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Author Topic: The Coptic Church  (Read 12743 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: April 26, 2004, 08:19:43 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Please forgive my ignorance, but I truly know very little about the Coptic Church and have some questions, that I thought somebody might be able to answer, or direct me to sources that could answer my questions.

1) Did the Coptic Church ever embrace the heresy of Monophysitism (sp?), and if so when, and does it still embrace such beliefs today?

2) Does the Coptic Church claim to be the true Church? What I mean is, does it believe the rest of Orthodoxy to be in schism? If not, does the Coptic Church embrace some type of branch theory including the other Orthodox Churches?

3) What role did/does the Coptic Pope have? I am assuming it is one of a Patriarch, and nothing more....

4) Which liturgy does the Coptic Church use?

Thank you and God bless!
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2004, 08:39:20 PM »


Christ is Risen!

Please forgive my ignorance, but I truly know very little about the Coptic Church and have some questions, that I thought somebody might be able to answer, or direct me to sources that could answer my questions.

1) Did the Coptic Church ever embrace the heresy of Monophysitism (sp?), and if so when, and does it still embrace such beliefs today?

2) Does the Coptic Church claim to be the true Church? What I mean is, does it believe the rest of Orthodoxy to be in schism? If not, does the Coptic Church embrace some type of branch theory including the other Orthodox Churches?

3) What role did/does the Coptic Pope have? I am assuming it is one of a Patriarch, and nothing more....

4) Which liturgy does the Coptic Church use?

Thank you and God bless!

1) Depends on what you mean by monophysitism.  If you mean the heresy of Eutyches, no.  Cyrillian terminology (one-nature)? Yes.

2) Coptic Church believes itself to be true Church but has vague ecclesiology as far as Eastern Orthodox are concerned.

3) The Coptic Pope is in almost complete control of the Coptic Church, which goes back to the Council of Nicaea.

4) The Coptic Church uses the liturgies of St Basil (not the same as Byzantine), Mark/Cyril, and Gregory.

anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2004, 08:48:47 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

Please forgive my ignorance, but I truly know very little about the Coptic Church and have some questions, that I thought somebody might be able to answer, or direct me to sources that could answer my questions.

1) Did the Coptic Church ever embrace the heresy of Monophysitism (sp?), and if so when, and does it still embrace such beliefs today?

I'll do my best to answer your questions.  I stand to be corrected by any other Coptic Orthodox Christians posting here who are more knowledgeable than myself.  In answer to your first question, no, the Coptic Orthodox Church never embraced the Monophysite Heresy.  Eutyches, the Constantinopolitan monk who promulagted this heresy, taught that the human nature of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ was swallowed up by His Divinity like a drop of ink in the Ocean.  The Coptic Orthodox Church, along with her sister Oriental Orthodox Churches, has always clung to the teaching of St. Cyril, that Our Lord Jesus Christ has one united nature which is both fully human and fully Divine, without confusion, comingling, alteration, division, or change between the two.

2) Does the Coptic Church claim to be the true Church? What I mean is, does it believe the rest of Orthodoxy to be in schism? If not, does the Coptic Church embrace some type of branch theory including the other Orthodox Churches?

Presently there is a schism between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the Coptic Orthodox Church acknowledges that the Eastern Orthodox also profess the Orthodox Faith.  With God's help, we hope that this schism will soon be healed.  The Coptic Orthodox Church considers itself to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, along with the Ethiopian, Syriac, Indian, Armenian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches.  The Coptic Church does not believe that it constitutes the "true Church" all by itself, but it is a part of the true Church along with the rest of the Oriental Orthodox Communion.  I personally believe that the Eastern Orthodox are also a part of the true Church, and that our separation is only apparent.

3) What role did/does the Coptic Pope have? I am assuming it is one of a Patriarch, and nothing more....

The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch held the title of Pope before the bishop of Rome began using it.  It came from the local term for father ("Papa" or "Baba" depending upon your pronunciation...).  St. Mark was the first to hold this title.  The Pope of Alexandria does not claim to be the head of the entire Universal Church as the bishop of Rome does, but he does have special authority in the See of St. Mark, which comprises all of Africa.  For example, the Coptic Pope consecrated the first independent Patriarchs for Ethiopia and Eritrea.

4) Which liturgy does the Coptic Church use?

The Coptic Orthodox Church uses the Coptic liturgies of St. Cyril, St. Basil, and St. Gregory.  Byzantine Orthodox would find the structure of these liturgies similar to the liturgy of their own Church.

I hope that I have answered your questions.

In XC,

Nick
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2004, 09:14:46 PM »

Ok.....no one can laugh at this question......

Can one convert to the Coptic Church?

