy on Sundays, something not allowed in the ancient rules of the Armenian Church but which is not observed now any more. The Calendars of both Churches have preserved the ancient 50 days of not fasting after the Easter (well, the Syriac Church has preserved this too). Though since the Middle Ages the Armenians have changed this a little: we start fast on Wednesday and Friday preceding the Pentecost, the Copts don't do this. Both Churches (and the Syriac church too) have a fast, commemorating the Prophet Jonah and the repentance of the people of Nineveh. The Copts observe it 3 days, the Armenians - 5, though in the Armenian Church that fast is not called "Fast of the people of Nineveh" but of Catechumens. However, this is the same fast because of the time of the year when it is observed and the fact that the only biblical scripture read during this fast in the Armenian Church is the book of Jonah the Prophet and only he and the repentance of the people of Nineveh are commemorated during this period. But, in their principles, the Calendar of the Armenian Church is very different from that of not only the Coptic Church but also other Churches.

Some differences: The Coptic Church doesn't have a rank like that of the vardapet of the Armenian Church. The hour prayer services of the two Churches are very very different. We both pray and sing during the hour prayersl the Copts don't sing and some parts of the prayers are not even said aloud but in their mind, in silence, even the prayer "Our father" or the Trisagion. The Copts have a special night service, called "Tasbeha", during which they only sing, praising God and His saints. The Armenians have been used organ since 1925 in the churches, the Copts don't use this western instrument during services, but they use two kinds of percussion instruments - some kind of ancient and simple cymbals. The Armenians and Syriac Christians don't have iconostasis. The Copts have. The deacon in the Coptic Church can't incense, only priests are allowed to do this, while in the Armenian Church deacons do this. The Bread and Wine of the Communion are given separately in the Coptic Church, they are given together in the Armenian Church. Inside the church men and women stand in separate wings in the Coptic Church, in the Armenian Church this is not so. During some fast periods the Copts are allowed to use fish; according to the rules of the Armenian Church this is not allowed in any of the fasts, if, of course, one observes these rules.

Well, these and many others are, of course, minor and unessential differences. There is a theological difference too though. It concerns the so called corruptibility or incorruptibility of the Lord. In one of our recent topics I made an attempt to explain this difference as much as I could. The other differences are just cultural, I think, and of mindset. The Armenians are more tolerant towards the Christians of other Churches and more secular generally. Perhaps because we have lost the monastic tradition of our Church. The Copts, unlike us, have many monasteries both for men and women with wonderful and child-like monks and nuns there. I think, those simple people of the Coptic monasteries are the happiest people of this world. But if you read the stories and words of the holy Fathers of the Egyptian deserts of the 4th-5th centuries, you'll understand that the spirit of the Coptic monasticism has changed during centuries: well, at least, it is not like the one we see in those ancient stories where the accent is put on tears, repentance, sadness for sins, silence. Today's Coptic monks and nuns like to joke and laugh a lot Smiley. Also, they don't drink wine Smiley. But they can eat meat.

Well, I also remembered that it is not allowed to make the sign of the cross after certain point of the Liturgy in the Coptic Church. After that certain point if a priest says "Peace to all" and you make the sign of cross, it will be a serious mistake. Never do that Smiley. LOL I have never understood this rule and its strictness but then I'm not a Coptic Christian. In the Armenian Church we always make the sign of the cross after the words "Peace to all" and also can do it when approaching the Chalice of Communion, something not allowed in the Coptic Church. We don't use a napkin to cover our mouth after taking the Communion; the Copts use special napkins to cover their mouths after taking the Body, but can't use them after taking the Blood. Also, if you're in a church where the Copts take the shoes off before approaching the Chalice of Communion (I don't know if this is so also in the USA), be sure that you will not put others' shoes on in your confusion when you go back to them after taking Communion Wink. Also, if on some feast days or ceremonies in the church you suddenly hear some kind of shrill sound like whistle in a Coptic church, don't be frightened, please, saying, "What's happened, what's happened?" Smiley It's their way of expressing their joy and congratulating. In the Armenian church we don't have this custom.

Well, the Copts use both Arabic and Coptic in their services (also a little Greek), and English, of course, in English speaking countries. The Armenians use mostly Grabar, the Classical Armenian which is a hindrance for many people from understanding what's going on during the services.  Sadly Sad.
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Anastasia1
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2010, 04:34:31 PM »

Also, if you're in a church where the Copts take the shoes off before approaching the Chalice of Communion (I don't know if this is so also in the USA), be sure that you will not put others' shoes on in your confusion when you go back to them after taking Communion Wink.
Wow, that was a very helpful post-best in the thread Smiley. Thank you. BTW, in at least some Coptic churches in the US, they take off their shoes.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2010, 05:30:46 PM »

Also, if you're in a church where the Copts take the shoes off before approaching the Chalice of Communion (I don't know if this is so also in the USA), be sure that you will not put others' shoes on in your confusion when you go back to them after taking Communion Wink.
Wow, that was a very helpful post-best in the thread Smiley. Thank you. BTW, in at least some Coptic churches in the US, they take off their shoes.

I agree with Anastasia, this was a very helpful post. I knew there were some differences b/w us but never any specifics. Kind of makes me appreciate the OO faith even more. If I can also add in, about the shoe thing, I've never seen a Coptic church in which people do not take off their shoes. Though I've only seen churches in the USA everyone tells me its even more strict in Egypt. Sometimes people do not take them off while they're standing in the pews (for the most part they do take them off from what I've noticed), but NEVER do they come up to take communion or enter the Altar with shoes on. Some bishops/priests/deacons wear special "shoes" however," which are primarily intended to keep both the feet and the altar clean (thus they are only worn during the service and never any other time).

