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Author Topic: 60 Minutes piece on Coptic Orthodox Church.  (Read 2405 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 15, 2013, 07:46:44 PM »

Heads Up  Wink

Tonight 7:00pm EST on CBS
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 09:03:17 PM »

Too late.

But then there's youtube.  And I think 60 min. has a website.
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 09:38:18 PM »

I saw it.  Details here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-coptic-christians-of-egypt/

Near the end, the reporter attended what was described as a "Coptic Charismatic service" among the Zabbaleen.

Quote
Febe Armanios believes the violence is one reason people are flocking to charismatic Coptic services. She took us to one at St. Simon in Muquattam in Cairo – one of the largest churches in the Middle East. Two thousand people attended the night we went and the service was broadcast all over the country. It went on for three hours and ended like no other we had ever seen -- with public exorcisms.

Bob Simon: Have you ever seen anything like this?

Febe Armanios: I've attended some of these ceremonies in this church before.

Bob Simon: And it always ends like this? Note: By "ends like this" he means with people "falling out", hooting, et cetera.

Febe Armanios: Yeah, there's just a sense in the community of helplessness, of people in need of the priest's blessing, people in need of healing from God, people in need of support.

There, as you can see in the video, men dressed as Orthodox priests carried out what appears to be a typical Charismatic service.  The viewer is left with the impression that this is a part of Coptic Orthodox practice.  God have mercy on us.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 09:44:10 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 09:52:38 PM »

Lord have mercy. I was excited to maybe find it on Youtube since I don't have TV, but now I think I'll skip it. Embarrassed I have heard of such services but thankfully never seen one. Shameful, disgraceful...ugh...Lord have mercy on our errant brothers and sisters who have turned away from the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 09:57:10 PM »

Lord have mercy. I was excited to maybe find it on Youtube since I don't have TV, but now I think I'll skip it. Embarrassed I have heard of such services but thankfully never seen one. Shameful, disgraceful...ugh...Lord have mercy on our errant brothers and sisters who have turned away from the Orthodox faith.

In fairness that part was only less than 2 minutes of a 15-20 minute segment. 
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 09:59:58 PM »

That's good. But I would still worry what kind of message it puts out. Not too long ago my father thought I was converting to Islam because he confused our chants with Islamic ones. Shocked I'm pretty sure seeing Coptic people running around, barking or whatever probably doesn't help the Church seem less weird to outsiders.
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 10:01:39 PM »

Lord have mercy. I was excited to maybe find it on Youtube since I don't have TV, but now I think I'll skip it. Embarrassed I have heard of such services but thankfully never seen one. Shameful, disgraceful...ugh...Lord have mercy on our errant brothers and sisters who have turned away from the Orthodox faith.

Well, now millions of people who've never (or barely) heard of the Coptic Orthodox Church have "seen one" as their first impression of Coptic Orthodoxy.

Everyone I know was excited about watching this piece, and this is the face we present to the world.  Cry

In fairness that part was only less than 2 minutes of a 15-20 minute segment. 

And that two minutes gave the false impression to the world that so-called "Charismatic" services are a regular and acceptable part of Coptic Orthodox practice.  They are not.  What is going on in this church?

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 10:06:36 PM »

I saw it.

I had no idea this was the tradition in the Coptic Church. It was good seeing the faithful actually have some joy in Egypt for a change
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 10:23:00 PM »

I saw it.  Details here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-coptic-christians-of-egypt/

Near the end, the reporter attended what was described as a "Coptic Charismatic service" among the Zabbaleen.

There, as you can see in the video, men dressed as Orthodox priests carried out what appears to be a typical Charismatic service.  The viewer is left with the impression that this is a part of Coptic Orthodox practice.  God have mercy on us.

Here is the video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXUtLmyCTmc&feature=c4-overview&list=UUsN32BtMd0IoByjJRNF12cw

So, they are not Orthodox priests? 
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 10:27:56 PM »

That's good. But I would still worry what kind of message it puts out. Not too long ago my father thought I was converting to Islam because he confused our chants with Islamic ones. Shocked
Given your Hispanic background, what do you think of Mozarabic Chant?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfguO8nHxfo
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 10:47:00 PM »


To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the report. It was okay, but, it could have said and shown so much more.
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 10:47:48 PM »

I saw it.  Details here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-coptic-christians-of-egypt/

Near the end, the reporter attended what was described as a "Coptic Charismatic service" among the Zabbaleen.

Quote
Febe Armanios believes the violence is one reason people are flocking to charismatic Coptic services. She took us to one at St. Simon in Muquattam in Cairo – one of the largest churches in the Middle East. Two thousand people attended the night we went and the service was broadcast all over the country. It went on for three hours and ended like no other we had ever seen -- with public exorcisms.

Bob Simon: Have you ever seen anything like this?

Febe Armanios: I've attended some of these ceremonies in this church before.

Bob Simon: And it always ends like this? Note: By "ends like this" he means with people "falling out", hooting, et cetera.

Febe Armanios: Yeah, there's just a sense in the community of helplessness, of people in need of the priest's blessing, people in need of healing from God, people in need of support.

There, as you can see in the video, men dressed as Orthodox priests carried out what appears to be a typical Charismatic service.  The viewer is left with the impression that this is a part of Coptic Orthodox practice.  God have mercy on us.
Why do you think they were Zabbaaliin?

I've seen similar services at Coptic Orthodox mulids.  How official that is, I'm not sure, but they do occur.  I'm wondering more what exactly is St. Simon's?
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 10:49:28 PM »


To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the report. It was okay, but, it could have said and shown so much more.
It could, but the fact that it showed anything (how many stories do we see on the Copts in the news, in particular to comparison to the stories we see about the Syrian fighters?) is something.

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 10:52:11 PM »

I enjoyed it...could've been a lot better...but at least its something
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 11:01:17 PM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2013, 11:08:09 PM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?
Yes.  I'll have to play it again, because I didn't hear the fashion statement part.

He's says it's "a rite of passage" and "a sign of pride"
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2013, 11:34:27 PM »

That's good. But I would still worry what kind of message it puts out. Not too long ago my father thought I was converting to Islam because he confused our chants with Islamic ones. Shocked
Given your Hispanic background, what do you think of Mozarabic Chant?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfguO8nHxfo

Oh, it's hands down my favorite Latin/Western chant form (though it's not quite strictly that; the Eastern roots are palpable, and not just on the album that particular recording at the link is taken from). That Ensemble Organum album in particular is quite nice (nice to see it reissued recently), and I have a few others to accompany it, but it's surprisingly hard to find it done correctly. Well, maybe not so surprising given its suppression in the 11th century (even the E.O. album is based off of Cisneros' reconstruction from a few centuries after the fact, and apparently the extant codices like those of Silos in the 9th century or Leon in the 7th are a bit of a mystery, due to the difficulty in reading the notation). But it seems like a lot of things labeled as "Mozarabic" are either treated like funny Gregorian chant or way overdone in self-consciously "Arabic" style (as though it hadn't been basically in place about 100 years prior to the Muslim invaders)...anyway, I still love it. Smiley I think the monks of St. Domingo de Silos walked a fine line on their old album from the early 1970s which drew from a few of those sources I just mentioned (in addition to the Codex Calixtine, c.12th century), which even included a "Kyrie" in faux Greek!

Antifonario Mozárabe de Silos. Lección I de Viernes Santo

If only the Mozarabs were Orthodox... (though the EO in Spain do use this liturgy, too; imagine that...Latins and Orthodox using the same liturgy and it's not a recent reconstruction to nativize Orthodoxy for a heterodox people to adapt to it better... Wink)
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2013, 11:56:19 PM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?

I never heard him say anything about it being a fashion statement. I believe he said it was a right of passage, that was originally imposed by the muslims as a identification symbol but now it was worn with pride.
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2013, 11:56:55 PM »

Just watched this.  Wasn't a bad expose, but here are my issues
1) Once again, everything is seen through the eyes of the Catholic Church.  They do this, so do you?
2)  The insinuation that Pope Tawadros II was the "only" religious figure supporting the ouster of Morsi in July is repeated here again.  There was no mention that if you look at the zoomed out photo, you see Egypt's own Grand Mufti there.  There was not just Coptic support for this which means that the Brotherhood's attacks on churches was completely groundless and that should have been stated unequivocally.
3)  Why did they have this student as their guide?  Surely a priest could have given a more informed background to the news crew.
4)  Why that closing service was included is beyond me.  
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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2013, 01:27:15 AM »


To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the report. It was okay, but, it could have said and shown so much more.

I agree. And don't all Orthodox Churches elect a Patriarch? The report made it sound as if the Coptic Church is the only Orthodox Church to do so.


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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2013, 01:28:39 AM »


To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the report. It was okay, but, it could have said and shown so much more.
It could, but the fact that it showed anything (how many stories do we see on the Copts in the news, in particular to comparison to the stories we see about the Syrian fighters?) is something.

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I agree with this too.


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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2013, 01:33:13 AM »

 I'm wondering more what exactly is St. Simon's?

This may help: http://www.cavechurch.com/home/index.asp
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2013, 09:17:02 AM »

Why do you think they were Zabbaaliin?

I've seen similar services at Coptic Orthodox mulids.  How official that is, I'm not sure, but they do occur.  I'm wondering more what exactly is St. Simon's?

St. Simon's is a huge cave church in the Zabbaleen part of eastern Cairo.  Here.  It's apparently a part of the same Muqattam associated with the miracle of St. Simon and Pope St. Anba Abraam the Syrian celebrated yesterday, and there's a monastery associated with it (also bearing the name of St. Simon the Tanner - may he and Pope St. Abraam intercede at the Throne of God to save the people of their Church from the deceptions of the devil).  What were the services you've seen at the mulids like?  The same kind of stuff that goes on at Sufi mulids?  Whatever the case, the delusions of the so-called “charismatic” movement have no place in Orthodox Christianity.  God save us.

4)  Why that closing service was included is beyond me. 

Me too.  I’m hoping that maybe it was just a simple folk exorcism without any associations to the so-called “charismatic” movement.  As has been mentioned, H.H. Pope Tawadros II has been investigating Protestant influenced churches in the USA.  If this news report is in any way accurate in reporting the activities shown as being "Coptic Charismatic services" then perhaps His Holiness has investigations to conduct closer to home as well.  Fr. Peter Farrington has begun a series of articles detailing Protestant attempts to influence the Coptic Orthodox Church beginning in the 1820s.  May God save His Church and Egypt His people from the snares of the Enemy.
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« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2013, 11:11:25 AM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?
Yes.  I'll have to play it again, because I didn't hear the fashion statement part.

He's says it's "a rite of passage" and "a sign of pride"

...ah yes...that may be what he said.  However, I still find that a bit condescending and irreverent.  Perhaps they now tattoo themselves out of "tradition"....but, why did that tradition begin?  THAT would have been more important to explain.
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« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2013, 11:14:43 AM »

I thought that they also tattooed their children so that they are not kidnapped and raised as Muslims?
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« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2013, 11:41:05 AM »


...that's exactly what I am getting at.  There's a DEEPER meaning behind the tattoos.

I've also heard it was so that if they are killed, they are identified as Christians and given a proper burial.

...all this is way more than a mere "rite of passage".
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« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2013, 11:56:03 AM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?
Yes.  I'll have to play it again, because I didn't hear the fashion statement part.

He's says it's "a rite of passage" and "a sign of pride"

...ah yes...that may be what he said.  However, I still find that a bit condescending and irreverent.  Perhaps they now tattoo themselves out of "tradition"....but, why did that tradition begin?  THAT would have been more important to explain.

60 Minutes isn't the bastion of truth in journalism.  Their piece on Mt. Athos was pretty good, but some of their questions/observations were ignorant.
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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2013, 11:58:47 AM »


....although that also reflect most of the audience.

Unless they ARE Orthodox, I find the general public to be rather ignorant when it comes to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2013, 12:00:38 PM »

The last scene was very good.  Btw, they are reciting the Lord's prayer during the tattooing.

I didn't know that.

I didn't care that he said that now it's just a fashion statement. Maybe I missed it, but, did he mention why they needed to tattoo crosses in the first place?
Yes.  I'll have to play it again, because I didn't hear the fashion statement part.

He's says it's "a rite of passage" and "a sign of pride"

...ah yes...that may be what he said.  However, I still find that a bit condescending and irreverent.  Perhaps they now tattoo themselves out of "tradition"....but, why did that tradition begin?  THAT would have been more important to explain.
They did mention that it started when the Muslims forced the Christians to wear one as a means of identification. It might have been more informative if they mentioned that the Muslims used a branding iron.
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« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2013, 12:01:58 PM »

Unless they ARE Orthodox, I find the general public to be rather ignorant when it comes to Orthodoxy.

Even if they're Orthodox.  Sometimes especially if they're Orthodox.
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« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2013, 12:31:55 PM »


LOL!

That is unfortunately true.  Sad
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« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2013, 12:43:27 PM »


To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the report. It was okay, but, it could have said and shown so much more.
I'm glad it was decent enough not to be botched to hell.
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« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2013, 12:49:53 PM »

Well, the piece started by saying:

Quote
Like the Greeks and the Russians, Copts are Orthodox Christians, but they have one thing in common with the Roman Catholics: they elect a pope.
 

From that point on, I knew they weren't going to be especially precise or clear.  I know that by necessity the writers of this piece had to paint with broad strokes, but think of the misconceptions that could arise from just these opening lines:

1.) The Coptic Church is in communion with the Russians and the Greeks.  Of course, I consider both the EO and the OO to be Orthodox, but why not mention the Coptic Church in connection with the churches with which it is actually in communion?  A reference to the beleaguered Syriac Church would be especially timely under the circumstances.  I think they were trying to draw a connection to things at least vaguely familiar to an American audience (Greek and Russian Orthodoxy) but how much of a stretch would it have been to mention Oriental Orthodoxy?

2.) The Coptic Pope holds powers similar to those of the Catholic Pope.  Most Americans hearing the term "pope" will think Catholic and will assume that the Pope of Alexandria is analogous to the Pope of Rome (instead of other Orthodox patriarchs) in terms of powers and position.  This assumption is never corrected in the piece.  Gebre touched upon this in his post, and scamandrius rightly pointed out that once again we're viewing the Orthodox world through a Catholic lens.

The fact is that clarity and accuracy in pieces like these are essential because for many Americans this will be their first (and possibly only) exposure to Coptic Orthodoxy.  Watching this piece, many of them will walk away with misconceptions - the most dangerous and inaccurate of all being that the Coptic Orthodox Church plays host to a burgeoning "charismatic movement" and holds "charismatic services".  It could be that this is not at all what was happening in St. Simon's church - that no was was doing what is blasphemously and inaccurately referred to by Pentecostals and Charismatics as "catching the holy ghost" or being "slain in the spirit", but rather that what we viewed was a release of pent up frustration and emotion followed by a simple folk exorcism.  But watching that piece the way it was constructed it seemed like a typical Pentecostal service: sing some Protestant "praise & worship" songs and listen to some fiery preaching until someone gets themselves worked into a froth and step back and watch the fireworks.  All we needed was an usherette with white gloves throwing a sheet over Aunt Esther.  If indeed such influences are making themselves manifest in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they need to be addressed and eliminated, but they should not be held up before the world as a normal and accepted part of Orthodox practice.  Watching this piece, one leaves with the impression that the Coptic Church is a longsuffering hodgepodge of Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism and ignorance that is somehow in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2013, 12:56:50 PM »

Well, the piece started by saying:

Quote
Like the Greeks and the Russians, Copts are Orthodox Christians, but they have one thing in common with the Roman Catholics: they elect a pope.
 

From that point on, I knew they weren't going to be especially precise or clear.  I know that by necessity the writers of this piece had to paint with broad strokes, but think of the misconceptions that could arise from just these opening lines:

1.) The Coptic Church is in communion with the Russians and the Greeks.  Of course, I consider both the EO and the OO to be Orthodox, but why not mention the Coptic Church in connection with the churches with which it is actually in communion?  A reference to the beleaguered Syriac Church would be especially timely under the circumstances.  I think they were trying to draw a connection to things at least vaguely familiar to an American audience (Greek and Russian Orthodoxy) but how much of a stretch would it have been to mention Oriental Orthodoxy?
A big stretch. Although they might have known of Armenians.