I mean I'm sure one could, but generally is the Coptic Church open to this? I'm sure some one must know what I'm saying. I know some Churches are not always open to western converts, is the Coptic Church amoung these?
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2004, 09:29:46 PM »

Interesting...this isn't a question but just interesting.......I was reading HOMOSEXUALITY AND ORDINATION OF WOMEN BY H.H. POPE SHENOUDA III (http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/ordofwom/index.html) and was surprised when I read:

Does the Coptic Church have a view on the use of artificial
contraception?

Yes, we accept it if it is not a way of abortion. This means if it
is used to avoid, rather than terminate, a pregnancy. However,
once a pregnancy has occurred, than it is a sin to abort the baby,
even if its age is only one hour. So, it is acceptable only to
prevent pregnancy.


----------------------------------------------

Interesting.....liberal view on birth control.....yet if you read the document..VERY conservative view on Homosexuality....

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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2004, 10:56:00 PM »

Hi Ben,

Yes, the Coptic Orthodox Church is certainly open to converts, both Western and non-Western.  For example, the Coptic Orthodox Church was invited to many sub-Saharan African countries by the indigenous churches there, which rejected the Western Christianity (mostly Protestantism) of their former colonial masters.  They desired an Apostolic connection to the original Christian Church.  After decades of teaching and work, large numbers of people have become Coptic Orthodox, and many indigenous clergy have been ordained.  In most of these sub-Saharan Churches, there is hardly a single Copt present, although the people use the Coptic liturgy in their own vernacular.  Such Churches exist in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and many other countries.

In Europe, Churches have been established for French nationals, and I'm sure that you have heard of the British Orthodox Church (http://www.britishorthodox.org) which is also under the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  There is also a Coptic Orthodox Church in Bermuda and one in the US Virgin islands.  Local people are the clergy there as well.  Here in the US, the Church is just beginning its missionary outreach.  There are several non-Copts in my Church, my unworthy self included.

As to the views of the Church on homosexuality and Birth Control, I agree with His Holiness on both counts.

In XC,

Nick
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2004, 10:59:24 PM »

Nick,

I'd like to read more about the progress of the Coptic Church in sub-saharan Africa.  Can you reccomend any books/websites?  Thanks!

David
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2004, 11:19:16 PM »

Here in the US, the Church is just beginning its missionary outreach.  There are several non-Copts in my Church, my unworthy self included.

There is a Coptic parish in my area, well not really my area, but in the Denver metro area. And since I am in Denver often, I plan on visiting the parish. I also plan on contacting the priest there, if the parish has a full time priest - I don't know if it does- so that I may learn more about Coptic Christianity.

Quote
As to the views of the Church on homosexuality and Birth Control, I agree with His Holiness on both counts.

Interesting. As I am sure you know the Catholic Church condemns birth control, officialy that is, and from what priests have told me so do some conservative Orthodox jurisdictions, like ROCOR and the JP. I have been told the Church fathers condemned birth control. I am wondering if this is true. And I am wondering how un-official Orthodox opinion is regarding birth control.

Thanks! Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2004, 11:21:04 PM »

Hi David,

Unfortunately, most of the links I usually follow (on this page http://www.coptic.org/africa.htm) seem to be down.  But a few are working here: http://www.geocities.com/copticafrica/ here: http://www.careinaction.org/africa.htm and here: http://www.st-peter-st-paul-coptic-orthodox-church.org/africa.htm .

H.H. Pope Shenouda III ordained H.G. Bishop Antonius Markos, who has great missionary zeal, as the Bishop for African Affairs.  He travels throughout the continent, his main base being in South Africa.

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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2004, 11:22:45 PM »

Interesting, thanks again for the links!
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2004, 03:32:21 PM »

Thanks Antonios for your replies. I agree fully.

Ben,
I am a Coptic Orthodox. Our church is open for Western, Eastern and any ethnic background.

Regarding homosexuality, you can find the official position of the Coptic Church on the latest development in the following articles:
http://www.suscopts.org/messages/articles/homosexuality.html
http://www.suscopts.org/messages/articles/homosexuality_hsynodstatement.html

You will for sure figure out by reading this article, and also after talking to a priest and visit the Coptic Church (or any of its OO sister Churches), that we are not liberal at all. We are a very conservative church, and that's why we conserved the faith like St.Mark delivered it to us in Alexandria around 40 a.d..

I recommend, in addition to the sites Antonios recommended, to visit
www.suscopts.org (specially the Literature/Resources and Q&A section)
www.coptichymns.net
www.orthodoxbookstore.org (has books from other orthodox writers as well)
www.copticpope.org

Let me know of you need more info.
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2004, 04:09:52 PM »

Thanks Stavros.  PiChristos Aftounf!
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2004, 05:53:50 PM »

khen omethmi aftonf, brother Antonios...
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2004, 08:33:11 PM »

Forgive me for jumping into this thread, but my curiousity can no longer be reigned in.