They usually look like this, either all white or white/black bottom:
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2010, 05:36:19 PM »

From what I understand from Salpy, the issue of the body of Christ was an issue of semantics, not something that divides us dogmatically.  For instance, what we understand as Julianism, we consider a serious heresy bordering on docetism.  From what we understand, the Armenians don't believe in that.

God bless.
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2010, 08:22:57 PM »

From what I understand from Salpy, the issue of the body of Christ was an issue of semantics, not something that divides us dogmatically.  For instance, what we understand as Julianism, we consider a serious heresy bordering on docetism.  From what we understand, the Armenians don't believe in that.

God bless.

Yes, I've been told repeatedly that whatever association we had with Julianism was repudiated after the Council of Manzikert.  Julianism is a heresy condemned not only by the Copts, but also by the Syriac Orthodox and other Oriental Orthodox, as well as the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics.  In other words, it is condemned universally by the entire apostolic Christian world.  The Armenian Church likewise rejects it.  That is what I have been told more than once.  One may find language used by our Fathers emphasizing that Christ is morally pure, and that he had control over when to allow His body to bear the blameless passions.  This is not specifically Julianism, though, but rather a teaching embraced by all Christian Churches.
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 09:20:33 PM »

I'm going from Protest baptism to Armenian. So if after my chrismation, if I visit a Coptic church, should I either talk to the priest before I visit or refrain from communion?  Is there any issue like that with the Syriac church?
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2012, 01:27:29 AM »

My understanding is that as long as you are a member of the Armenian Church, the Copts will commune you, even if you were received in a way that was different from how they would have received you.  You may want to speak to the priest at the Coptic parish to make sure, but I would be surprised if you were denied communion.
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2012, 05:34:52 PM »

good replies.

u can definitely commune in a coptic church as an armenian orthodox Christian, but usually it is good to meet or telephone the priest beforehand, or stand in the queue (line) with someone the priest recognises, mainly so he knows you go to confession regularly.
this is to prevent you receiving judgement from God for communing without repentance.

only once i communed before knowing the priest, then i was late as well!
i went up to the priest and asked 'i'm i bit late, abouna (father), may i take Holy Communion?',
to which he nodded and gave me Holy Communion.
he came up to me at the end of the service to greet me and apologised for changing the service time to
start earlier than on the website! (one of the humblest priests i ever met) i then explained where i was from and in which church i became orthodox (being a very pale person, i was obviously not egyptian). i learnt very much from this priest and others in the church.

but generally you should speak to the priest first.
major coptic liturgy 'rules' (also common in some other churches):
always stand up for the gospel.
also stand up whenever the deacon says 'stand in the fear of God'.
bow your head, do a waist bow or kneel or prostrate when the deacon says 'bow your head before the Lord'
and also during the absolution (starts with the words 'your servants, oh Lord') towards the beginning of the service. this is a good time for remembering your sins and repenting.
other than this, you can stand, sit or kneel as you think is appropriate.
contrary to popular practice, copts are not supposed to kneel on sundays, but most don't realise it.
i think it's because church is often on a friday in egypt.
i was immediately recognised as a copt by an antiochian priest once because i had kneeled during the great entrance (when the Body and Blood come around the church). i didn't know about the sunday thing then.

never kneel after Holy Communion! you have taken the Body and Blood of Jesus, so you should not make any prostrations till the next day.
we don't take Holy Communion during our monthly periods (send p.m. for any questions or thread will be derailed!), nor does a man after a nocturnal emission of semen or anyone with a bleeding cut.
yes, take your shoes off for communion. we can't believe people commune with shoes on, it's just a cultural hang up, not an article of faith, but it's a strong cultural hang up! for us it would be like taking your shoes off in the house and putting them on an expensive sofa or on the dinner table.
having said that i forgot once!  Shocked (it was a very cold day)
i noticed on the way back, and just managed not to freak out publicly!

so, also, bring really thick socks if your area has cold winters! put them on over your normal socks as you go forward. i have communed in 3 pairs of socks before when it has been below zero with broken church heating!

about when to make the sign of the cross, lots of people do it at the end of the service when apparently they shouldn't. i don't think it's a very big deal.
we generally make the sign of the cross a lot. it should be at times when it fits in with your personal prayers (echoing the public prayers around you). so it's not such a synchronised thing. you don't have to enter a competition to see who does it the most, it just looks like that!
 Wink

oh, and other 'rules':
if there is no projector, pick up a service book so you don't get lost.
anyone with english writing on it will do (unless u speak arabic). it will be called the 'kholagy'.
if / when you get lost, don't worry, if you can't understand what is going on, read parts of the kholagy and pray to God.
if they say abfjafd abadfjb;aej bajb;iaer (2 minute mumble), that's the Lord's prayer (said fast with a thick accent in english, it is not clearer than in arabic!) and e;kf aiog djaf ephr adjf  uhbhb aekrj cyda njt (5 minute mumble) is the nicene creed.
on one of those times you get lost, look out for these parts in the service book in advance and mark them (unless you have memorised them) so you can join in during the mumble.
the Lord's prayer is said at least 5 times, so if you recognise it, it's a good way of working out where you are in the service.

last rule:
don't worry to much about the rules. i have broken all of them and didn't get excommunicated (yet).
remember to pray to God and he will guide you through!
 Smiley

edit: could vas tearn give us a similar list of what to do / not do in the armenian church?
then i can go and visit :-)
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