2.) The Coptic Pope holds powers similar to those of the Catholic Pope.  Most Americans hearing the term "pope" will think Catholic and will assume that the Pope of Alexandria is analogous to the Pope of Rome (instead of other Orthodox patriarchs) in terms of powers and position.  This assumption is never corrected in the piece.  Gebre touched upon this in his post, and scamandrius rightly pointed out that once again we're viewing the Orthodox world through a Catholic lens.

The fact is that clarity and accuracy in pieces like these are essential because for many Americans this will be their first (and possibly only) exposure to Coptic Orthodoxy.  Watching this piece, many of them will walk away with misconceptions - the most dangerous and inaccurate of all being that the Coptic Orthodox Church plays host to a burgeoning "charismatic movement" and holds "charismatic services".  It could be that this is not at all what was happening in St. Simon's church - that no was was doing what is blasphemously and inaccurately referred to by Pentecostals and Charismatics as "catching the holy ghost" or being "slain in the spirit", but rather that what we viewed was a release of pent up frustration and emotion followed by a simple folk exorcism.  But watching that piece the way it was constructed it seemed like a typical Pentecostal service: sing some Protestant "praise & worship" songs and listen to some fiery preaching until someone gets themselves worked into a froth and step back and watch the fireworks.  All we needed was an usherette with white gloves throwing a sheet over Aunt Esther.  If indeed such influences are making themselves manifest in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they need to be addressed and eliminated, but they should not be held up before the world as a normal and accepted part of Orthodox practice.  Watching this piece, one leaves with the impression that the Coptic Church is a longsuffering hodgepodge of Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism and ignorance that is somehow in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy.
As long as it leaves them with the impression that the Coptic Church exists and should be aided, I'm fine with that.
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« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2013, 01:13:53 PM »

A big stretch. Although they might have known of Armenians.

Yeah, but it wouldn't be that hard to create context using even vaguely familiar touchstones rather than introduce error:

"Like the Ethiopians and Armenians, Copts are Oriental Orthodox Christians..."

As long as it leaves them with the impression that the Coptic Church exists and should be aided, I'm fine with that.

Of course we want them to know that the Church exists and should be aided, but it is more important that they know what the Church actually is so they will seek out Orthodoxy for themselves.  God will aid the Church.  He always has.  Perhaps He will do so through the viewers of 60 Minutes, but more likely He will do so in other ways.  I want the average American to know the glory and beauty of my beloved Coptic Orthodox Church and how it can bring them closer to Christ, not to view it as some ignorant, superstitious, stunted backwater body with quasi-Catholic Charismatic tendancies that could only ever be relevant to someone who had the misfortune of being born into it.  That is not the Coptic Church I know and love.
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« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2013, 02:28:06 PM »

Amen to all you've written here, Antonious, but also we could look at it in a different way: The report will get people who might actually be looking for something like a Charismatic service (Lord have mercy!) interested in Coptic Orthodoxy, and then they will visit their local Coptic Orthodox Church and (God willing) be exposed to what Orthodoxy really is, and perhaps even find themselves interested in that instead. It is not hard to imagine, because I have seen variations of it myself in my own Church. Just a little while ago, we had some ex-Catholics attend a liturgy held in Las Cruces in the private home of a local Coptic family that they had befriended, and one of them said afterwards "I didn't know what to expect; I thought you guys would be like the Greek Orthodox church we've been attending, but we've been to their services and yours have a different feeling" (I don't even know what that means, but that's what she said). They were obviously very confused and admitted to finding our liturgy difficult to follow, but they sensed something in it that must've agreed with them because by the end of the Agape meal they were asking Fr. Marcus for an Agpeya to take home and to give them a blessing before leaving (he gladly obliged both requests, of course). I know it's not a perfect parallel, but it's essentially the same thing: They arrived with preconceptions, were confused and intrigued but moved anyway, and left wanting more. The husband of the pair (they were husband and wife) even said to me "I hope you guys will come back to Las Cruces soon to hold more liturgies; we really need a Church like yours." Smiley And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Everybody needs Orthodoxy, whether they're Pentecostal, Catholic, or whatever. Nevermind what gets them through the door (since you can't control whatever they've already seen or heard); mind that once they get there they receive the true faith and a welcoming embrace from God's people.
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« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2013, 03:25:10 PM »

Amen to all you've written here, Antonious, but also we could look at it in a different way: The report will get people who might actually be looking for something like a Charismatic service (Lord have mercy!) interested in Coptic Orthodoxy, and then they will visit their local Coptic Orthodox Church and (God willing) be exposed to what Orthodoxy really is, and perhaps even find themselves interested in that instead. It is not hard to imagine, because I have seen variations of it myself in my own Church. Just a little while ago, we had some ex-Catholics attend a liturgy held in Las Cruces in the private home of a local Coptic family that they had befriended, and one of them said afterwards "I didn't know what to expect; I thought you guys would be like the Greek Orthodox church we've been attending, but we've been to their services and yours have a different feeling" (I don't even know what that means, but that's what she said). They were obviously very confused and admitted to finding our liturgy difficult to follow, but they sensed something in it that must've agreed with them because by the end of the Agape meal they were asking Fr. Marcus for an Agpeya to take home and to give them a blessing before leaving (he gladly obliged both requests, of course). I know it's not a perfect parallel, but it's essentially the same thing: They arrived with preconceptions, were confused and intrigued but moved anyway, and left wanting more. The husband of the pair (they were husband and wife) even said to me "I hope you guys will come back to Las Cruces soon to hold more liturgies; we really need a Church like yours." Smiley And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Everybody needs Orthodoxy, whether they're Pentecostal, Catholic, or whatever. Nevermind what gets them through the door (since you can't control whatever they've already seen or heard); mind that once they get there they receive the true faith and a welcoming embrace from God's people.

Great point!
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« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2013, 03:42:19 PM »

That's a good way to look at it, dzheremi, and of course I agree with what you've written.  At the risk of quibbling. however, I don't think the Coptic Church depicted in the piece would be attractive to the average Pentecostal or to anyone looking for a Charismatic service (except maybe a Charismatic Catholic).  As I said, the piece pretty much made us look like a stunted church that was once a part of Catholicism, and still retains many of its traits (most especially those which a "born again believer" would find most idolatrous and distasteful - up to and including a papacy), but has become mired in ignorance and superstition because it has been isolated and strangled by Islam, and now adopts, piecemeal, elements of Charismatism, Sufism, Byzantine Orthodoxy and what have you.

As far as being ready to receive the person who shows up for whatever reason, again, I agree, but let us hope that the seeker finds his or her way to the Coptic parish that is the rule and not the exception insofar as maintaining the Orthodox Faith and Orthodox practice is concerned.  You and I both know that 9 out of 10 Coptic churches are firm in Orthodoxy and are not Protestant influenced, but God forbid that anyone with Charismatic leanings should show up at one of the rogue parishes that shall remain nameless [unless Stavro jumps into this thread!  Grin] and finds only a feeble imitation and their former tradition and an apparent validation of their heterodox beliefs and practices.  At the end of the day, the Church didn't produce this piece, and I don't know what role if any Febe Armanios plays in the Church or why she chose to take the reporter to this service, so to some extent, the Church isn't responsible for the misrepresentation, but on the other hand, there's no denying the fact that we have to address and eliminate the irregularities that are occuring, not only so that we present an icon of Christianity as Christ, and not Charles Fox Parham intended it (and the two are mutually exclusive), but for the sake of our own youth.

Pray for me and for our beloved Coptic Church!
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« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2013, 04:17:34 PM »

i have seen the video.
only 50 seconds is about the church service.
i didn't see anything in the many tiny clips of film that was not compatible with a orthodox Christian meeting.
as a previously 'charismatic' protestant Christian, i would recognise that.
i also make every effort to alert people in the orthodox church to the dangers of emotionalism and of looking for miracles
(our miracles are usually performed by holy men and women who seek to avoid publicity as this is the way of humility).

there are a few people raising their hands while singing (may be protestant visitors) and 2 or 3 women having exorcism.
one of the women screams.
the priest is performing the exorcism in the manner of all the orthodox saints by using holy water and by praying.
i expect he also kept up his prayer and fasting before this.

no one is yelling 'in the name of Jesus', there are not any people becoming hysterical and falling on the floor, and i didn't see any clapping or dancing.

so move along now, nothing to see here!

as for febe armanios, she is a professor of history of egyptian origin working with this group:
http://crcc.usc.edu/initiatives/pcri/about.html
so she may have a protestant background. in the video, she didn't look like an orthodox Christian to me as she didn't seem too excited visiting the holy places and seeing all the ancient icons. but maybe she saw them many times before.
in just a few minutes of a television clip, you can not accurately judge these things.
(which is my main point).

may God bless and guide all those in the church featured and in egypt today to know Him and His love in truth.
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« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2013, 06:07:28 PM »

i didn't see anything in the many tiny clips of film that was not compatible with a orthodox Christian meeting.
as a previously 'charismatic' protestant Christian, i would recognise that.

Unfortunately, I can't yet say that I agree, though I truly hope you'll convince me otherwise.  Smiley

I'm also very familiar with the world of Charismatic Christianity, having many friends and family members who are Pentecostals or ex-Pentecostals, and I do see a few things in the meeting that lead me to different conclusions than those you've reached. I'm not saying that these points are definitive, but I do feel that they are worthy of notation, especially in light of H.H. the Pope's recent investigations into Protestant influence in the Church and all of the measures the Church has had to take in recent years to counter Protestant influence.

Again, I'm not looking to find fault and I sincerely pray that it's not as bad as it may appear.  Kindly allow me to list my concerns point by point:

For starters, the reporter introduces this segment of the program by describing the event as a "Coptic Charismatic service".  Who introduced the event to him in this way?  He's obviously not drawing his own conclusions.  Someone told him that that is what the event was.  Was it Febe Armanios who is an "expert" on Copts and affiliated with the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative?  Is this how the service was advertised?

Secondly, there's clearly some kind of Protestant-style choir with instrumental accompaniment onstage leading the "praise & worship".  Can anyone identify the song they are singing?  It doesn't sound particularly Charismatic to me, but it does seem to elicit the kind of hand-raising, body-swaying emotionalism prevalent in the early stages of Charismatic or Pentecostal services to get the people "feeling the (so-called) spirit".  The singing of Protestant songs is inappropriate at any Orthodox service or event.

Thirdly, right from the beginning, we can see said emotionalism taking hold of some of the participants, particularly the women you've identified as raising their hands and swaying back-and-forth, et cetera.  Let's hope they are - as you've asserted - Protestant visitors.  If not, they've definitely been influenced by Charismatic practices which is never a good thing.

If they are Protestants, however, how do they know the songs?  Again, as per H.G. Anba David and the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod, all of the songs and materials used in all of our corporate worship or meetings should be Orthodox in origin and ethos.

i also make every effort to alert people in the orthodox church to the dangers of emotionalism and of looking for miracles

Good.  Glory to God.

(our miracles are usually performed by holy men and women who seek to avoid publicity as this is the way of humility).

Amen.

no one is yelling 'in the name of Jesus', there are not any people becoming hysterical and falling on the floor, and i didn't see any clapping or dancing.

I saw some clapping, but nothing particularly fervent.  Thank God, I agree, I didn't see any dancing or anyone other than the "possessed" becoming hysterical.

as for febe armanios, she is a professor of history of egyptian origin working with this group:
http://crcc.usc.edu/initiatives/pcri/about.html
so she may have a protestant background.

This is perhaps the most telling point of all.  The mission statement of this organization is to "provide a scholarly framework to investigate Pentecostalism and the various renewal movements" that have emerged in more traditional churches.  Armanios is likely studying this sort of thing among the Copts, about whom she is apparently an "expert" (and she is certainly possessed of a Coptic name).

In all likelihood, she is the one who identified the above-mentioned service as Charismatic for the reporter.  Why would she do so if that is not what it is, seeing as how she is apparently an expert of Charismatism, Pentecostalism and Copts?

Furthermore, Armanios seems to identify the exorcisms and the entire service as part of a collective emotional release in the face of the people feeling helpless before their persecutors, a hallmark of Charismatism and Pentecostalism.

The clip was also cut to simulate a more frenetic pace than the service likely had, but that might be due to editing for sensationalism.

Again, these points are far from definitive, but at the least they indicate a degree of Evangelical and/or Charismatic influence, and even an iota of that is inappropriate for any Orthodox Church.

may God bless and guide all those in the church featured and in egypt today to know Him and His love in truth.

Amen.  May God preserve His Church in Orthodox Faith and practice.
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« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2013, 08:32:26 PM »

Excuse me,
Febe Armanious is one of the most prominent new Coptologist in our field. She is not a student. She is an associate professor of history at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. She specializes in late Medieval Coptic history during the Ayyubid through Ottoman Egypt. She is second generation Coptic, not Protestant. I checked the link for the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative. She is not a member of their staff, a senior fellow, a research associates, a student workers, or a past research associates. She simply contributed some articles on Coptic Christianity. That does not make her Protestant and it's offensive to imply so.

Regarding her remarks on exorcisms, she didn't say anything wrong. She expressed why she believes people pilgrimage to St Simeon's cave. It was 60 minutes that made an issue with charismatic exorcism when one doesn't exist in the Coptic Church.  Given the fact that Western Journalism in general is extremely prejudice of anything non-Jewish in the Middle East, I have no doubt that the producers of 60 minutes cut out the important parts of her discussion and manipulated everything that is really Coptic in order to get ratings.

It should be noted the Coptic World, with the approval of Pope Tawadros, aided in bringing 60 minutes to do the piece. You have no idea how hard it is to get even a sit down with Pope Tawadros, much less a long televised interview.

The whole piece just goes to show you that even when the Copts are mistreated, misrepresented and abused in every way possible - now this includes Western media - we continue to use every opportunity to evangelize Christ and Orthodoxy (even knowing we will be portrayed in a consistent negative view)

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« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2013, 09:39:33 PM »

She is second generation Coptic, not Protestant.

A name like Armanios would seem to imply Coptic ancestry.  If she is only second generation, what was her family before they were Coptic?

I checked the link for the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative. She is not a member of their staff, a senior fellow, a research associates, a student workers, or a past research associates.  She simply contributed some articles on Coptic Christianity. That does not make her Protestant and it's offensive to imply so.


Yes, one of these articles appears to be very interesting and very pertinent to this topic.  I would love to read it.  It is entitled Coptic Charismatic Renewal in Egypt: A Modern History.  A summary with some relevant bits bolded for emphasis:

Quote
Coptic Orthodox Christians make up roughly ten percent of Egypt’s eighty or so million inhabitants; they are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Faced with numerous social, political, and economic hurdles, Copts have turned to new forms of religious expression for solace, comfort, and hope. Prayer groups and community-organized retreats have proliferated. Modern communication outlets—particularly in the realm of satellite television and video-films—have allowed for a more personal encounter with God in the privacy of one’s home. Workers in Coptic charitable organizations and social services have sought to dispense material and spiritual blessings to those in need, and, in the process, to bring fellow Christians (and themselves) closer to Christ. Prof. Armanios will chart the history of charismatic trajectories within the Coptic community since its earliest manifestations in the 1970s, focusing on the importance of modern communication outlets, narratives of healing and the miraculous, as well as social services in popularizing these practices. She argues that to combat the increased Islamist attacks against Copts and to curb the perceived popularity of Evangelical Protestantism among fellow believers, Coptic clergy and laity have turned to charismatic Christianity—mostly couched in familiar Orthodox terminology—in order to strengthen belief, spirituality, and communality.

http://crcc.usc.edu/initiatives/pcri/coptic-charismatic.html

It would be interesting to know if the professor approaches the subject of the corruption of our Church merely as a dispassionate academic (which would be understandable, at least for the purposes of her paper), if she feels it is a bad thing (which any Orthodox Christian should) or if she feels it is a good thing (which would be problematic).

Regarding her remarks on exorcisms, she didn't say anything wrong. She expressed why she believes people pilgrimage to St Simeon's cave.