I have never been to a Coptic Orthodox Church myself, although the Coptic Church has always peaked my interest, because I've always worried about sticking out like a sore thumb if I visited my local Coptic Church.

I was wondering, do any Coptic Churches in the U.S. use English for the entire length of the Liturgy?

I am asking because if the occasion ever came up that I would be able to overcome my first fear of sticking out, my second greatest fear is not being able to follow along and participate in the liturgy.

If anyone happens to know, please let me know.

In Christ,
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2004, 08:57:24 PM »

Aaron, I have the same fears.
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2004, 09:03:35 PM »

I personally have not attended a parish where the Liturgy was all in English.  In Albany, the parish I used to go to used a lot more English than the one here at home (which, last Sunday, used almost no English), but in each case, three languages were in play: Arabic, Coptic, and English. (in order of usage, although the usage of Arabic and Coptic may have been equal, but I think there may have been a little more Arabic).
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2004, 09:06:54 PM »

P.S.  Don't be afraid to stick out.  I know I am afraid of that sometimes, but it's really not all that bad.  At least most of you probably don't have it as bad as I do.  I stick out in ethnic churches where I'm not of the majority ethnicity, and I stick out in more "American" churches because I'm not white.  Smiley

As far as the Liturgy goes, I tried using Coptic liturgical books in the Albany parish, but could never follow them, even when I had an idea of what was going on in spite of the foreign languages used.  I would like to buy a copy of their Liturgies and Agpeya for personal study.
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2004, 11:40:29 PM »

Please don't worry about sticking out.  Speaking from my own experience, Coptic people are not really hung up on ethnicity (despite the stereotypes of "ethnic Orthodox" being cold to "outsiders").  My Church is of course majority Coptic, but there are also several Eritreans, a couple of African-Americans, and also some white people.  The priest has made a special effort to use more English in the Liturgy and to give the sermons in English.  In the other Churches I have visited, the amount of Arabic to English varies depending on the number of converts and young people in the Church, as opposed to elderly or middle-aged people directly from Egypt who are more comfortable praying in their native language.  Of course, there is always a lot of Coptic, because that is the liturgical language.
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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2004, 12:12:35 AM »

Quote
I would like to buy a copy of their Liturgies and Agpeya for personal study.

Mor,

Perhaps for the time being, you might enjoy being able to use the Agpeya by downloading it to your computer or pda.

Here is a link:

http://www.agpeya.org/

Quote
Please don't worry about sticking out.  Speaking from my own experience, Coptic people are not really hung up on ethnicity (despite the stereotypes of "ethnic Orthodox" being cold to "outsiders").

Antonius & Mor,

Thank you both for your kind words or reassurance, I appreciate that very much. I have heard that when non-Copts visit a Coptic Church that the parishions there are most hospitable and that they enjoy others visiting and learnign more about their faith. I know a couple gentlemen who run a restaurant near my job who are Coptic Christians and they are very kind. We once spoke about their Church for a few minutes when they and I had the time to do so.

They invited me to their church, which happens to be the local Coptic Church and you may visit their site, which is located here:

http://www.stmarkchicago.org/

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2004, 03:25:45 PM »

Thanks for the links Aaron!  You know, I often hear the negative stereotype bandied about that "ethnic" Orthodox Christians (Eastern and Oriental) are frosty to outsiders.  I know that there is some reality to this, but I think that it has been blown out of proportion over the years.  I am glad to hear that your experiences with the Coptic Orthodox faithful have thus far been pleasant ones, and I hope that this will continue when you visit the Church.  May God bless you.

Nick
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2004, 02:44:08 AM »

Hi Ben and everyone else,

If I may throw in my 2 cents worth here, I can speak about the hospitality of the Coptic Christians towards non Copts, as I am an Eastern (Greek) Orthodox who has been praying with the Copts for the last 17 years.

As many of you have stated before, the Copts are hospitable and welcoming to non-Copts. They like to share the rich heritage of their ancient Church with those who are not familiar Orthodox/Coptic Christianity. That being said, you must know that the Copts, like the Russian and ROCOR Orthodox Churches, are very careful / vigilant about administering the sacraments only to Christians who are in communion with the Coptic/Oriental Orthodox Churches. This is especially true when taking communion. If you are standing in line to take communion and the priest does not know you, he may bluntly ask, “Who are you? Where are you from? Are you baptized Orthodox?” To some who are not familiar with the Orthodox Church, this direct line of questioning may be offensive. I do recall a number of times where I was standing in line waiting to take communion and heard the priest ask those same questions with a tone that may sound intimidating. Just be aware that the priests are very jealous for the sacraments and that is why they are reluctant to commune someone unfamiliar to them. The best way to avoid this situation is to let the priest know ahead of time that you would like to attend the liturgy and you are here as a visitor. They will be very welcoming I assure you.

I know that many of you might live in a city where there is only one Coptic Church, but I actually live in a city that has approximately 20 Coptic Churches and a Bishop (Serapion) dedicated to that area of Southern California, which is the best situation one can hope for. Here is the link to all the Churches near by in LA:

www.lacopts.org

As a matter of fact we have enough converts and inquirers into Coptic Orthodoxy that the Church of Saint Cyril was established to pray the entire Liturgy in English. A priest, who is an American convert to Coptic Orthodoxy by the name of Fr. Bishoy Brownfield, heads this Church. Here is his info:

http://www.lacopts.org/general.php?id=P975



For those of you who are considering visiting a Coptic Church, don’t be intimidated by the fact that they use three languages in the Liturgy, English, Coptic and Arabic.  The priests have to cater to a large Egyptian immigrant community, but I guess that’s the case with all other “Ethnic” Churches.

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2004, 06:25:46 PM »

An account of modern missionary work in Sub-Saharan Africa by the Coptic Orthodox Church can be purchased here. I enjoyed readig it.

https://www.orthodoxbookstore.com/product.details.aspx?productid=327

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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2004, 06:59:08 PM »

I can 2nd the friendlyness of the Copts, my brother introduced me to one in Las Vegas, he's of Syrian roots and has no problem embracing us & talking for hours.

Although he is not keen about Israel, very very bad for traveling to & in.

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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2004, 07:31:18 AM »

Copts aren't allowed at present to travel to Israel.

I mean the Church does not allow this.

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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2004, 05:27:48 AM »

Why does the Coptic Church disallow members from travel to Israel?

As far as anyone else here knows, is this true only of the Coptic Church, or is this the case with other NC churches?
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« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2004, 03:13:07 PM »

Why does the Coptic Church disallow members from travel to Israel?

Because Pope Shenouda III insisted in 1977 that no Arab Christian would visit Jerusalem until they could visit alongside the Muslims, as they (Egyptian Copts) were being lumped together with Muslims or just as "Arabs."  This action (of Pope Shenouda III) was provoked by Israeli attacks on places like Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, which are all primarily Christian Palestinian towns that are attacked by the Israelis every day.

No clue about the other NC churches' stances.
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« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2004, 07:15:52 PM »

No other Oriental Orthodox Churches, to my knowledge, ban members from going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Just four years ago, a group from my church went with our priest to visit the holy places, and celebrated the Liturgy at Saint Mark's Monastery.
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« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2004, 03:26:21 PM »

Do the other NC churches use the same liturgy of Saint Basil as the Coptic?  I was reading on the Ethiopian church site (eotc I think) and they had some creeds but was not the Nicene Creed.

Thanks.
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« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2004, 04:11:14 PM »

The Ethiopian liturgy is derived from that of the Coptic Liturgy of St. Cyril (or of St. Mark) but differs in that it contains 14 Anaphoras. Its recitation requires at least two priests and three deacons. The Anaphora most frequently used is that of the Twelve Apostles. Others are used on certain special saint days and in some monasteries.  The EOTC also recites the Nicene Creed, and no other.

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« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2004, 04:21:55 PM »

Thanks for the reply. I was a little confused with the wording.

http://www.eotc.faithweb.com/orth.html#DOCTRINES

Our Church has received and teaches the faith which was formulated at Nicaea. In the Creed or in the name of Nicaea she makes known her faith after this fashion:
We believe in one God, in the Lord the Father, who holds the whole world, omnipotent, who created everything visible and invisible in heaven and in earth (Gen. 1, 20; Neh. 9. Rom. 1.20).
We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Son of the Father, who was with Him before the Creation of the world. Light begotten of Light, True God begotten of True God, not created. He is equal with the Father. There is nothing in heaven and earth which exists without Him. Mt. 3,17, In 1. 1,4.

For us and for the salvation of men He came down from heaven; by the operation of the Holy Spirit He put on flesh of the holy Virgin Mary and became man. In the time of Pontius Pilate He was crucified for us, suffered and died and was buried, and on the third day He was separated from the dead and rose, and with glory He ascended to heaven and sat on the right hand of His Father, and He shall come again in honour and glory that He may judge the living and the dead, and there is no finish, no end of His Kingdom. Mat. 1: 20,21; I Pet. 3. 18; Phil. 2. 6,8; Rom. 5. 8; Cor. 15. 3,4; 1 Pet. 3. 19,20.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord who saves, Hc who proceeds from the Father; together with the Father and the Son we worship Him, we honor Him, we glorify Him. Jn. v. 3, 4; Jn. xv. 26.