Considered on their own, I can see that.  Considered within the context of the piece, they do seem to imply that Copts are turning to Charismatism as a form of solace in the face of the present persecution.  This is, unfortunately, supported by the article summary quoted above.  Doesn't it seem feasible that 60 Minutes got the idea from the professor?  I'm not saying this to disparage her...I'd love to read her article...but the implication of that part of the piece seems in line with the Coptic Charismatic Renewal article's thesis.

It was 60 minutes that made an issue with charismatic exorcism when one doesn't exist in the Coptic Church.

Glory to God!

Given the fact that Western Journalism in general is extremely prejudice of anything non-Jewish in the Middle East, I have no doubt that the producers of 60 minutes cut out the important parts of her discussion and manipulated everything that is really Coptic in order to get ratings.

This is possible, but again, see above.

It should be noted the Coptic World, with the approval of Pope Tawadros, aided in bringing 60 minutes to do the piece. You have no idea how hard it is to get even a sit down with Pope Tawadros, much less a long televised interview.

The whole piece just goes to show you that even when the Copts are mistreated, misrepresented and abused in every way possible - now this includes Western media - we continue to use every opportunity to evangelize Christ and Orthodoxy (even knowing we will be portrayed in a consistent negative view)

Amen.  As I've said before though, bringing these disgusting and lamentable ideas out into the light is painful and unpleasant.  I hate it.  But if that is the only way to deal with them, so be it.  If there is "Charismatic Renewal" going on in the Coptic Orthodox Church, it needs to be halted and reversed, and the only way to do that is with prayer, fasting, education and facing it head on.  In that sense, the professor is to be applauded for being honest about the issue, writing about it publically, and bringing it out into the light.  "Charismatic Renewal" in the Coptic Orthodox Church - or any Orthodox Church - is oxymoronic.  Any "solace, comfort, and hope" provided by abandoning or compromising Orthodoxy and embracing "new forms of religious expression" originating in heterodox circles is fleeting and illusory at best and a satanic delusion at worst. "Couching" such spiritual poison in "familiar Orthodox terminology" is like slipping venom into the milk of an infant's bottle.  A Church cannot at once be Orthodox and Charismatic as the spirit that motivates the Charismatic movement is not the Holy Spirit.  Light and darkness cannot work together.  The devil is evil and clever, but he won't prevail.  He uses the militant Islamists to persecute the Church and when the people despair, he calls out to them from the pit of Evangelicalism and Charismatism to lead them away from the true Christ and the Church He established.  May God preserve His people and His Church.  I urge every Coptic Orthodox Christian to pray for his or her Church, to educate themselves, and to join the fight to reverse this trend.
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« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2013, 12:20:14 AM »

A name like Armanios would seem to imply Coptic ancestry.  If she is only second generation, what was her family before they were Coptic?
Why did you get the impression that her family converted? By second generation, I meant her parents emmigrated to Los Angeles and she was raised in California.

Quote
Yes, one of these articles appears to be very interesting and very pertinent to this topic.  I would love to read it.  It is entitled Coptic Charismatic Renewal in Egypt: A Modern History
I asked her for clarification. I'll let you know if she responds.

Quote
Regarding her remarks on exorcisms, she didn't say anything wrong. She expressed why she believes people pilgrimage to St Simeon's cave.

Considered on their own, I can see that.  Considered within the context of the piece, they do seem to imply that Copts are turning to Charismatism as a form of solace in the face of the present persecution.  This is, unfortunately, supported by the article summary quoted above.  Doesn't it seem feasible that 60 Minutes got the idea from the professor?  I'm not saying this to disparage her...I'd love to read her article...but the implication of that part of the piece seems in line with the Coptic Charismatic Renewal article's thesis.
I think you're reading too much into the article summary. For all we know, her definition of charismatic Christianity is different from yours or mine. I think substantiating her comments on 60 Minutes by the article summary is premature at best. On the other hand, we have plenty of evidence of Western journalism manipulating Middle Eastern events, as some have already described in this thread.

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« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2013, 09:45:42 AM »

Why did you get the impression that her family converted? By second generation, I meant her parents emmigrated to Los Angeles and she was raised in California.

I didn't think her family converted until you said she was "second generation Coptic".  This makes it sound as if they had converted from something else a generation ago, not as if she is a second generation immigrant from a Coptic family.  Before you said she was "second generation Coptic" I assumed that with a last name like Armanios her family had been Orthodox since St. Mark!  Smiley

I asked her for clarification. I'll let you know if she responds.

Awesome.  Whatever her take on the matter, I'm sure this article will be a valuable contribution to a much-needed discussion.

I think you're reading too much into the article summary.

How so?  It seems to be clear in what it states.  All I did was bold for emphasis.  It seems that the professor is rightly asserting that in order to combat the pressure placed upon the Church by Islamists and Evangelical "missionaries", some servants and clergy have "turned to new forms of religious expression" originating in the Charismatic movement.  I think it is clear to anyone with eyes that this has happened, and this is why our Church is having problems with this issue now.  Our response should have been - as H.G. Anba David instructs us - "to rediscover our true Orthodoxy and live the fullness and depth of our Orthodox Faith, not seek after very shallow means of satisfying the soul".

Posters on these boards have reported people singing Protestant songs with guitars even as the people process up to receive the Eucharist.  This isn't something that can be allowed to continue.

For all we know, her definition of charismatic Christianity is different from yours or mine.


She is an academic, and academics have an agreed upon vocabulary which makes the discussion of certain topics possible.  The definition of Charismatic used in academia - and by the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative for which the professor produces papers - is the same as that of the rest of the world: the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals. Fundamental to the movement is the use of "spiritual gifts" such as "speaking in tongues", et cetera.

The other term used in the article's title - "renewal" - has similar connotations.  It means that a given Church has grown stale and formalistic and that what Pentecostals and Charismatics wrongly identify as the Holy Spirit has to "blow in" and "revitalize" the community, assimilating local customs even as it slowly leads the people away from the idolatry of Mary worship and icon-kissing and bestows upon them the "gifts of the spirit", et cetera.  The mission statement of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research initiative indicates that they are historical revisionists with a clear agenda, who endeavor to suggest that Pentecostalism has its origins not in 19th or 20th century America, but in the Apostolic Age:

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Among many American scholars, the standard narrative about Pentecostalism is that contemporary global expressions of the movement trace their roots to Los Angeles and the Azusa Street Revival in the first decade of the 20th century. But the charismatic impulse in American Christianity has a much older lineage—including the camp meetings at Cane Ridge, Kentucky in the early 19th century and other events associated with the First and Second Great Awakenings. Members of renewalist movements often locate the source of their theology and practice even farther in the past, identifying their cultivation of ecstatic experiences with the spiritual fervor of Christianity's earliest apostolic age.

http://crcc.usc.edu/initiatives/pcri/history.html

In other words, their goal is to foster the false idea that the "ecstatic experiences" associated with American Pentecostalism - and its ungodly exports to the rest of the world - have always been a part of Apostolic Christianity.

I think substantiating her comments on 60 Minutes by the article summary is premature at best

This is possible.  For me, however, the idea of the Coptic Orthodox Church adopting Pentecostal/Charismatic/Evangelical practices is not merely a historical phenomenon to be observed.  It is not something in which I can see positives because it provides some temporary "solace" for someone hard-bitten by oppression even as it destroys the Church of Christ from within.  To me, the idea of the Coptic Orthodox Church - or any Orthodox Church - joining the absolute apostasy of this demonic movement is abhorrent. 

On the other hand, we have plenty of evidence of Western journalism manipulating Middle Eastern events, as some have already described in this thread.

This is true.

At any rate, the goal here is not to rake a particular academic over the coals, but rather to acknowledge the fact that - as she reports - our Church has absorbed some harmful influences which now need to be excised.  I am confident that present appearances notwithstanding, God will ultimately preserve His Church in Orthodox Faith and practice and that the fruit of satan - the influence of Charismatism on the Copts and other Oriental Orthodox - will wither and die.
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« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2013, 01:46:12 PM »

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[unless Stavro jumps into this thread!  ]

I did not and will not watch the movie (blood pressure issues).... Sorry I could not be of help in identifying the toilet where all this Protestant / Pentecostal crap was dumped.

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I'm not saying that these points are definitive, but I do feel that they are worthy of notation, especially in light of H.H. the Pope's recent investigations into Protestant influence in the Church and all of the measures the Church has had to take in recent years to counter Protestant influence.

How are these recent investigation coming along?  Smiley 
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« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2013, 05:42:43 PM »

Febe Armanios replied and I post her reply for the benefit of all.

First things first. She is not second generation Coptic. She is first generation Coptic ORTHODOX  Grin. She emigrated to the US when she was 10. She received her PhD in Middle Eastern History in 2003.

I asked her specifically about the exorcisms as portrayed in the 60 Minutes piece.
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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

Third, the discussion you sent me [i.e., this thread] appears to disregard the fact that, for many years now, these ceremonies are regularly televised throughout the entire Middle East and that Copts in Egypt are quite familiar with them. They happen in Muqattam as well as in church services led by Abouna Makari Yunan, priest at the Old Coptic Patriarchate in Clot Bey. The rituals represent one segment of the Coptic community and are part of a new grassroots movement of worship and praise. Incidentally, Abouna Makari Yunan regularly visits Coptic churches in North America and is widely known (and welcomed by) priests in their churches. Moreover, the 60 Minutes piece showed a variety of Coptic services and prayers and this was only one of them.

Finally, exorcisms are part of local Coptic Orthodox religious traditions: for example, many scholars have shown that the St. Shenouda the Archmandrite (348-466) was among the first Egyptian saints to publicly perform exorcisms. However, the academic literature is also clear about the global influence of the charismatic movement in non-Western contexts, including Africa and Latin America. The charismatic influence is not necessarily denominational or "Pentecostal" per se but is rooted in the idea that the fruits of the Holy Spirit can mobilize Christian believers—of various denominations—to serve and worship in new and self-empowering ways. This might contradict prevalent views of Coptic Orthodoxy but it is a rising trend in the Coptic community and is quite popular among a specific socio-economic class of Copts.

Whether this trend should be considered a fortunate or unfortunate introduction to the Coptic community, an issue that appears to occupy the minds of participants in the forum, is not for me to decide.

I hope this has been helpful.

Best,
Febe

In anticipation of some questions people might have, I asked Febe directly to clarify. She responded,
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1) What I simply mean is that old rituals are being "renewed" within the Coptic community with the prompting of global charismatic influences. That is what makes the charismatic wave so complex and interesting to study: it's about combining established Orthodox customs with new, more modern and global forms of praise and worship. It's a hybrid movement on many levels.

2) If you have questions about the 60 Minutes piece, it would be good to contact the producers directly as they were ultimately in charge of the narrative and the editing.

3) It could be that some believers find existing traditions as fulfilling but in need of additional revitalization. That is why practitioners of any faith are often searching for ways to connect more strongly with God, and a movement empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit seems to be particularly popular in that regard. Once again, it is outside my position to offer views on what is right or wrong here; that would not be scholarly. However, I did point out in my e-mail that the church has been aware of these rituals for many years and that no official action has been taken against these particular parishes and practitioners.

Best,
Febe

And finally, I think it is worthy to add this final response.
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The news story was facilitated by the office of H.H. Pope Tawadros which granted them filming privileges in various places. In all, the story served an important purpose of highlighting the Coptic predicament to an unfamiliar audience, even if it was short and condensed. The visual depiction of beautiful Coptic art and churches was stunning, and I’ve received at least one hundred e-mails from Copts and non-Copts saying how much they learned about the beauty of the Coptic Church. This is, of course, wonderful to hear.

Best,
Febe

She defined charismatic as a new approach to ancient traditions. She brings up an important point that what we normally associate with charismatic Pentecostalism/Protestantism (glossolalia and stupefideness) is not what was portrayed on the piece. What was shown was an ancient tradition of exorcism by charismatic priests.  You may not believe in exorcism but it is undeniably an ancient Orthodox rite. In fact is specifically mentioned in the Liturgy of St Mark.
 
I know her responses may raise more questions. I think she has clarified her intentions and words with intellectual and scholarly honesty. I know many will disagree with her but I hope her responses will benefit readers. In the end, the net result of the 60 Minutes piece was open inquiries where people are starting to ask about the Coptic Church.
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« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2013, 06:57:00 PM »

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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

True.

Their Holinesses, their Eminences, their Graces and their Reverences have been all aware of these practices. They have been aware for many decades.

No one had any intention to hide it to begin with. All events are announced to the public, televised on all channels, open to all, and thousands attend. It is not a secret event.
 




 
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« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2013, 07:38:04 PM »

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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

True.

Their Holinesses, their Eminences, their Graces and their Reverences have been all aware of these practices. They have been aware for many decades.

No one had any intention to hide it to begin with. All events are announced to the public, televised on all channels, open to all, and thousands attend. It is not a secret event.
 

Honestly, are you some kind of OO sedevacantist? I can't remember you having anything nice to say about any of the Bishops and Priests of the Church.
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« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2013, 08:28:14 PM »

I did not and will not watch the movie (blood pressure issues).... Sorry I could not be of help in identifying the toilet where all this Protestant / Pentecostal crap was dumped.

I love you, Stavro, my brother.  I really do.  Whenever I begin to feel like I'm too strident on this issue, you come along and make me feel like a permissive moderate.  Grin

At first, I have to admit, the language you used in this post was shocking to me, but then I thought about it further.  Charismatic "praise & worship" music, modes of worship, and the writings and products of mega-church preachers are most certainly the ecclesiastical equivalent of excrement.  Who, then, is more to blame?  Stavro for describing a particular church as a toilet - a repository for excrementitious writings and practices originating outside of Orthodoxy - or those who actually profane the church and make it into such by introducing the same to our people?  I would say the latter.  Keep fighting the good fight, brother.

How are these recent investigation coming along?  Smiley 

Point taken.  I'll get back to you.

Febe Armanios replied and I post her reply for the benefit of all.

Well done, Remnkemi!  This is elucidating indeed!  Any word on whether or not Dr. Armanios is willing to share the article in question with us?  As I’ve said, I’d love to read it.  I know I can get it through the college library, but if it’s readily available online or right from the source, so much the better.

First things first. She is not second generation Coptic. She is first generation Coptic ORTHODOX  Grin. She emigrated to the US when she was 10. She received her PhD in Middle Eastern History in 2003.

Good to know.  Now, on to the meat of the matter…

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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

Here she is referring to the traditional exorcisms that have always been a part of the Coptic Tradition, correct?  Not to things introduced by the global Charismatic movement?  If so, this is perfectly understandable.

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Third, the discussion you sent me [i.e., this thread] appears to disregard the fact that, for many years now, these ceremonies are regularly televised throughout the entire Middle East and that Copts in Egypt are quite familiar with them. They happen in Muqattam as well as in church services led by Abouna Makari Yunan, priest at the Old Coptic Patriarchate in Clot Bey. The rituals represent one segment of the Coptic community and are part of a new grassroots movement of worship and praise.

This is problematic, particularly the bolded part.  Traditional exorcisms are one thing, but if by “these ceremonies” Dr. Armanios intends so-called “praise & worship” services which include Protestant-style bands and choirs (as was apparently visible in the video – and as yet no one has identified the songs being sung as Orthodox or Protestant) then this is something that the Church needs to investigate further.  I don’t know much about Abouna Makari Yunan other than that he vociferously attacks Islam, but I have heard on these boards and elsewhere that some of his teachings reveal a strong Protestant influence theologically speaking.

This is a problem: some people in the Coptic Church actually view mega-church Protestantism as something inspirational and as a well from which to draw in terms of ethos, materials, songs, and modes of worship.  These ignorant individuals inadvertently bring poison to the people by this approach.  We all know that some terms that were always present in Apostolic Christianity have been appropriated by the Evangelical and Charismatic movements and that their meanings have been changed.  When we use these terms, we are speaking different theological languages than they are.  When we say “the gift of tongues” we mean something utterly different than what they mean.  Similarly, though the terms “worship and praise” are innocuous and even valuable in and of themselves, we know that their meanings in the Charismatic and Evangelical world mean something inappropriate for Orthodoxy.  It is precisely such “new grassroots movements of worship and praise” in the Evangelical sense of the terms in the United States that are being investigated by the Church, as well they should.

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Incidentally, Abouna Makari Yunan regularly visits Coptic churches in North America and is widely known (and welcomed by) priests in their churches.

Again, I don’t know enough about Abouna to say anything about him specifically, but I will say that without naming names, we all know some priests who are still presently in good standing – welcome in all churches – who are teaching wrong things.

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Moreover, the 60 Minutes piece showed a variety of Coptic services and prayers and this was only one of them.

Charismatic and Evangelical influenced activities should not be among the variety of our prayers.
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Finally, exorcisms are part of local Coptic Orthodox religious traditions: for example, many scholars have shown that the St. Shenouda the Archmandrite (348-466) was among the first Egyptian saints to publicly perform exorcisms.

No one would dispute this.  I saw my first Orthodox exorcism when I was a boy.  That said, there is a difference between the authentic Orthodox tradition and what I saw in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches as an adult.  The latter has no place in the Orthodox Church.  Nothing stemming from Charismatism does.

Now we come to the most important part of all…

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However, the academic literature is also clear about the global influence of the charismatic movement in non-Western contexts, including Africa and Latin America. The charismatic influence is not necessarily denominational or "Pentecostal" per se but is rooted in the idea that the fruits of the Holy Spirit can mobilize Christian believers—of various denominations—to serve and worship in new and self-empowering ways. This might contradict prevalent views of Coptic Orthodoxy but it is a rising trend in the Coptic community and is quite popular among a specific socio-economic class of Copts.

I am happy that Dr. Armanios states this clearly and unequivocally.  Some in the Coptic Orthodox Church are – unfortunately – opening the door to the influence of the global, demonic Charismatic movement that is sweeping over the heterodox in various parts of Africa and Latin America.  This movement clearly has its roots in Pentecostalism whether its proponents want to admit this or not.  It likes to claim that it is “non-denominational”, but what does this really mean?  Non-denominational Christians are Protestants no matter how much they protest to the contrary, and the Charismatic movement is firmly rooted in American folk (i.e. Protestant) Christianity no matter how much historical revisionists with an agenda to push wish to deny this.  Is Charismatism really rooted in the Church of the Apostolic Age?  Does their movement really transcend the Orthodox Church to sweep over it and bring it in line with the practices of various “denominations”  Is the “spirit” that motivates this movement and sweeps across these various “denominations” (including, in the eyes of some, the Church) really the Holy Spirit?  Does the Holy Spirit really teach us “new modes of worship” that were not present in the early Church?  No on all counts.

Consider the words of Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory:

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As opposed to the true Orthodox spiritual life, the ‘charismatic revival’ is only the experiential side of the prevailing ‘ecumenical’ fashion – a counterfeit Christianity that betrays Christ and His Church. No Orthodox ‘charismatic’ could possibly object to the coming ‘Union’ with those very Protestants and Roman Catholics with whom, as the interdenominational ‘charismatic’ song goes, they are already ‘one in the Spirit, one in the Lord,’ and who have led them and inspired their ‘charismatic’ experience. The ‘spirit’ that has inspired the ‘charismatic revival’ is the spirit of antichrist, or more precisely those ‘spirits of devils’ of the last times whose ‘miracles’ prepare the world for the false messiah

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The “charismatic” movement…claims to be in contact with God, to have found a means for receiving the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of God’s grace. And yet it is precisely the Church, and nothing else, that our Lord Jesus Christ established as the means of communicating grace to men. Are we to believe that the Church is now to be superseded by some “new revelation” capable of transmitting grace outside the Church, among any group of people who may happen to believe in Christ but who have no knowledge or experience of the Mysteries (Sacraments) which Christ instituted and no contact with the Apostles and their successors whom He appointed to administer the Mysteries? No: it is as certain today as it was in the first century that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not revealed in those outside the Church. The great Orthodox Father of the 19th century, Bishop Theophan the Recluse, writes that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given “precisely through the Sacrament of Chrismation, which was introduced by the Apostles in place of the laying on of hands” (which is the form the Sacrament takes in the Acts of the Apostles). “We all-who have been baptized and chrismated-have the gift of the Holy Spirit… even though it is not active in everyone.” The Orthodox Church provides the means for making this gift active, and “there is no other path… Without the Sacrament of Chrismation, just as earlier without the laying on of hands of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit has never descended and never will descend”.

I urge all to read this article.

The Charismatic movement is not merely a revival of things that were already present in the Apostolic Church.  It’s origins and practices originate outside of the Church.  It is thoroughly heterodox, and if any Orthodox Church should fully and openly embrace it (God forbid!) it would be apostate.

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Whether this trend should be considered a fortunate or unfortunate introduction to the Coptic community, an issue that appears to occupy the minds of participants in the forum, is not for me to decide.

This is understandable, as she is writing as an academic and not as an Orthodox Christian or, a private person, or a spokesperson for the Church.  I don’t expect her to divulge her personal opinion.

 
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1) What I simply mean is that old rituals are being "renewed" within the Coptic community with the prompting of global charismatic influences. That is what makes the charismatic wave so complex and interesting to study: it's about combining established Orthodox customs with new, more modern and global forms of praise and worship. It's a hybrid movement on many levels.

Again, this is problematic.  Renewing old rituals that have always been a part of Orthodoxy?  Great!  At the prompting of global Charismatic influence?  No.  Has the gift of tongues always been present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is it the same thing practiced in Charismatic churches?  No.  Is the Holy Spirit present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is He the motivating force behind the Charismatic movement?  No.  The small “c” charismatic thing is also misleading.  It makes it seem as if those using it buy the hype and believe that the global Charismatic movement really isn’t rooted in American Pentecostalism and really is authored by the Holy Spirit.  This is demonstrably false and contradicts the traditional historical narrative.  Just read Fr. Seraphim’s article.

A Charismatic/Orthodox hybrid church would no longer be Orthodox but apostate and false.  God forbid that the Coptic Church should become a part of a “hybrid movement”.  This would inevitably involve a schism between the Orthodox and the “New Age Orthodox”.  Thank God, it’s still not too late to remove this cancer from the life of our Church, even though several generations have grown up exposed to its influence.

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2) If you have questions about the 60 Minutes piece, it would be good to contact the producers directly as they were ultimately in charge of the narrative and the editing.

That’s an issue for others to raise, as my concern has always been the introduction of corrupting heterodox materials and practices to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Quote
3) It could be that some believers find existing traditions as fulfilling but in need of additional revitalization. That is why practitioners of any faith are often searching for ways to connect more strongly with God, and a movement empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit seems to be particularly popular in that regard. Once again, it is outside my position to offer views on what is right or wrong here; that would not be scholarly. However, I did point out in my e-mail that the church has been aware of these rituals for many years and that no official action has been taken against these particular parishes and practitioners.

Here, unfortunately, Dr. Armanios is not speaking as a neutral academic but indicates that the global Charismatic movement is “empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit”.  It is not.  As Fr. Seraphim says:

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The chief claim of the followers of the “charismatic revival” is that they have acquired “spiritual” gifts. One of the first such “gifts” that becomes noticeable in those “baptized with the Holy Spirit” is a new “spiritual” power and boldness. What gives them boldness is the definite experience which no one can doubt that they have had, although one can certainly doubt their interpretation of it. Some typical examples: “I do not have to believe in Pentecost, because I have seen it” (Ranaghan, p. 40). “I began to feel that I knew exactly what to say to others and what they needed to hear…I found that the Holy Spirit gave me a real boldness to say it and it had a marked effect” (Ranaghan, p. 64). “I was so confident that the Spirit would be true to His word that I prayed without any ifs. I prayed in wills and shalls and in every other kind of declarative statement.” (Ranaghan, p. 67). An Orthodox example: “We pray for wisdom and suddenly we are wise in the Lord. We pray for love and true love is felt for all men. We pray for healings, and health has been restored. We pray for miracles and, believing, we have seen miracles happen. We pray for signs, and receive them. We pray in tongues known and tongues unknown” (Logos, April, 1972, p. 13).

Here, again, a genuine Orthodox characteristic, acquired and tested by long years of ascetic labor and maturing in faith, is supposedly obtained instantly by means of “charismatic” experience. It is true, of course, that the Apostles and Martyrs were given a magnificent boldness by the special grace of God; but it is only ridiculous when every “charismatic Christian,” without any notion of what Divine grace is, wishes to compare himself to these great Saints. Being based on an experience of deception, “charismatic” boldness is no more than a feverish, “revivalistic” imitation of true Christian boldness, and it only serves as another identifying mark of “charismatic” deception. Bishop Ignatius writes that a certain “self-confidence and boldness are usually noticeable in people who are in self-deception, supposing that they are holy or are spiritually progressing.” “An extraordinary pomposity appears in those afflicted with this deception: they are as it were intoxicated with themselves, by their state of self-deception, seeing in it a state of grace. They are steeped in, overflowing with high-mindedness and pride, while appearing humble to many who judge by appearances without being able to judge by fruits.”

She defined charismatic as a new approach to ancient traditions.

This is what the Charismatics themselves claim, but it is not true.  Instead, they usurp the names of ancient traditions and apply them to new acts entirely.  Further, the approaches to worship, et cetera, taught to us by our Fathers the Apostles are what we should cling to.  Imitating that which originated among the heterodox is dangerous and wrong.

If we’re talking about Copts independently rediscovering their own Holy Tradition, that is great.  It we’re talking about the Coptic Church being connected to a global “non-denominational” movement authored by a false and unholy spirit, that is something else.  Fr. Seraphim again…

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Significantly, it is among “ecumenical Christians” that the “charismatic” and “meditation” movements have taken root. The characteristic belief of the heresy of ecumenism is this: that the Orthodox Church is not the one true Church of Christ; that the grace of God is present also in other “Christian” denominations, and even in non-Christian religions; that the narrow path of salvation according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church is only “one path among many” to salvation; and that the details of one’s belief in Christ are of little importance, as is one’s membership in any particular church. Not all the Orthodox participants in the ecumenical movement believe this entirely (although Protestants and Roman Catholics most certainly do); but by their very participation in this movement, including invariably common prayer with those who believe wrongly about Christ and His Church, they tell the heretics who behold them: “Perhaps what you say is correct,” even as the wretched disciple of St. Paisius did. No more than this is required for an Orthodox Christian to lose the grace of God; and what labor it will cost for him to gain it back!

And further…

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Roman Catholics and Protestants today have not fully tasted of God’s grace, and so it is not surprising that they should be unable to discern its demonic counterfeit. But alas! The success of counterfeit spirituality even among Orthodox Christians today reveals how much they also have lost the savor of Christianity and so can no longer distinguish between true Christianity and pseudo-Christianity.

She brings up an important point that what we normally associate with charismatic Pentecostalism/Protestantism (glossolalia and stupefideness) is not what was portrayed on the piece.

Good point.  Glory to God,

You may not believe in exorcism but it is undeniably an ancient Orthodox rite. In fact is specifically mentioned in the Liturgy of St Mark.

Who says I don’t believe in exorcism?  As stated above, I believe in the authentic rite of exorcism as it has always been practiced in the Orthodox Church.   That said, anything originating in the “global Charismatic movement” is satanic and should not be introduced into the Church.

As Fr. Seraphim contends, there have been authentic Orthodox revivals in history.  They are not connected with or motivated by events originating among the heterodox, authored by some “spirit” foreign to the Church.

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There have been true Orthodox “awakenings” in the past: one thinks immediately of St. Cosmas of Aitolia, who walked from village to village in 18th-century Greece and inspired the people to return to the true Christianity of their ancestors; or St. John of Kronstadt in our own century, who brought the age-old message of Orthodox spiritual life to the urban masses of Petersburg. Then there are the Orthodox monastic instructors who were truly “Spirit-filled” and left their teaching to the monastics as well as the laymen of the latter times: one thinks of the Greek St. Symeon the New Theologian in the 10th century, and the Russian St. Seraphim of Sarov in the 19th. St. Symeon is badly misused by the Orthodox “charismatics” (he was speaking of a Spirit different from theirs!); and St. Seraphim is invariably quoted out of context in order to minimize his emphasis on the necessity to belong to the Orthodox Church to have a true spiritual life. In the “Conversation” of St. Seraphim with the layman Motovilov on the “acquisition of the Holy Spirit” (which the Orthodox “charismatics” quote without the parts here italicized), this great Saint tells us: “The grace of the Holy Spirit which was given to us all, the faithful of Christ, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, is sealed by the Sacrament of Chrismation on the chief parts of the body, as appointed by the Holy Church, the eternal keeper of this grace.” And again: “The Lord listens equally to the monk and the simple Christian layman, provided that both are Orthodox.”

As opposed to the true Orthodox spiritual life, the “charismatic revival” is only the experiential side of the prevailing “ecumenical” fashion – a counterfeit Christianity that betrays Christ and His Church. No Orthodox “charismatic” could possibly object to the coming “Union” with those very Protestants and Roman Catholics with whom, as the interdenominational “charismatic” song goes, they are already “one in the Spirit, one in the Lord,” and who have led them and inspired their “charismatic” experience. The “spirit” that has inspired the “charismatic revival” is the spirit of antichrist, or more precisely those “spirits of devils” of the last times whose “miracles” prepare the world for the false messiah.

What is the “spirit” that motivates global non-denominational Charismatism?  The spirit of the “New Christianity” and "new modes of worship"?

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In a word, the “spirit” that suddenly lavishes its “gifts” upon this adulterous generation which, corrupted and deceived by centuries of false belief and pseudo-piety, seeks only a “sign” – is not the Holy Spirit of God. These people have never known the Holy Spirit and never worshipped Him. True spirituality is so far beyond them that, to the sober observer, they only mock it by their psychic and emotional – and sometimes demonic – phenomena and blasphemous utterances. Of true spiritual feelings, writes Bishop Ignatius, “the fleshly man cannot form any conception: because a conception of feeling is always based on those feelings already known to the heart, while spiritual feelings are entirely foreign to the heart that knows only fleshly and emotional feelings. Such a heart does not so much as know of the existence of spiritual feelings.”

All of the Coptic bishops that I know and have either spoken to or corresponded with about this matter are firmly and unapologetically against the adoption of heterodox music, materials, and modes of worship in our Church.  I don’t know of any who’ve stated otherwise publically, but if there are any, they are wrong.  Any priests or servants who wish to introduce heterodox materials, music, or modes of worship are wrong.

I know this will never happen, given the many ways in which the Coptic Church has worked to preserve Orthodoxy over the years, but if Charismatic practice ever did become an integral part of the Coptic Church, I’d feel very badly about talking two young Copts I love very dearly – as much as if they were my brothers – who were thinking about leaving the Church for Eastern Orthodoxy over this very issue – into staying with us and fighting the good fight.  There cannot be a Charismatic-influenced Orthodox Church any more than there can be a healthy yet gangrenous limb.  May God preserve His Church in Orthodox Faith and practice and disperse the followers of the spirit of this age as He dispersed the council of Ahitophel.
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« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2013, 10:49:32 PM »

Here is a thread from 10 years ago, about Coptic monks driving out demons:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,2045.0.html#top

I don't see the exorcism described as "charismatic," but it did seem dramatic.  The exorcisms were also drawing Muslims who had such needs.
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« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2013, 11:47:12 PM »

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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

True.

Their Holinesses, their Eminences, their Graces and their Reverences have been all aware of these practices. They have been aware for many decades.

No one had any intention to hide it to begin with. All events are announced to the public, televised on all channels, open to all, and thousands attend. It is not a secret event.
 

Honestly, are you some kind of OO sedevacantist? I can't remember you having anything nice to say about any of the Bishops and Priests of the Church.

Honestly, do you know anything about this topic? Are you Coptic?

I do not recall that I ever criticized the hierarchy of other sister churches. I am not aware of their current problems and have no information on how they deal with their challenges. Your generalization is baseless. 

But I am an eye witness to the challenges that the Coptic Orthodox Church has to overcome, and I am not impressed by the way my Church hierarch handle the major challenge of Protestantizing the church. In my opinion, they are not taking a clear and present danger seriously, and their lack of urgency and action is shocking.  A seemingly liberal Coptic professor describes the situation in simple words:

Everyone knows about it. No one took any action to stop it.

This is what I have been saying for a long time.