And we believe in one Holy church, which is over all, the assembly and congregation of the Apostles, Eph. ii. 19, 20,22.

And we believe in one Baptism, that it was given for the forgiveness of sin. Eph. 4. 3,6; Ps. 32. 1,2; Eph. 1. 6.

And believing in the resurrection of the dead, we hope for everlasting life to come. Jn. 5. 285,29; 1 Cor. 15. 22,24; Jn. 10. 27, 28 ( The Teaching of the Abyssinian Church ) .

The dogmas we believe are contained in this symbol of the Faith. No one has any right to add to or take from it. Other dogmas are contained in the dogmatic definitions of the Third Council in Ephesus which declared that Christ is one in hypostasis, perfect God and perfect man, is the Son of God, without a mother on the higher plane, and the Son of His Mother without a father on the lower. His ever-Virgin Mother is properly and truly called the Mother of God, as having properly and truly given birth in the flesh to God the Logos. Back

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« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2004, 07:13:05 PM »

I have found this thread most interesting, as a convert to the Orthodox Faith who has always been interested in the Oriental / "Non-Chalcedonian" Churches, particularly the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

When I visited the Liturgy at an Ethiopian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, I was mostly warmly welcomed by the community. Some members of the flock even showed a confidence beyond my actual abilities to pick up the Ge'ez and Amharic texts and to sing along with the ancient and complex Ethiopian chant (which the parishoners generally knew by heart).

I have moved some distance since then, but I miss it [and, even, might even someday "convert" to the Ethiopian Church].

As a personal reflection, although this Church, which is in full communion with the Coptic Church of Egypt, has some local / national traditions, but I was overwhelmed with a sense that anyone familiar with the more Byzantine (or Syriac) traditions would immediately feel right at home, and know that, indeed, this is the True Faith, part of the Universal Church.

As a sidenote of doctrine, the Ethiopian Church uses the word "Tewahedo" (roughly, "oneness") as part of its official name; this word is used to emphasize the Oneness of the Nature of Christ - which, as I understand the Oriental Churches' position to be, was threatened or inadequately expressed by the Council at Chalcedon.

This, however, has nothing to do with the solid belief of the Coptic and Sister Churches that Christ Is fully God and Fully Man, the Mystery beyond human comprehension which the first and commonly-accepted Oecumenical Councils affirmed.

The "Monophysite" label - and, especially, how it has been interpreted in the West, is [I believe] largely a linguistic and political split.

(an opinion not shared by all, so I ask their forgiveness - but stand by this belief...!)
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« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2004, 07:26:29 PM »

... oops, as an erratum, "but I was overwhelmed" should read "I was overwhelmed... "

Another thought:

The Ethiopian Orthodox [and Copts, perhaps] in North America are in a somewhat similar situation to Greek, Russian, and other immigrants a century or so ago;

There are some differences, as the more recent immigration is often of highly-educated and articulate individuals, often young people and young families -

And, as Ethiopia is a diverse nation composed of many ethnic groups, but united (among the Orthodox) by The Church, Ethiopian parishes may be both arenas for ethnic communities within a new country and a uniting point among peoples who already are diverse in subcultures of language and ethnic identity (i.e., Amharic, Tigre, Eritrean, etc.).

... and American society and the world community has / is going through continual change, of course...

This is just a generalization, and perhaps of little value, but it is worth consideration regarding fears of visiting a Coptic or Sister Church.

There is likely to be a degree of ethnic character to any particular parish, therefore, but there's no reason to presuppose that the church community would not be receptive to a visitor (at least as good or better a chance as with a more "established" ethically-based parish).

The chances are very slim, to be sure, of being boiled in oil as an intruder - certainly before coffee hour [or comparable institution] is over.

The Ethiopians I met seemed a bit overwhelmed that an American would appear with an interest in their ancient and venerable Chuch and Nation!
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« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2004, 07:52:26 PM »

P.S. to Aaron and Ben -

As I'm of Celtic and Angle-ish stock, I suppose I did stick out like a sore thumb amongst a congregation of otherwise [mostly] native-born Ethiopians;

I did get a real sense, though, that to some degree there was a sense of identity by unity in the Church, rather than by shade of skin; this may have to do with Ethiopia's long ties to a mother Church in Egypt, an ancient "foundation" by two Syrians [although the Faith was already present; cf. The Book of Acts), and intercommunion with Copts, Syrians, Indians, and others.