Who is responsible for taking actions against such practices? Why aren't they? They know of it, it is not a recent development, so what is stopping them from doing anything?

Do you have an answer?
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« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2013, 12:58:59 AM »

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The Church hierarchy has always been aware of these practices and yet none of these priests were censured, excommunicated or prevented from doing these rituals or from serving their communities. This does not seem to be a outlying movement that that Church has only become aware of in recent months.

True.

Their Holinesses, their Eminences, their Graces and their Reverences have been all aware of these practices. They have been aware for many decades.

No one had any intention to hide it to begin with. All events are announced to the public, televised on all channels, open to all, and thousands attend. It is not a secret event.
 

Honestly, are you some kind of OO sedevacantist? I can't remember you having anything nice to say about any of the Bishops and Priests of the Church.

Honestly, do you know anything about this topic? Are you Coptic?

I do not recall that I ever criticized the hierarchy of other sister churches. I am not aware of their current problems and have no information on how they deal with their challenges. Your generalization is baseless. 

But I am an eye witness to the challenges that the Coptic Orthodox Church has to overcome, and I am not impressed by the way my Church hierarch handle the major challenge of Protestantizing the church. In my opinion, they are not taking a clear and present danger seriously, and their lack of urgency and action is shocking.  A seemingly liberal Coptic professor describes the situation in simple words:

Everyone knows about it. No one took any action to stop it.

This is what I have been saying for a long time.

Who is responsible for taking actions against such practices? Why aren't they? They know of it, it is not a recent development, so what is stopping them from doing anything?

Do you have an answer?

No I'm not Coptic and I realize that I know pretty much next to nothing about this topic. My criticism was not about the content of your post, but the fact that you seem to have a lot of disdain for the clergy of the Church that's reflected not just in the above post, but in a fair number your other posts that I've seen as well. Don't get me wrong, I wholly agree that the protestant-ization of the Church is a danger that urgently needs to be stopped and corrected. However, I just don't think that the way you argue your position on the matter is conducive to changing anyone's opinion, much less the clergy that you've called out.
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« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2013, 09:20:25 AM »

Beloved brothers and sisters, let's not fight with each other.  I think that everyone here agrees that turning to the global Charismatic movement for the "renewal" or "revival" of one's Church is like turning to an AIDS patient for a blood transfusion.  It is poison and death.  A group of us in my area have taken the permission of our priests to engage in 3 days of strict fasting and prayer for the cessation of Evangelical and Charismatic influence in the Coptic Orthodox Church.  I'll start another thread about this, and I invite you to join us.
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« Reply #53 on: December 18, 2013, 02:36:26 PM »

I love you, Stavro, my brother.  I really do.  Whenever I begin to feel like I'm too strident on this issue, you come along and make me feel like a permissive moderate.  Grin
Sometimes being a moderate gets better results than dictator-like conservatism.  One can be ultraconservative in their beliefs but moderate in their language and dealings with opponents to get fruitful results (which I would define as "moderation"). I think that is what shennj was alluding to. Being moderate is not synonymous with passivity or compromise.

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Well done, Remnkemi!  This is elucidating indeed!  Any word on whether or not Dr. Armanios is willing to share the article in question with us?  As I’ve said, I’d love to read it.  I know I can get it through the college library, but if it’s readily available online or right from the source, so much the better.
Her paper isn't published yet. It takes years for presentations of a symposium to be published.

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Here she is referring to the traditional exorcisms that have always been a part of the Coptic Tradition, correct?  Not to things introduced by the global Charismatic movement?  If so, this is perfectly understandable.
Agreed. However, I don't think everything foreign that has been introduced in the Coptic Church are "things introduced by the global Charismatic movement" (at least not historically). One can argue that the influence of the global Charismatic movement is like the influence of pre-Christian paganism. Some things were eradicated for theological reasons, some things were "baptized" into Christianity. Even praise and worship were baptized. Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I know modern global protestantism influence is not the same as Roman and Pre-Christian adopted practices. But there is a social aspect to acknowledge, which Dr Armanios alluded to. Every multicultural society continues to borrow and adopt certain cultural aspects with new interpretation which were perceived as heretical or sacrilegious at one point. The Coptic Church is notorious for this. This is called cultural contact phenomenon. It is not part of a hidden global demonic plot.

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This is problematic, particularly the bolded part.  Traditional exorcisms are one thing, but if by “these ceremonies” Dr. Armanios intends so-called “praise & worship” services which include Protestant-style bands and choirs (as was apparently visible in the video – and as yet no one has identified the songs being sung as Orthodox or Protestant) then this is something that the Church needs to investigate further.
I don't think Dr Armanios was speaking of or including Protestant-style songs and choirs in her discussion. Nonetheless, they are only one part of the numerous layers of charismatic revival. I think we can acknowledge that our traditional acts of "Orthodox revival" is in itself another layer of charismatic revival. I don't think we need to remove every layer of charismatic revival.

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  I don’t know much about Abouna Makari Yunan other than that he vociferously attacks Islam, but I have heard on these boards and elsewhere that some of his teachings reveal a strong Protestant influence theologically speaking.
I don't know much about Abouna Makari Younan either. But I do know that when people disapprove of a priest's style, he is automatically labelled Protestant or promoting Protestant theology. Keep that in mind.

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Similarly, though the terms “worship and praise” are innocuous and even valuable in and of themselves, we know that their meanings in the Charismatic and Evangelical world mean something inappropriate for Orthodoxy.  It is precisely such “new grassroots movements of worship and praise” in the Evangelical sense of the terms in the United States that are being investigated by the Church, as well they should.
Just a thought. Was not the Virgin Mary feast nahada (revival vigil) a "new grassroots movement of worship and praise" at one point in time. Just as some Coptic churches erroneously interpret "worship and praise" in an evangelical way, one can also correctly understand a classical charismatic phrase like "new grassroots movements of praise and worship" in an Orthodox way like the Virgin Mary's nahada. They would both fall under charismatic revival. No?

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Again, I don’t know enough about Abouna to say anything about him specifically, but I will say that without naming names, we all know some priests who are still presently in good standing – welcome in all churches – who are teaching wrong things.
Hence why we should take a step back and humble ourselves and ask if maybe there is more to the story than we know or understand. While some would like to take this issue as some sort of monumental "like Athanasius and Cyril" fight, I think wisdom calls for us to keep our hearts open instead of calling everything we disagree with "wrong" or "heresy". That doesn't mean we actual condone evil or wrong things. But even evil and wrong things are used for God's glory. It took God 20+ years to correct the problems of Jacob's house through Joseph and many more years to fix the problems of David's house. 

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Charismatic and Evangelical influenced activities should not be among the variety of our prayers.
Yes any of these activities should not be included in our prayers. However, people in general call such activities a Charismatic and evangelical influenced activity. when it is actually an ancient Orthodox rite. Therein lies the problem. That is why wisdom and humility is necessary to resolve this problem.

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No one would dispute this.  I saw my first Orthodox exorcism when I was a boy.  That said, there is a difference between the authentic Orthodox tradition and what I saw in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches as an adult.  The latter has no place in the Orthodox Church.  Nothing stemming from Charismatism does.
No arguing there. But there is a fine line in between the two. And we are arguing on how wide that line should be, to the extent that sometimes in all the argument we end up blurring the line even more. I'm not saying anyone should condone or allow such "new age" un-Orthodox practices. But the approach is the issue here.

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Non-denominational Christians are Protestants no matter how much they protest to the contrary, and the Charismatic movement is firmly rooted in American folk (i.e. Protestant) Christianity no matter how much historical revisionists with an agenda to push wish to deny this.
You don't think the Charismatic movement is rooted globally? You don't think Protestantism is also rooted in countries outside of America? Or are you speaking of a progression of the American missionary (re)interpretation?

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Is Charismatism really rooted in the Church of the Apostolic Age?
Was not St Paul charismatic to the point where he would give sermons lasting the whole night? Did not all Judea come to hear, be baptized and repent because of John the Baptist? Are these not examples of charismatic Christianity? Dr Armanios gave the example of St Shenouda (and believe me when I say there was no one more charismatic than him in our Coptic Church). I'm not trying to be argumentative. But I think you conflating all layers of charismatism into the Pentecostal or contemporary Protestantism, which it's not.

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 Does the Holy Spirit really teach us “new modes of worship” that were not present in the early Church?  No on all counts.
That's a loaded question. Modes of worship that were present in the early Church are not used today (including the Aramaic and Hebrew languages, Jewish temple customs, vestments, etc). Modes of worship used today were not present in the early Church (I specifically mean at the Apostolic age) such as Vespers and other services. Even the liturgy is diachronic and evolving. Additionally, I would refrain from claiming we have a monopolistic understanding on what the Holy Spirit does? I don't think it's fair to unequivocally say what was or wasn't present in the early Church or what the Holy Spirit does or can do.

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“We all-who have been baptized and chrismated-have the gift of the Holy Spirit… even though it is not active in everyone.” The Orthodox Church provides the means for making this gift active, and “there is no other path… Without the Sacrament of Chrismation, just as earlier without the laying on of hands of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit has never descended and never will descend”.
Again with what the Holy Spirit does or doesn't do? I understand what Fr Seraphim Rose was saying, but without clearly defining the "charismation" (maybe he did and I didn't see it), he is leaving a big hole in his argument. After all, St Mary never had the laying of hands, and yet not only did the Holy Spirit descend on her but she is "kekharitomene" (the same root word as charismatic). I'm not arguing that this is biblical evidence of a "charismatic movement". I'm simply stating non-conflating definitions are needed.

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The Charismatic movement is not merely a revival of things that were already present in the Apostolic Church.  It’s origins and practices originate outside of the Church.  It is thoroughly heterodox, and if any Orthodox Church should fully and openly embrace it (God forbid!) it would be apostate.
Good. Now we're getting into a precise definition.

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Again, this is problematic.  Renewing old rituals that have always been a part of Orthodoxy?  Great!  At the prompting of global Charismatic influence?  No.  Has the gift of tongues always been present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is it the same thing practiced in Charismatic churches?  No.  Is the Holy Spirit present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is He the motivating force behind the Charismatic movement?  No.  The small “c” charismatic thing is also misleading.  It makes it seem as if those using it buy the hype and believe that the global Charismatic movement really isn’t rooted in American Pentecostalism and really is authored by the Holy Spirit.  This is demonstrably false and contradicts the traditional historical narrative.  Just read Fr. Seraphim’s article.
Great. We are all in agreement. My only problem was the conflation of different layers or meanings of charismatic into one non-Orthordox meaning.

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Here, unfortunately, Dr. Armanios is not speaking as a neutral academic but indicates that the global Charismatic movement is “empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit”.  It is not.  As Fr. Seraphim says:
I don't think so. I think she is speaking of a different meaning of charismatic worship. She described her meaning before as finding new ways to praise using  ancient rites so that are "empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit". The liturgical language is "bear fruits of the Holy Spirit". Globally, during the reigns of Pope Cyril VI and Pope Shenouda, both charismatic figures, the Coptic Church was empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This power trickled down from the hierarchy to local churches to individual parishioners and most if not all bore fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how I understood Dr Armanios' words.

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If we’re talking about Copts independently rediscovering their own Holy Tradition, that is great.  It we’re talking about the Coptic Church being connected to a global “non-denominational” movement authored by a false and unholy spirit, that is something else.  Fr. Seraphim again…
These are not the only two possibilities.

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Significantly, it is among “ecumenical Christians” that the “charismatic” and “meditation” movements have taken root. The characteristic belief of the heresy of ecumenism is this: that the Orthodox Church is not the one true Church of Christ; that the grace of God is present also in other “Christian” denominations, and even in non-Christian religions; that the narrow path of salvation according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church is only “one path among many” to salvation; and that the details of one’s belief in Christ are of little importance, as is one’s membership in any particular church. Not all the Orthodox participants in the ecumenical movement believe this entirely (although Protestants and Roman Catholics most certainly do); but by their very participation in this movement, including invariably common prayer with those who believe wrongly about Christ and His Church, they tell the heretics who behold them: “Perhaps what you say is correct,” even as the wretched disciple of St. Paisius did. No more than this is required for an Orthodox Christian to lose the grace of God; and what labor it will cost for him to gain it back!
Fr Seraphim is conflating charismatic tolerance with ecumenism. Undoubtedly, he took the opportunity to attack ecumenism and his comments are wrong. But we need not discuss it here.

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Who says I don’t believe in exorcism?  As stated above, I believe in the authentic rite of exorcism as it has always been practiced in the Orthodox Church.   That said, anything originating in the “global Charismatic movement” is satanic and should not be introduced into the Church.
Again, I was using "you" in the plural general sense. I didn't mean you personally. I wanted to point out that what is happening is a different issue than what should happen. Nothing satanic should be introduced to the Church, but a type of charismatic revival that is global in nature was introduced and has been introduced and there is nothing un-Orthodox about it (see my examples above).

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As Fr. Seraphim contends, there have been authentic Orthodox revivals in history.  They are not connected with or motivated by events originating among the heterodox, authored by some “spirit” foreign to the Church.
Good. But don't fail to recognize that at some level the mechanisms of authentic Orthodox revival, which Dr Armanios was speaking of, occurs in all multicultural societies. It is normal social (at a cultural level) behavior, that is not foreign to the Church nor exclusive to the heterodox. In its most fundamental level, the Church is both a theological and a social society.

Again overall we agree on all points.
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« Reply #54 on: December 18, 2013, 04:51:02 PM »

In order to even have this discussion we really need to clarify our terms.

I’ve already defined the term Charismatic as I’ve been using it in this discourse in in reply # 43: the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals. Fundamental to the movement is the use of "spiritual gifts" such as "speaking in tongues", et cetera.   This movement began in the 1960s, but its origins lie in the Pentecostalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is American in origin but later was exported to other parts of the globe.  The spirit motivating it is not the Holy Spirit.  The “gifts” it manifests are not those spoken of in the New Testament or the Early Church, though the names of the authentic gifts have been appropriated.

It seems that you are using the term in a different sense, which I think I have the gist of, but which I will leave for you to define.

Sometimes being a moderate gets better results than dictator-like conservatism.  One can be ultraconservative in their beliefs but moderate in their language and dealings with opponents to get fruitful results (which I would define as "moderation"). I think that is what shennj was alluding to. Being moderate is not synonymous with passivity or compromise.

What you’ve described is what I endeavor to do.  I would add only that I endeavor to do so with a clarity that some might mistake for bluntness or rudeness.  I find clarity to be necessary, because the proponents of inundating our Church with heterodox practices and materials like to look for any wiggle room they can in any statements on the matter that will allow them to continue in the inappropriate activities they’ve come to hold so dear.  We must allow them none.

Her paper isn't published yet. It takes years for presentations of a symposium to be published.

I’m referring to the paper I referenced before entitled Coptic Charismatic Renewal in Egypt: Historical Roots and Recent Developments and already published in the International Association of Coptic Studies quadrennial Congress, Rome, Italy, September 15-22, 2012, which I have ordered from my campus library.  Don’t worry.  I’ll post it and discuss it once it arrives.

I don't think everything foreign that has been introduced in the Coptic Church are "things introduced by the global Charismatic movement" (at least not historically).

Agreed.

One can argue that the influence of the global Charismatic movement is like the influence of pre-Christian paganism. Some things were eradicated for theological reasons, some things were "baptized" into Christianity. Even praise and worship were baptized. Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I know modern global protestantism influence is not the same as Roman and Pre-Christian adopted practices. But there is a social aspect to acknowledge, which Dr Armanios alluded to. Every multicultural society continues to borrow and adopt certain cultural aspects with new interpretation which were perceived as heretical or sacrilegious at one point. The Coptic Church is notorious for this. This is called cultural contact phenomenon. It is not part of a hidden global demonic plot.

I disagree.  The global Charismatic movement is a Christian heresy not a pagan or secular philosophical movement.  At is core is a misunderstanding of who the Holy Spirit is and how He works.  It is dangerous to accept anything originating in this misunderstanding into the life of the Church.  Cultural traditions, et cetera, should not be conflated with practices rooted in heterodox theology, which includes the Charismatic approach to and definition of praise and worship.   The Charismatic movement is undoubtedly authored by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit of God, and as such, its poison fruit should be out of bounds for the Orthodox Christian.