In this country, the tragic legacy of slavery and segregation makes this somewhat hard to conceive of, but it seems to have been a norm from earliest history in Africa, The Middle East, the rest of the Mediterranan, etc. ... [not to mention the ideal of Our Lord] -

(Sorry that I wax on about the Ethiopian Church, but I have more experience in this non-Egyptian Coptic "Daughter" Church than in the Egyptian...) -

and, in addition to modern Orthodox sub-Saharan missions, etc., The Ethiopian Church has a heritage stretching back to, not only New Testament Times, but to the Old Testament Church of Israel.  Wink
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« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2004, 08:22:38 PM »

By the Bye, this webpage - and all of the site of which is a part - is an AMAZING resource, a veritable treasure-trove for anybody interested in the Coptic Church and the Eastern Churches:

http://www.copticchurch.net/classes/getLectionary.php

... this is a very extensive and completely accesible daily Lectionary, including Synaxarion readings of Saint's Lives. The site as a whole is equally excellent and chock-full of Coptic goodness - and materials of benefit to all of the Flock!!

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« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2004, 07:14:14 PM »

Quote
The Ethiopian liturgy is derived from that of the Coptic Liturgy of St. Cyril (or of St. Mark) but differs in that it contains 14 Anaphoras. Its recitation requires at least two priests and three deacons. The Anaphora most frequently used is that of the Twelve Apostles. Others are used on certain special saint days and in some monasteries.  The EOTC also recites the Nicene Creed, and no other.

Antonious,

It sounds as if the Ethiopian liturgy would be quite interesting to observe and to participate in! I hope to someday visit an Ethiopian Church to see what it is like.  Smiley

Quote
By the Bye, this webpage - and all of the site of which is a part - is an AMAZING resource, a veritable treasure-trove for anybody interested in the Coptic Church and the Eastern Churches:

www.copticchurch.net/classes/g...tLectionary.php

... this is a very extensive and completely accesible daily Lectionary, including Synaxarion readings of Saint's Lives. The site as a whole is equally excellent and chock-full of Coptic goodness - and materials of benefit to all of the Flock!!

Rustaveli,

First off I would like to welcome you to the forum and I hope that you'll take your coat off and stick around a while.  Wink

Second, I would like to thank you for the link above, I've never come across it before and I certainly enjoyed it.

May God bless you.

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2004, 08:14:28 PM »

Quote
Thanks for the links Aaron!  You know, I often hear the negative stereotype bandied about that "ethnic" Orthodox Christians (Eastern and Oriental) are frosty to outsiders.  I know that there is some reality to this, but I think that it has been blown out of proportion over the years.  I am glad to hear that your experiences with the Coptic Orthodox faithful have thus far been pleasant ones, and I hope that this will continue when you visit the Church.  May God bless you.

Antonious,

I just wanted to post an update that I visited the local Coptic Church this past Sunday and it pleases me to let you know that my visit was very pleasant, as you had hoped.   :approve:

Please allow me to tell you more about my visit there.

I arrived in time for the Gospel reading from the Agpeya and I stood observing and listening because I wasn't quite sure what I should or should not be doing, or what was happening at that time either. As I was standing there, one of the deacons came down from the ambo and made his way towards me and he came over and greeted me, welcoming me to the church. He had brought along a copy of the Agpeya so that I could follow along and participate. He also told me that he would come back to check up on me, as well as to let me know when the Liturgy would be starting and he would then show me where I could follow along in the liturgy book as well.

He did stop byagain as promised with the liturgy book in hand and pointed out that there was a small screen with the page numbers above the iconostasis and that I could follow along throught the liturgy by keeping an eye on it.

After the liturgy had started, the priest came through the main aisle of the church with incense to cense the congregation and he stopped on his way past and welcomed me to the church and said that he was so happy that I had come.

On his way back up to the altar, he stopped again and told me that there was a parishioner a few pews up from where I was and that he would be happy to help me to follow along in the liturgy. I told Fr. Samuel that I did not want to be a bother and that I was doing okay for now and that I was able to follow along because there was a little screen above the inconostasis that showed the page numbers.

He then proceeded to go up to the parishioner and talk to him and then he waved me over, so I couldn't refuse any longer at that point.  Cheesy

The gentleman introduced himself and also welcomed welcomed me to the church and was most helpful to me by explaining much of what was going happening during the liturgy and by making sure I was able to follow along in the liturgy book during the parts of the liturgy that were in Coptic and Arabic. I have to admit that I was suprised at how much english was used during the liturgy as well - that was certainly helpful as well!

About halfway through the liturgy I noticed another gentleman had popped into the same pew I was in and he wasn't there before and as the liturgy proceeded he would move closer and closer towards me until he was right up next to me and before I knew it, I had a second helper as well!  Cheesy

After the liturgy had ended the priest read some announcements and greeted some visitors by name, as well as the visitors whose names he did know know and looked my direction and smiled.  Smiley He said that he had hoped that we found the liturgy to be fulfilling and enjoyed it and I can say for certain that I did!