I don't think Dr Armanios was speaking of or including Protestant-style songs and choirs in her discussion. Nonetheless, they are only one part of the numerous layers of charismatic revival. I think we can acknowledge that our traditional acts of "Orthodox revival" is in itself another layer of charismatic revival. I don't think we need to remove every layer of charismatic revival.

Again, it depends upon what you mean by the term “charismatic”.  I think we do need to remove every tainted layer of “revival” rooted in the Charismatic movement as I’ve defined it above, and of course that would include Protestant songs and choirs.  If, however, you mean authentic Orthodox revival as defined by Fr. Seraphim, I have no problem with that.

I don't know much about Abouna Makari Younan either. But I do know that when people disapprove of a priest's style, he is automatically labelled Protestant or promoting Protestant theology. Keep that in mind.

It’s not his style I’ve heard critiqued, but the content of his writings and sermons.  Again, I haven’t studied him enough to have formed an opinion, but I will say that among his critics are posters on these boards and tasbeha.org who both you and I respect.  One final time for the record though, I don’t know enough about him to have an opinion on him myself.  Maybe one day I’ll get around to reading or watching his stuff for myself.

Just a thought. Was not the Virgin Mary feast nahada (revival vigil) a "new grassroots movement of worship and praise" at one point in time. Just as some Coptic churches erroneously interpret "worship and praise" in an evangelical way, one can also correctly understand a classical charismatic phrase like "new grassroots movements of praise and worship" in an Orthodox way like the Virgin Mary's nahada. They would both fall under charismatic revival. No?

As I’ve said before, it all depends on how we’re utilizing the terms.  If we’re talking about authentic Orthodox revival – independent and completely detached from the Pentecostal-rooted “global Charismatic revival” as I’ve defined it above – the one sweeping over the heterodox of the Global South that is not offered by the Holy Spirit – then we have no beef.

Hence why we should take a step back and humble ourselves and ask if maybe there is more to the story than we know or understand. While some would like to take this issue as some sort of monumental "like Athanasius and Cyril" fight, I think wisdom calls for us to keep our hearts open instead of calling everything we disagree with "wrong" or "heresy". That doesn't mean we actual condone evil or wrong things. But even evil and wrong things are used for God's glory. It took God 20+ years to correct the problems of Jacob's house through Joseph and many more years to fix the problems of David's house.


And I’m sure that all of us are in this for the long haul, however long it takes, because we love our Church and don’t want to see it abandoned to the wolves or our youth corrupted and led astray by heterodox materials and practices.  I for one am very selective and pick my battles carefully.  I don’t label everything I don’t like as “wrong”, “heresy”, or “Protestant”.  I keep my mouth shut on a lot of things that might not be to my liking but have nothing to do with deviations from Orthodox Faith and practice.  This issue though certainly does, and so far as I can tell not addressing it has done much more harm than good.

Yes any of these activities should not be included in our prayers. However, people in general call such activities a Charismatic and evangelical influenced activity. when it is actually an ancient Orthodox rite. Therein lies the problem. That is why wisdom and humility is necessary to resolve this problem.

Agreed.  Caution, love, and humility must be exercised at all times.  Simultaneously, we must not allow those interested in preserving that which they’ve acquired from the heterodox and now hold to be dear to use this as a smokescreen to continue in their ways, calling things rooted in Evangelicalism or Charismatism “newly revitalized Orthodox practices” or “old practices in a modern form”.  Clarity, accuracy, precision and discernment are called for.

No arguing there. But there is a fine line in between the two. And we are arguing on how wide that line should be, to the extent that sometimes in all the argument we end up blurring the line even more. I'm not saying anyone should condone or allow such "new age" un-Orthodox practices. But the approach is the issue here.

Agreed.  And our approach must be tempered with love.  It is, after all, because we love our people and our Church that we want to halt this harmful activity.

You don't think the Charismatic movement is rooted globally? You don't think Protestantism is also rooted in countries outside of America? Or are you speaking of a progression of the American missionary (re)interpretation?

Yes, I am speaking of a progression.  The global Charismatic movement of today has its origins in American Pentecostalism.  What the Pentecostals consider to be charismata is not the authentic phenomena as they occurred in the New Testament and that has always been present in the Orthodox Church.  It is something else.  The global Charismatic movement is, unfortunately, rooted in American Pentecostalism and displays the same shallowness and false fruits.

Was not St Paul charismatic to the point where he would give sermons lasting the whole night? Did not all Judea come to hear, be baptized and repent because of John the Baptist? Are these not examples of charismatic Christianity? Dr Armanios gave the example of St Shenouda (and believe me when I say there was no one more charismatic than him in our Coptic Church).

Again, all this is different than what the modern Charismatics – as I’ve defined them above – are and do.

I'm not trying to be argumentative. But I think you conflating all layers of charismatism into the Pentecostal or contemporary Protestantism, which it's not.

No, I’m really not, Remnkemi.  I’m just distinguishing what is true from what is false.  I have no problem with the authentic charismatism that has always been a part of Orthodoxy and was never a part of Pentecostalism or its child the global Charismatic movement.

That's a loaded question. Modes of worship that were present in the early Church are not used today (including the Aramaic and Hebrew languages, Jewish temple customs, vestments, etc). Modes of worship used today were not present in the early Church (I specifically mean at the Apostolic age) such as Vespers and other services. Even the liturgy is diachronic and evolving.

It’s not really a loaded question at all.  What you’re describing above – the use of certain languages or the particulars of certain vespers or rites – are not the equivalent of worship practices which are themselves manifestations of a theology and an approach to God which contradicts the understanding of the Church.  Our Fathers the Apostles baptized certain customs, et cetera, into the life of the Church, but others they wisely eschewed.  Among these were the ecstatic fits of the Delphic oracles and other pagans.  I know you’re not suggesting that we make room for the ecstatic fits of the Charismatics or their worldly “praise & worship” teams because you’ve made that clear in other parts of your post, but be aware that others would endeavor to twist what you’ve written above to do just that: “The Church allows for evolving forms of worship, so make way for those ‘catching the holy ghost’”.

Additionally, I would refrain from claiming we have a monopolistic understanding on what the Holy Spirit does? I don't think it's fair to unequivocally say what was or wasn't present in the early Church or what the Holy Spirit does or can do.

We’re not limiting the Holy Spirit in any way by speaking the truth.  We know what was present in the Early Church according to what was recorded in the New Testament and the Holy Tradition imparted to us by our Fathers.  We know that it was not what the modern Charismatics and Pentecostals are doing.  We know what the real gift of tongues is, and we know that what they do is not it.  We know that the only time anyone in the New Testament fell on the ground and frothed at the mouth – as those “slain in the spirit” do – that it was not the Holy Spirit who possessed them.  We know who the author of their movement is, and it is not the Holy Spirit of God.  To say this in no way denigrates or limits the Holy Spirit.  It just means we know the loving touch of our Father from the inappropriate touch of a stranger.

 
Again with what the Holy Spirit does or doesn't do? I understand what Fr Seraphim Rose was saying, but without clearly defining the "charismation" (maybe he did and I didn't see it), he is leaving a big hole in his argument.

Fr. Seraphim does define Charismatism.  He defines it the same way I have above, distinguishing between the authentic charisma of the Church and the false pseudo-charisma of the so-called Charismatics.  I know it’s long, but really, read his essay.  It’s worth it.  And yes, we can say to a certain extent, what the Holy Spirit does and doesn’t do.  He doesn’t contradict Himself, for example.  He doesn’t tell one group of people that the Holy Mysteries are necessary for their salvation and another group that they don’t need them at all.  The spirit of the Charismatic movement teaches in contradiction to the Holy Spirit and the Church He fills.  There’s nothing wrong with saying that.

After all, St Mary never had the laying of hands, and yet not only did the Holy Spirit descend on her but she is "kekharitomene" (the same root word as charismatic). I'm not arguing that this is biblical evidence of a "charismatic movement".

I’m glad, because it’s certainly not!  Grin

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The Charismatic movement is not merely a revival of things that were already present in the Apostolic Church.  It’s origins and practices originate outside of the Church.  It is thoroughly heterodox, and if any Orthodox Church should fully and openly embrace it (God forbid!) it would be apostate.
Good. Now we're getting into a precise definition.

I’m sincerely glad we agree!

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Again, this is problematic.  Renewing old rituals that have always been a part of Orthodoxy?  Great!  At the prompting of global Charismatic influence?  No.  Has the gift of tongues always been present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is it the same thing practiced in Charismatic churches?  No.  Is the Holy Spirit present in the Orthodox Church?  Yes.  Is He the motivating force behind the Charismatic movement?  No.  The small “c” charismatic thing is also misleading.  It makes it seem as if those using it buy the hype and believe that the global Charismatic movement really isn’t rooted in American Pentecostalism and really is authored by the Holy Spirit.  This is demonstrably false and contradicts the traditional historical narrative.  Just read Fr. Seraphim’s article.
Great. We are all in agreement. My only problem was the conflation of different layers or meanings of charismatic into one non-Orthordox meaning.

Again, wonderful.  Glad we’re on the same page.

I don't think so. I think she is speaking of a different meaning of charismatic worship. She described her meaning before as finding new ways to praise using ancient rites so that are "empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit". The liturgical language is "bear fruits of the Holy Spirit". Globally, during the reigns of Pope Cyril VI and Pope Shenouda, both charismatic figures, the Coptic Church was empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This power trickled down from the hierarchy to local churches to individual parishioners and most if not all bore fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how I understood Dr Armanios' words.

Respectfully, my beloved brother, now I’m afraid you’re the one who is conflating definitions, or at least, unintentionally muddying the waters and leaving room for confusion.  I don’t have a problem with what you’ve written if the above in understood in an Orthodox context, but we must recognize that the above can also be twisted by those enamored of things Protestant to attempt to justify their activities.  Just because H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI and H.H. Pope Shenouda III were indeed charismatic individuals in the true sense of the term – and because they operated globally and had a global impact – this does not mean that they should at all be associated with the satanic global Charismatic movement as I’ve defined it above.  I’d also like to be sure that the phrase “new ways to praise using ancient rites” doesn’t leave room for what we both agree are heterodox and inappropriate forms of worship for our Church.

I’m not having any parts of the relativism of this age which declares that the Holy Spirit might lead some to Orthodoxy, others to Pentecostalism, and still others to Hare Krishna as He works around the globe.  Whether it’s politically correct or not, we must declare emphatically that Orthodoxy is the Way – as Christianity was once called – and not simply “one of many paths”.

These are not the only two possibilities.

What others would you suggest?

Fr Seraphim is conflating charismatic tolerance with ecumenism. Undoubtedly, he took the opportunity to attack ecumenism and his comments are wrong. But we need not discuss it here.

I disagree, but I think I see what you’re driving at.  At any rate, so long as neither of us are advocating even the slightest degree of Charismatic tolerance (and you know how I’m defining Charismatic here) then there’s no need to delve into a tangential conversation on authentic ecumenical dialogue vs. fuzzy and fallacious declarations of “we’re all one in Jesus Christ!” when we’re really not.

I wanted to point out that what is happening is a different issue than what should happen. Nothing satanic should be introduced to the Church, but a type of charismatic revival that is global in nature was introduced and has been introduced and there is nothing un-Orthodox about it (see my examples above).

Again, the global Charismatic movement as I’ve defined it above – originating in Pentecostalism and then crossing over into various heterodox churches and even parts of the Orthodox Church – is satanic and should not be introduced into our Church.  This is not to be confused with Orthodox ministries – such as those of our Popes – which are global in nature.  Let us be very precise with our terminology as this dialogue continues.  I know what most people – including, based on their writings, the folks at the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative – mean when they speak of the global Charismatic movement.  They mean what I’ve defined above.  They’re sympathetic to it.  I’m not.  Some seem to think that the Holy Spirit is behind it.  I know He isn’t.  He wouldn’t have people in a Roman Catholic Church in South Africa or Brazil acting like Pentecostals.

As I’ve said before, authentic Orthodox revivals would not in any way be connected to or inspired by activity authored by a spirit foreign to the Church.

Good. But don't fail to recognize that at some level the mechanisms of authentic Orthodox revival, which Dr Armanios was speaking of, occurs in all multicultural societies. It is normal social (at a cultural level) behavior, that is not foreign to the Church nor exclusive to the heterodox. In its most fundamental level, the Church is both a theological and a social society.

True, but none of this would necessitate or even explain the presence of heterodox inspired activities or materials in our Church.  Since they have found their way in, they need to be addressed and helped to find their way out.

Again overall we agree on all points.

Glory to God.
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« Reply #55 on: December 18, 2013, 08:39:58 PM »

In order to even have this discussion we really need to clarify our terms.

I’ve already defined the term Charismatic as I’ve been using it in this discourse in in reply # 43: the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals. Fundamental to the movement is the use of "spiritual gifts" such as "speaking in tongues", et cetera.   This movement began in the 1960s, but its origins lie in the Pentecostalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is American in origin but later was exported to other parts of the globe.  The spirit motivating it is not the Holy Spirit.  The “gifts” it manifests are not those spoken of in the New Testament or the Early Church, though the names of the authentic gifts have been appropriated.

It seems that you are using the term in a different sense, which I think I have the gist of, but which I will leave for you to define.
Here are the definitions I am using for charismatic revival
1. What you described above: "The international trend to adopt beliefs similar to Protestantism, not exclusive to Pentecostalism. These include the misuse of "spiritual gifts", glossolalia, contemporary music and musical instruments for ecclesiastical service. The fits it manifests are not those spoken of in the New Testaments or the early Church."
2. Authentic gifts of the Holy Spirit that results in a renewed covenant to God. It is given through the sacraments of charismation and baptism and renewed through repentance.
3. A grace appropriated to an individual as gifts or talents that invoke a renewal relationship in himself or others.
4. A revival of ancient customs that exhibit charisma, whether through the custom or the individual performing the custom.
5. A charismatic person given power from God to preach the word in a way that invokes a renewal relationship.
6. A revival movement, both local and global, that reveals a heavenly grace. Though this is the broadest definition, it requires true grace of the Holy Spirit, not simply an emotional or experiential response.
7. A sociological an anthropological phenomena where different cultures adopt one-time foreign customs and internalize it into the donor culture. Such a process is found globally in all cultures but it is not necessarily part of a global movement.
8. A sociological, political, theological or anthropological process described in #7 that is part of a global movement such as the adoptions of imported foods, imported customs like international sports, or global ecumenical groups like WCC.

As you see, you are talking about definition #1 exclusively. Fr Seraphim mentioned #8. I think all of them are layers in charismatic revival. I was discussing #2-8 only to show that Dr Armanios comments reflect one or more of the other definitions, not #1. Each of these other definitions (#2-8) require more definitions of terms like grace, charisma, customs, heterodoxy, authentic gifts, etc. I am using them in a manner that I think is already acceptable in Orthodox discussions. But of course, that is an assumption that should be clarified up too.

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Her paper isn't published yet. It takes years for presentations of a symposium to be published.

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Cultural traditions, et cetera, should not be conflated with practices rooted in heterodox theology, which includes the Charismatic approach to and definition of praise and worship.
If such is the case, why do we have music like Eporo and Pekethronos? The music, allegedly, comes from polytheistic Ancient Egypt and rooted in polytheistic theology. Then there is the peculiar case of the Coptic hymn Kalos (a special hymn for the reception of the patriarch). A particular cantor sung and taught it in the Egyptian national anthem tune of his time and now it is the de facto tune used today. While the Egyptian national anthem is not theological, it is heterodoxy (ie, outside Orthodoxy). Again these illustrate my definition #7.

I think you're saying that as long as the cultural custom is not associated with Definition #1 in any way, it is fair game. In this case, while Eporo, Pekethronos and Kalos allegedly originated from heterodoxy, as long as it is not Charismatism as defined in #1, then they should stay. Is that correct? 

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   The Charismatic movement is undoubtedly authored by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit of God, and as such, its poison fruit should be out of bounds for the Orthodox Christian.
Agreed and I would say this is the deciding factor. Definitions #2-6 imply the work of the Holy Spirit.