After the anouncements the congregation went forward to venerate the priest's hand and to receive the blessed bread and I went forward and the priest once again thanked me for coming.

I am most grateful for the way that everyone made me feel so welcome and the outpouring of welcome and care is not something that I shall soon forget. In all of my visits to various churches throughout the years I have rarely been made to feel as welcome as I did in this Coptic church.

Needless to say that I plan on visiting again in the future! :cheeky:
 
In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2004, 03:13:52 PM »

Dear Aaron,

I am overwhelmed with joy to read your post!  May God bless you!  I am so happy that you took the time to visit our Church and that your experience was a pleasant one.  If you have any questions, please pm me and we can correspond by e-mail, or if you want, just continue to ask in the forum!  I had the same experience when I first attended, with unofficial "translators" being assigned to help you out, whether you like it or not!  Wink

Rustalveli,

Let me say that I am equally encouraged by your experience in our sister Ethiopian Church.  Just yesterday, two of my friends from the local Ethiopian Orthodox Church visited with me, and we talked about the necessity of mission in this country.  Please feel free to pm me as well if you want to correspond by email.

In XC,

Nick
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« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2004, 11:50:38 PM »

Quote
I am overwhelmed with joy to read your post!  May God bless you!  I am so happy that you took the time to visit our Church and that your experience was a pleasant one.  If you have any questions, please pm me and we can correspond by e-mail, or if you want, just continue to ask in the forum!  I had the same experience when I first attended, with unofficial "translators" being assigned to help you out, whether you like it or not!

Nick,

Thanks for the offer, I really appreciate it.  Smiley  I really enjoyed my visit to the church and I didn't mind having a translator - unofficial or not! I was actaully impressed with the fact that they were so quick to help me out, by making sure I understood what was going on, as well as how they made every attempt to make sure to let me know that they were happy I was there.

I have rarely been made to feel that welcome at any church of any denomination when visiting and it is because of this that I still keep thinking about my visit there - several times a day in fact!

Another thing that struck me about the Liturgy at the Coptic Church was how many readings from the Holy Scriptures there were - all throughout the liturgy and there were readings from the Pauline Epistles, the Catholic Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles, the Psalms, as well as the Gospel readings!

I really enjoyed hearing so many passages from the Holy Scriptures. I believe that there were more readings than in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which one would encounter when visiting an Eastern Orthodox Church (in most cases).

Is this just because of the differences in the liturgies - Liturgy of St. Basil vs. Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom?

I have also heard that the Liturgy of St. Basil differs between the Coptic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church - why is this if it is the same liturgy? What are the differences between the two?

I would also like to know if one would encounter the same amount of Scripture readings as I had when woshipping at the Coptic Liturgy if say, one worshipped at an Ethiopian Church, an Armenian Church, or a Syriac Church or a Malankara Church. Anyone happen to know?

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2004, 08:44:54 AM »

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rustaveli: As a personal reflection, although this Church, which is in full communion with the Coptic Church of Egypt, has some local / national traditions, but I was overwhelmed with a sense that anyone familiar with the more Byzantine (or Syriac) traditions would immediately feel right at home, and know that, indeed, this is the True Faith, part of the Universal Church.

Does the Church have "parts" that are not in communion with one another, that have in fact anathematized one another?

How would one "know" that a church that teaches doctrines condemned by the Orthodox Fathers is "the True Faith, part of the Universal Church?"

Beards and incense?

An iconostasis?

Quote
rustaveli: As a sidenote of doctrine, the Ethiopian Church uses the word "Tewahedo" (roughly, "oneness") as part of its official name; this word is used to emphasize the Oneness of the Nature of Christ - which, as I understand the Oriental Churches' position to be, was threatened or inadequately expressed by the Council at Chalcedon.

How does an ecumenical council - inspired by the Holy Spirit - inadequately express anything in its dogmatic decrees?

Are you aware that "the Oneness of the Nature of Christ" is precisely the Monophysite heresy condemned by the Fathers?

Quote
rustaveli: This, however, has nothing to do with the solid belief of the Coptic and Sister Churches that Christ Is fully God and Fully Man, the Mystery beyond human comprehension which the first and commonly-accepted Oecumenical Councils affirmed.

It is one thing to say "Christ is fully God and fully man."

It is quite another to really believe it and possess a theology that does not diminish the humanity of our Lord, making it the merely passive marionette of His divinity.

Quote
rustaveli: The "Monophysite" label - and, especially, how it has been interpreted in the West, is [I believe] largely a linguistic and political split.

(an opinion not shared by all, so I ask their forgiveness - but stand by this belief...!)