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I know you’re not suggesting that we make room for the ecstatic fits of the Charismatics or their worldly “praise & worship” teams because you’ve made that clear in other parts of your post, but be aware that others would endeavor to twist what you’ve written above to do just that: “The Church allows for evolving forms of worship, so make way for those ‘catching the holy ghost’”.
If someone was dumb enough to make that claim, it would not dignify a response.

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I don't think so. I think she is speaking of a different meaning of charismatic worship. She described her meaning before as finding new ways to praise using ancient rites so that are "empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit". The liturgical language is "bear fruits of the Holy Spirit". Globally, during the reigns of Pope Cyril VI and Pope Shenouda, both charismatic figures, the Coptic Church was empowered by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This power trickled down from the hierarchy to local churches to individual parishioners and most if not all bore fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how I understood Dr Armanios' words.

Respectfully, my beloved brother, now I’m afraid you’re the one who is conflating definitions, or at least, unintentionally muddying the waters and leaving room for confusion.  I don’t have a problem with what you’ve written if the above in understood in an Orthodox context, but we must recognize that the above can also be twisted by those enamored of things Protestant to attempt to justify their activities.  Just because H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI and H.H. Pope Shenouda III were indeed charismatic individuals in the true sense of the term – and because they operated globally and had a global impact – this does not mean that they should at all be associated with the satanic global Charismatic movement as I’ve defined it above.  I’d also like to be sure that the phrase “new ways to praise using ancient rites” doesn’t leave room for what we both agree are heterodox and inappropriate forms of worship for our Church.
The example of Pope Cyril VI and Pope Shenouda III I have described above is not Charismatism as you yourself noted. It is also an example to illustrate how I interpreted Dr Armanios' comments - which I believe was charismatism as you defined it. There is no muddying the waters here. Even if the words could be twisted for charismatism, it necessarily means it can't be charismatism. Something twisted into X cannot be X otherwise it would not need twisting.

I hope I cleared things up.
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« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2013, 10:28:03 PM »

Here are the definitions I am using for charismatic revival...

Okay, now we're communicating!  Based on your definitions, I have no problem whatsoever with numbers 2-7.  I am diametrically opposed to number 1 and will never accept even an iota of it, for it is heresy and poison.  For the most part, I have no problem with number 8, other than that it includes the term "theological".  I realize this probably wasn't what you were articulating, but I don't agree with the idea of the Orthodox Church adopting heterodox theology, because it is by definition heretical.  Now, if you mean accepting an Orthodox position articulated in language we don't use ourselves - such as in our dialogue with the EO - that is perfectly fine.  But in that case, we aren't actually adopting a new theology at all, but are rather recognizing Orthodoxy as articulated by others.

So are we 100% in agreement, brother (he asked with hope)?

As you see, you are talking about definition #1 exclusively. Fr Seraphim mentioned #8. I think all of them are layers in charismatic revival.

I see what you mean, but I don't agree that they are all layers on the same onion.  Perhaps 2-8 can be said to be layers on the same onion, but number 1 is on a different vegetable entirely: perhaps a poisonous mushroom.  Why do I say this?  Because number 2-8 [excepting, of course, the stipulation I made concerning reception of theology in number 8] are either the authentic work of the Holy Spirit or are neutral, secular phenomena.  To endeavor to graft number 1 - the work of satan - onto the same vegetable as the others is to give it a validity it does not deserve.  Still with me, brother?

I was discussing #2-8 only to show that Dr Armanios comments reflect one or more of the other definitions, not #1. Each of these other definitions (#2-8) require more definitions of terms like grace, charisma, customs, heterodoxy, authentic gifts, etc. I am using them in a manner that I think is already acceptable in Orthodox discussions.

A very fair point.  Thanks for this clarification.  I have no problem with this at all.  That said, however, the PCRI apparently uses number 1 as their default definition, even to the point that they group the terms "Pentecostal and Charismatic" together in their organization's name.  They recognize that Charismatic (as defined in number 1) is simply Pentecostalism transplanted to other Christian bodies.  This is - by and large - the phenomenon they are concerned with studying.

But of course, that is an assumption that should be clarified up too.

So far, I find no fault with it, though others might.


Her paper isn't published yet. It takes years for presentations of a symposium to be published.

Yes, of course, you're quite correct.  On this point, I should have articulated myself better.  If she would be gracious enough to supply us with the working paper she used for the presentations - which will eventually form the core of the published paper - I should very much like to read it.  In the meantime, I shall continue to endeavor to run down the publication of the proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies at which the paper was presented through my institution of employment's library and keep a standing request for the same should it become available.  They're usually great about acquiring such things.

If such is the case, why do we have music like Eporo and Pekethronos? The music, allegedly, comes from polytheistic Ancient Egypt and rooted in polytheistic theology. Then there is the peculiar case of the Coptic hymn Kalos (a special hymn for the reception of the patriarch). A particular cantor sung and taught it in the Egyptian national anthem tune of his time and now it is the de facto tune used today. While the Egyptian national anthem is not theological, it is heterodoxy (ie, outside Orthodoxy). Again these illustrate my definition #7.

Brother, kindly re-read the portion of my text you've quoted which led to your interrogative above:

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Cultural traditions, et cetera, should not be conflated with practices rooted in heterodox theology, which includes the Charismatic approach to and definition of praise and worship.

None of the examples you've cited above derive from Christian heresies or misapprehensions of any Person of the Holy Trinity.  The same cannot be said about the practices I object to.  But we must be getting through to each other on some level, for as you've stated below...

I think you're saying that as long as the cultural custom is not associated with Definition #1 in any way, it is fair game. In this case, while Eporo, Pekethronos and Kalos allegedly originated from heterodoxy, as long as it is not Charismatism as defined in #1, then they should stay. Is that correct?

Not precisely.  My objection is indeed to anything rooted in number 1, but not exclusively.  Rather, it is more broadly applied to any practice rooted in Christian heresy.  Therefore, it would also include practices such as devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Christian heresy is worse than paganism.  Paganism meant ignorance of Christianity, and - so far as I've always been taught - the Lord in His mercy planted seeds of truth in paganism in order to prepare the heart of the heathen for harvest by His Apostles.  Christian heresy is different in that it involves a willful distortion of the truth of the Church.  It cannot bear good fruit.

Further, brother, I wouldn't apply the term "heterodox" in the context of our discussion to non-Christians.  When I say "heterodox", I mean Christians of confessions other than Orthodoxy.  As we both know, the term Orthodox can be applied to Jews and Muslims, but in the context of our discussion, we are using it to refer to a certain body Christians exclusively.  Some Protestants call themselves "Orthodox Presbyterians" and the like, but you and I know that when we say Orthodox, we mean the EO and the OO.  Likewise, by "heterodox" - although the term literally means "other teaching" and "other worship" and thus could be applied - like Orthodox - to a variety of religions, I use it in the same sense that Fr. Seraphim, Elder Cleopa, and Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick use it: that is, to refer to all non-Orthodox groups of Christians.

Agreed and I would say this is the deciding factor. Definitions #2-6 imply the work of the Holy Spirit.

I truly glorify God that we agree 100% on this point.  Smiley

There is no muddying the waters here. Even if the words could be twisted for charismatism, it necessarily means it can't be charismatism. Something twisted into X cannot be X otherwise it would not need twisting...If someone was dumb enough to make that claim, it would not dignify a response.

I agree.  But that doesn't mean they wouldn't try.  Before his elevation to the Throne of Alexandria, H.H. Pope Tawadros famously said:

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Let us not forget that non-Orthodox worship can pollute our being, leading to forgetfulness. It can cause one's mind to drift quite far, rendering him unable to value the Traditional Orthodox melodies and style of Church Worship.[...] Orthodox worship is distinct in its constant reminder of the real presence of Christ and his Saints in our lives. We must be careful to ensure that the worship songs we use are Orthodox in their origin, lyrics, melodies and in their spirit. Communion and unity with Christ ought to be embedded within their meaning.

Clearly, His Holiness is on the side of Orthodoxy in this discussion.  But the advocates of incorporating number 1 style Charismatism into the life of our Church vainly and ceaselessly argue against all logic on a variety of message board that...

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You've got it wrong!  This isn't what the pope meant at all.  He means that the composer of a hymn whether they're Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant should have an Orthodox spirit.

What?!?  Huh

I hope I cleared things up.

Absolutely, you did, beloved brother.  Pray for my weakness.  Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2013, 10:40:34 PM »

How is the fast going?
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« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2013, 12:01:31 AM »

How is the fast going?
It must be going well according to God's plan since we had a wonderful and fruitful discussion about it. Grin
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« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2013, 05:28:08 AM »

i appreciated remnkemi and antonious nikolas' discussion above, i think it was very balanced.
i feel nearly the same as them, but i think i express this in a less direct way.
eg. if someone sees i am a white person and asks me to bring an 'english song' to Bible study, i make sure to bring an orthodox one,
but if someone else brings a song from outside, i only comment if there is something theologically incorrect
(eg. 'i am saved, it is finished' instead of a work in progress) and then i would speak to the song bringer and the group leader separately and privately.

someone's cry to God, though expressed with incorrect theology may be very sincere and delicate,
so i think we should always be very cautious in our correction, realising we may also be wrong.

the most important thing is to explain how our spirituality is expressed within the orthodox church, e.g. the exorcism at every baptism,
the prophecies that our elders often have for those who visit them in distress etc.

we should encourage each other to develop our spiritual life so that we too can be close to God and experience his love and guidance,
in the miracles of Holy Communion and in fighting off the devil's schemes of pride and temptation each day.
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« Reply #60 on: December 19, 2013, 10:22:47 AM »

How is the fast going?

God is perfecting His strength in the weakness of His unworthy and sinful slave Antonious Nikolas and his stronger brothers.

It must be going well according to God's plan since we had a wonderful and fruitful discussion about it. Grin

Amen.  Fruitful is truly the right word.  I'm really enjoying our discourse!

(And for the record, in case I wasn't clear, yes, Eporo, Pe-Kethronos, Kalos, et cetera should stay.  Smiley

i appreciated remnkemi and antonious nikolas' discussion above, i think it was very balanced.

I appreciated and enjoyed my conversation with you as well, Mabsoota.  Smiley

i feel nearly the same as them, but i think i express this in a less direct way. eg. if someone sees i am a white person and asks me to bring an 'english song' to Bible study...

Oh, wow...this reminds me of dzheremi's post about being ready to receive everyone and make them feel welcome.  Nothing makes people feel welcome like saying, "Hey, white girl!  You must know some English songs!  You are, after all, white!  Not that you stand out or anything..."

Thank God, the worst I ever get is a shocked, "I thought you were Egyptian!" when I reveal that my Arabic is exhausted after "Ya Rabo Irham!"

But back to the topic at hand, what you've described above is part of the problem.  Some people just don't know any better and wrongly identify Charismatic and Evangelical songs simply as "English hymns" as if they are devoid of any theological implications whatsoever and are equal to the hymns of the Orthodox Church.  They think that Orthodoxy = the Christianity of the homeland and Protestantism or Catholicism = the Christianity of the "land of immigration", that the differences are mostly cultural, and theology is an after thought if indeed it is a thought at all.  I don't know what is prompting it - maybe H.H. Pope Tawadros II's visits to Pope Francis - but for some reason, I'm hearing a lot of talk among some of the Copts in local churches and online in recent months to the effect of, "I don't know why we don't just reunite with the Catholics right now.  The differences are mostly cultural".  Really?  This is very shocking to me, and it makes me wonder about the extent to which our laity have been educated in the Faith.

[Note: Just to clarify, I'm not saying that His Holiness shouldn't be making the visits, just that some people are maybe reading too much into them and think we have no substantial theological differences with the Catholics.]

I'm not saying this to be cruel, but I really do know quite a few people who think our differences with the Catholics - and sometimes even the Protestants - are cultural.  I know not everyone is going to read St. Athanasius On the Incarnation or The Philokalia, but we really need to do a better job in terms of education beyond simple Bible studies and teachings on morality.

i make sure to bring an orthodox one

I'm glad.  Smiley


but if someone else brings a song from outside, i only comment if there is something theologically incorrect
(eg. 'i am saved, it is finished' instead of a work in progress) and then i would speak to the song bringer and the group leader separately and privately.

Your tactic is the right one, and I applaud you for it, but is this a common occurrence where you live?  Our Abouna is (thank God) loving and kind but very strict, and following H.H. Pope Tawadros and H.G. Bishop David's clear instructions, he tells us that all songs used as a part of our corporate worship - whether in or outside of the Liturgy and other services - should be Orthodox in origin, ethos and approach to worship.

someone's cry to God, though expressed with incorrect theology may be very sincere and delicate,
so i think we should always be very cautious in our correction

Yes, we should be gentle.  But also consistent and in line with what our Fathers have decided for our benefit.  My Bishop and my Pope have declared that all of the songs used in our corporate worship should be Orthodox in content and in originMy Holy Synod forbid Protestant singing, books and prayers in our churches.  This has not been left to my discretion.  I am their child and I obey.

I wouldn't do it, but if someone feels that they are spiritually mature enough to thresh the wheat from the tares and wants to listen to Protestant songs in the privacy of their own home or car, that is between them and God; but they should not be bringing it into our Church.  It has no place in the life of our Church and no part in our corporate worship.  God willing, in time and with gentle and loving correction and education, this harmful trend will pass away.

realising we may also be wrong.

We are wrong only if we fail to be gentle and loving and injure the soul of the person we're correcting in the process.  We are wrong if we correct not out of love and because we love, but out of self-righteousness and a desire to control.  That is not what anyone is advocating here.  We are wrong if - like Moses in the story of Moses and the fox as told in Metropolitan Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray - we tell someone their offering of praise is wrong without bothering to take the time to lovingly teach them what is right. In the story, Moses points out the theological flaws in a simple shepherd's offering of milk - made in ignorance - to God.  Then, he leaves the man in despair and doesn't take the time to teach him the right way and why it is better for him. As my brother Remnkemi has pointed out, those who wish to undertake this gentle and loving correction should realize that they are making a long term commitment to dedicate their lives to teaching that which is right to replace that which is wrong, rather than simply cutting a swath of destruction through the spiritual lives of their brothers and sisters.  God help me, but that is what I'm signing on for.  I can't stand to see our people misled, and I'm willing to commit to the long term task of making the necessary corrections in love.  I can see by your post and by Remnkemi's that both of you are too.  God help us.

Does God accept the theologically incorrect praise offered in ignorance?  For example, did he accept what St. Athanasius called the "poison songs of Arius" when they were sung not by Arius himself but by those innocents led astray by him?  Perhaps He did because He is merciful.  Does that mean, however, that the Orthodox should have brought those songs into their gatherings?  God forbid.

We have to be loving, but we also have to exercise discretion, and not create a false equivalency between the things of God and His Church and the things of this world in the minds of the faithful.  When we take from them that which is harmful, we must not leave them empty-handed, but replace it with that which is beneficial, just as you've described below...

the most important thing is to explain how our spirituality is expressed within the orthodox church, e.g. the exorcism at every baptism,
the prophecies that our elders often have for those who visit them in distress etc.

we should encourage each other to develop our spiritual life so that we too can be close to God and experience his love and guidance,
in the miracles of Holy Communion and in fighting off the devil's schemes of pride and temptation each day.

Beautiful!  Perfect words, my beloved sister.  Pray for your weak brother, please.  Smiley
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« Reply #61 on: December 19, 2013, 11:14:44 AM »

This discussion reminds me of the "unorthodox" way that Saint John of Krondstadt conducted services. Here is a short blurb from an account by Bishop Alexander (Mileant): "At the conclusion of Matins, the communal confession began. At first the priest read the prayers before confession. Then, after saying a few words about repentance, he called out loudly so that the whole church could hear — ‘Repent!’ Something unimaginable started to happen. Sobs, cries, and vocal confessions of concealed sins erupted among the people. Some tried to exclaim their sins as loudly as possible so that Fr. John might hear and pray for them. Meanwhile, kneeling in front of the altar table and touching it with his forehead, Fr. John prayed ardently. Gradually the cries and shouts turned into crying and sobbing. This continued for 15 minutes. With perspiration pouring down his face, Fr. John stood up and walked out onto the pulpit. Entreaties to him for further prayers broke out from some of the people, but others silenced them and finally the church grew quiet. Lifting up high his epitrachelion and moving it above the bowed heads of the people, Fr. John read out the prayer of absolution. He then re-entered the altar and began the Liturgy."