Let me understand you. You are saying the Church Fathers did not understand the Non-Chalcedonians and were inspired by base "political" motives?

When St. Maximus the Confessor wrote his Letter 12, for example, refuting the errors of the Non-Chalcedonian leader Severus of Antioch, was he simply mistaken or operating from political motives?

Is that why he and his companions suffered the Emperor to cut off their tongues and right hands and, ultimately, to kill them?

Because they misunderstood the issues and did not realize the Non-Chalcedonians were "part of the Universal Church?"

No, my friend. The Fathers were not mistaken. They understood the Non-Chalcedonians.

It is we who would compromise with them who do not understand.
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2004, 10:17:08 PM »

I wonder why it is that a discussion about the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches can never be had without the thread being interrupted with posts whose intention is only to speak about the Oriental Churches in an unpositive manner?

I believe everyone here can look up previous threads using the "search" feature that discuss these things without jumping into a thread that was started merely to inquire and learn more about the Coptic Church and Her traditions.

It disappoints me that discussions cannot be had without this happening repeatedly. I can understand why some members, (remaining and former) do not regularly participate in this forum, because I know that I would find it frustrating myself if I could not have a discussion about my faith and my church without having to constantly hear it spoken about it in such a way and having to constantly defend myself, my faith an dmy church.  :dissappointed:

In Christ,
Aaron

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« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2004, 12:52:18 AM »

I wonder why it is that a discussion about the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches can never be had without the thread being interrupted with posts whose intention is only to speak about the Oriental Churches in an unpositive manner?

I believe everyone here can look up previous threads using the "search" feature that discuss these things without jumping into a thread that was started merely to inquire and learn more about the Coptic Church and Her traditions.

It disappoints me that discussions cannot be had without this happening repeatedly. I can understand why some members, (remaining and former) do not regularly participate in this forum, because I know that I would find it frustrating myself if I could not have a discussion about my faith and my church without having to constantly hear it spoken about it in such a way and having to constantly defend myself, my faith an dmy church.  :dissappointed:

In Christ,
Aaron



Exactly how I feel. This forum is the "Non-Chalcedonian Discussion" Forum.  It is the opinion and viewpoint of Anastasios, Phil, and Bobby that Non-Chalcedonians are Orthodox and if some people don't like that, they can avoid posting in this folder. If someone asks a question about dogma, anyone can respond pro or con.  But if someone is asking a generic question about Non-Chalcedonian liturgical traditions, then other people don't need to jump in and take one part of the post and run with it. I am sure Rustaveli did not intend to start YET ANOTHER discussion about the Orthodoxy of Non-Chalcedonians.

Keep polemical discussion to threads that are ON TOPIC please.

anastasios
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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2004, 02:47:40 AM »


It disappoints me that discussions cannot be had without this happening repeatedly. I can understand why some members, (remaining and former) do not regularly participate in this forum, because I know that I would find it frustrating myself if I could not have a discussion about my faith and my church without having to constantly hear it spoken about it in such a way and having to constantly defend myself, my faith an dmy church.  :dissappointed:

In Christ,
Aaron

I understand, Aaron.
Perhaps anastasios can change the Board title to "Non-Chalcedonian Discussion ONLY".
The problem, of course, is that we have two separate church communions being assumed here by the forum owners as equivalents and dissent is not allowed. So one side feels harrassed and the other censured.

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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2004, 07:15:04 AM »

Linus7, sir,

i was wondering if you could point out exaples how 'Oriental' Orthodox Theology the deminishes "the humanity of our Lord, making it the merely passive marionette of His divinity."

This would - i'm sure - clear many things up for the Orthodox reading this post.

thanks in advance.
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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2004, 09:45:10 AM »

The problem, of course, is that we have two separate church communions being assumed here by the forum owners as equivalents and dissent is not allowed. So one side feels harrassed and the other censured.

I don't see how you could've gotten that from Anastasios' post (which I thank him for).  The three of us believe both EO and OO to be fully Orthodox.  We don't force anyone to accept that position by posting here.  Anyone can hold whatever belief about the Orthodoxy of the OO or EO they want.  We merely insist that all members carry out discussion in an appropriate manner.  

The problem is that no one seems to be able to do that after a certain point (usually at the beginning).
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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2004, 10:01:53 AM »


Beards and incense?

An iconostasis?

Yes, it is precisely these things and these alone upon which we base our Orthodoxy! :smiley1:

Especially the beards.  Have you seen some of these beards?  They're really impressive!

People can't even inquire about visiting an Oriental Orthodox Church without being treated to a polemic.  How sad.  "Don't ask about the Oriental Orthodox!  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!  Oz has spoken!" :rofl:
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