There is much more at http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/johnkr2_e.htm
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« Reply #62 on: December 19, 2013, 12:01:34 PM »

Antonious Nikolas, you're making some important points but please don't include "charismatic" in your accusations. This "speaking in tongues" phenomenon is absolutely forbidden by the Church. Just as Salpy pointed out, those were exorcisms not any kind of charismatic event, anointing in the spirit or what have you. I'm a little concerned that you misunderstood that.

Egypt is a third world country with a lot of ingorant people who mess with things they shouldn't. For a number of reasons, its mostly Muslim women that get involved with this stuff and muslim sheikhs are unable to remove the evil spirits. This is how its always been. I just think its in very, very poor taste to broadcast it the way they do now.

And any so-called "praise & worship" music being performed is outside the liturgy. It is NEVER a part of the Liturgy. As you know, the zabbaleen are the poorest of the poor in Egypt. They literally have nothing. And many of them have been lost to Protestant groups. The Church is responding as best it can to these people's social, economic & spiritual needs with it's very limited resources. But, in this I mostly agree with your criticism.
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« Reply #63 on: December 19, 2013, 12:03:44 PM »

This discussion reminds me of the "unorthodox" way that Saint John of Krondstadt conducted services. Here is a short blurb from an account by Bishop Alexander (Mileant): "At the conclusion of Matins, the communal confession began. At first the priest read the prayers before confession. Then, after saying a few words about repentance, he called out loudly so that the whole church could hear — ‘Repent!’ Something unimaginable started to happen. Sobs, cries, and vocal confessions of concealed sins erupted among the people. Some tried to exclaim their sins as loudly as possible so that Fr. John might hear and pray for them. Meanwhile, kneeling in front of the altar table and touching it with his forehead, Fr. John prayed ardently. Gradually the cries and shouts turned into crying and sobbing. This continued for 15 minutes. With perspiration pouring down his face, Fr. John stood up and walked out onto the pulpit. Entreaties to him for further prayers broke out from some of the people, but others silenced them and finally the church grew quiet. Lifting up high his epitrachelion and moving it above the bowed heads of the people, Fr. John read out the prayer of absolution. He then re-entered the altar and began the Liturgy."

There is much more at http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/johnkr2_e.htm

May St. John intercede for us at the Throne of God!

What you seem to be describing here is the authentic charismatic activity that has always been present in the Orthodox Church (what Remnkemi has enumerated as types 2-5), which is truly the work of the Holy Spirit, stemming as it does from the Holy Mysteries (in this case, the Mystery of Confession) and having no connection whatsoever to the demonic delusions of Pentecostalism and the global Charismatic movement.

An interesting post from the excellent Mystagogy blog in which Archimandrite George of the Holy Monastery of Saint Gregory of the Holy Mountain at Stratoni of Halkidiki describes some of the differences between genuine and false experiences of the grace of God.

A brief excerpt:

Quote
Let us now look at the conditions which ensure whether different experiences we have are genuine and not false.

The first condition is that we should be men of repentance. If we do not repent of our sins and cleanse ourselves of our passions we cannot see God. As the Lord says in His beatitudes, "Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God". The more man cleanses himself from his passions, repents and returns to God, that much better he could feel and see God....

The Holy Fathers tell us: "Give blood and receive the Spirit". In other words, if you do not give the blood of your heart with your repentance, prayer, fasting, and asceticism, you cannot receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. True spiritual experiences are given to those who through humility do not ask for spiritual experiences, but ask God for repentance and salvation. To those who are humble and say, "My God, I am not worthy to receive a visitation of Your grace, and divine and heavenly solace and spiritual pleasures". To those however who through pride ask God to give them experiences, He will not give them true and genuine experiences due to their pride. So therefore the second is humility.

The third condition to receive a true spiritual experience is to be in the Church. Not outside the Church. For outside the Church the devil will deceive us. When a sheep becomes separated from the flock, it will be destroyed by the wolf. Within the flock there is security. The Christian inside the Church is secure. However, when he leaves the Church, he is exposed to the deceits of other people and of demons. We have many examples of many people who did not obey the Church and in their spiritual state they fell into deceits. And they believed that they saw God or that they were visited by God when in reality the experiences they had were demonic and destructive to them. Also it helps greatly to have pure and warm prayer. The truth is that at the time of prayer God gives most spiritual experiences to man. For this, those who pray with longing, zeal and patience, receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the feeling of the grace of God.

Abba George continues on the subject of the Pentecostals/Charismatics...

Quote
People have false experiences of God when they believe that by themselves, with their own powers, in heresies, in groups, in religious gatherings, outside the Church, they can receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. They gather and some new "prophet" acts the leader and they believe they are receiving the grace of God.

It happened that I was present at a gathering of Pentecostals in the United States in 1966 while I was there. Their "church" was a hall of a school. First someone started to play some music with soft and gentle sounds, which as it went on it was becoming progressively more intensive, deafening and frantic so that it caused excitement. The music finished and the preacher started. He too started gently and as he continued he would scream louder. At the end he too created an excited atmosphere. And then when all the people suffered from auto-suggestion and hysteria, they started to scream and move their hands and give out unintelligible shouts. I felt that the Spirit of God was not there, which is a Spirit of peace and not of disturbance and excitement. The Spirit of God does not come with artificial and psychological ways. Instead I felt sorry for the children that were there with their parents for they could suffer the consequences of this mass neurosis....

Other experiences in heretic gatherings are not only psychological. They could be demonic. The devil manipulates the seeking of such experiences by some people and presents them different signs which are not of God but theirs - diabolical. They cannot understand that they are victims of the devil. They believe these signs are heavenly and from the Holy Spirit. The devil also can give them some prophetic capability as he gives to the "mediums". The Lord has however forewarned us, "There will rise false christs and false prophets and will give you great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24), They won't simply do miracles and wonders, scary signs. Like the Antichrist when he will come he will not do bad things. He will do benefactions, healing of the sick and other impressive things to deceive the people, if possible even the elect, to believe him as savior and follow him.  That is why we must be careful. Everyone who can do signs and prophesies is not always from God...The experiences of the Pentecostals are not from God. For this, not only are they not helped to come to Church but instead they are driven away from the Church. For only the devil is interested in driving people out of the Church.

There's much more, and it really is worth a read.

From the same excellent blog, the words of Elder Paisios:

Quote
Elder, the things that are said by those who go over to the Pentecostals – that is, about seeing visions, speaking in tongues, etc. – are those things from their own imagination, or from demonic influences?

They are energies of demonic influences; because when they go over to the Pentecostals and are re-baptized, they are actually disregarding and denying Holy Baptism: "I confess one Baptism, for the remission of sins," as the Creed declares. Thus, they un-baptize themselves and become susceptible to demonic influences and then they jabber-jabber, supposedly in tongues. "It is the Holy Spirit of Pentecost talking" they tell us. But it is not the Holy Spirit; it is a whole lot of unclean spirits. What tongues? They are merely uttering gibberish, which not even they can comprehend. They even record that gibberish and then produce statistics and reach conclusions: "That tongue has so many ‘hallelujahs’ in it, and there are so many in the other tongue…" Well, it’s to be expected, among so much jabber-jabber, you will surely hear something that resembles the word ‘hallelujah’ in one of the languages of the world! And so you can see, while it is something demonic, they actually believe that which is demonic to be the energy of the Holy Spirit, and that they are supposedly experiencing what the Apostles had experienced on the day of the Pentecost! Blasphemies are the things they believe, which is why they become demon-possessed.

Finally, another article on the attempted inroads of the global Charismatic movement in Greece and the response of the Orthodox Church there.

Quote
Their congregations claim to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit which the Apostles received on the day of Pentecost, but in fact they receive DEMONIC gifts which lead them to 1) Speak in incomprehensible tongues which they do not interpret, and 2) Falsely prophesy....The Holy Metropolis calls on believers to not listen to the proclamations of the heretics and not participate in their events.

This plague is the latest gadfly to pester the Church, and it often leads those of simple faith astray with its false "signs and wonders".  We should be cautious, but never worried, because as Our Lord has promised, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church (St. Matthew 16:18).
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« Reply #64 on: December 19, 2013, 12:05:22 PM »

As you know, the zabbaleen are the poorest of the poor in Egypt. They literally have nothing. And many of them have been lost to Protestant groups. The Church is responding as best it can to these people's social, economic & spiritual needs with it's very limited resources.

True enough, but Orthodoxy is free.
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« Reply #65 on: December 19, 2013, 12:19:49 PM »

Antonious Nikolas, you're making some important points but please don't include "charismatic" in your accusations. This "speaking in tongues" phenomenon is absolutely forbidden by the Church. Just as Salpy pointed out, those were exorcisms not any kind of charismatic event, anointing in the spirit or what have you. I'm a little concerned that you misunderstood that.

Remnkemi and I have already covered this and clarified our definitions of the term "charismatic".  Any "misunderstandings" have been cleared up so you needn't be concerned.  As I've indicated, it wasn't the exorcisms that I objected to, but some of the other activitiess: the fact that the service was described as Charismatic (which I took to mean definition 1) in the piece, that emotionalism was clearly on display and Protestant music was playing, et cetera.  Also, it wasn't at first clear if the woman who was passed out at the end was someone who'd received an exorcism or was someone (God forbid) who was "slain in the (unholy) spirit".  I'm happy you're reporting that no one was praying in so-called "tongues", et cetera, and that this was not a Charismatic event.  It is very reassuring, and I thank you, though I still object to the Protestant music, et cetera.

Egypt is a third world country with a lot of ingorant people who mess with things they shouldn't. For a number of reasons, its mostly Muslim women that get involved with this stuff and muslim sheikhs are unable to remove the evil spirits. This is how its always been. I just think its in very, very poor taste to broadcast it the way they do now.

Excellent point.  Unfortunately, the Third World doesn't have the market cornered on ignorant people who mess with things they shouldn't.  Some of our churches here in North America are also struggling with this issue.  May God save us.

And any so-called "praise & worship" music being performed is outside the liturgy. It is NEVER a part of the Liturgy.

Thank God for that, but it shouldn't be a part of our corporate worship inside or outside of the Divine Liturgy.  It's influence is a creeping one, however, and some posters on these boards from Canada (hardly a Third World nation) have reported people singing so-called "praise & worship" music instead of Psalm 150 during the Holy Liturgy as the people process up to receive the Eucharist.  I would take off my tonia and walk out.

As you know, the zabbaleen are the poorest of the poor in Egypt. They literally have nothing. And many of them have been lost to Protestant groups. The Church is responding as best it can to these people's social, economic & spiritual needs with it's very limited resources. But, in this I mostly agree with your criticism.

We can't give them poison within the Church to prevent them from seeking poison outside of the Church.  Many of the saints were simple people.  We have to teach them, as Sayedna Anba David says and as Mabsoota articulated in her excellent post, to rediscover the depth of our own Orthodox spirituality.

True enough, but Orthodoxy is free.

Amen!
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« Reply #66 on: December 19, 2013, 12:27:49 PM »


And any so-called "praise & worship" music being performed is outside the liturgy. It is NEVER a part of the Liturgy.

Thank God for that, but it shouldn't be a part of our corporate worship inside or outside of the Divine Liturgy.  It's influence is a creeping one, however, and some posters on these boards from Canada (hardly a Third World nation) have reported people singing so-called "praise & worship" music instead of Psalm 150 during the Holy Liturgy as the people process up to receive the Eucharist.  I would take off my tonia and walk out.

To play the devil's advocate here, weren't the cymbals and triangles that Copts use originally a holdover from pagan (or at the very least secular) customs? Why is using those instruments considered OK for liturgy, but having a christian themed concert outside of liturgy seen as a bad thing?
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« Reply #67 on: December 19, 2013, 12:45:26 PM »

Antoinous' example was within the liturgy (the singing of "praise and worship songs" instead of Psalm 150 during communion; I would walk out of that, too), but the difference would be, Sheenj, that the cymbals actually do have a function within the liturgy as time-keeping devices (at least in my church, they only get brought out as necessary, not as ornamental decoration), and as such be considered to be a help in reciting the hymns. No such analogous role can be said of completely jettisoning the hymns in favor of Protestant worship songs...they're actually diametrically opposed...
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« Reply #68 on: December 19, 2013, 12:46:15 PM »

To play the devil's advocate here, weren't the cymbals and triangles that Copts use originally a holdover from pagan (or at the very least secular) customs? Why is using those instruments considered OK for liturgy, but having a christian themed concert outside of liturgy seen as a bad thing?

Thank you for advocating for satan and his works!  Grin

But seriously, as to the pagan origins of cymbals and triangles, please consider the following exchange between Remnkemi and my weakness:

If such is the case, why do we have music like Eporo and Pekethronos? The music, allegedly, comes from polytheistic Ancient Egypt and rooted in polytheistic theology. Then there is the peculiar case of the Coptic hymn Kalos (a special hymn for the reception of the patriarch). A particular cantor sung and taught it in the Egyptian national anthem tune of his time and now it is the de facto tune used today. While the Egyptian national anthem is not theological, it is heterodoxy (ie, outside Orthodoxy). Again these illustrate my definition #7.

Brother, kindly re-read the portion of my text you've quoted which led to your interrogative above:

Quote
Cultural traditions, et cetera, should not be conflated with practices rooted in heterodox theology, which includes the Charismatic approach to and definition of praise and worship.

None of the examples you've cited above derive from Christian heresies or misapprehensions of any Person of the Holy Trinity.  The same cannot be said about the practices I object to.  But we must be getting through to each other on some level, for as you've stated below...

I think you're saying that as long as the cultural custom is not associated with Definition #1 in any way, it is fair game. In this case, while Eporo, Pekethronos and Kalos allegedly originated from heterodoxy, as long as it is not Charismatism as defined in #1, then they should stay. Is that correct?

Not precisely.  My objection is indeed to anything rooted in number 1, but not exclusively.  Rather, it is more broadly applied to any practice rooted in Christian heresy.  Therefore, it would also include practices such as devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Christian heresy is worse than paganism.  Paganism meant ignorance of Christianity, and - so far as I've always been taught - the Lord in His mercy planted seeds of truth in paganism in order to prepare the heart of the heathen for harvest by His Apostles.  Christian heresy is different in that it involves a willful distortion of the truth of the Church.  It cannot bear good fruit.

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

As to the idea of the use of instruments in general, again, it is our theological orientation which informs our approach to worship and governs the way we utilize musical instruments therein.  In keeping with their shared theological heritage and approach to worship, the function of instruments in each of the Oriental Orthodox Churches is precisely the same.  In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the cymbals and the triangles are employed only during the appropriate Verses of the Cymbals, and then only in a very simple fashion to mark the time of the chanting.  The same is true of the traditional drums and the percussive instruments employed by the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches.  In the Syriac and Armenian churches, organs are used alongside traditional chant in much the same way as the cymbals and triangle are employed among the Copts, that is to say as time keeping devices that help to keep the chanter in tune.  The same is true among the various Western Rite Orthodox churches.

Instruments serve an entirely different purpose in Evangelical and Charismatic traditions because their approach to worship derives from a theological tradition that is radically dissimilar to that of Orthodoxy.  Here, eliciting an excessive emotional response in the worshippers is not something to be avoided, but rather a goal, proof of the activity of what Charismatic and Evangelical Protestants claim to be the “Holy Spirit”.  This is also why the use of the kinds of melodic instruments eschewed in the Orthodox Tradition makes perfect sense within the context of a Charismatic or Evangelical “praise & worship” service.  Since these churches have abolished liturgical worship, that is to say, worship patterned on the Heavenly template, they have developed in its stead a new, "me-centered" form of “worship”, one focused on preaching and the singing of songs patterned on those of the world.  This is exactly what the Fathers of the Orthodox Church say that Christians should not do.  St. Clement of Alexandria writes against the use of instruments in worship to “enflame the passions”.
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« Reply #69 on: December 19, 2013, 12:49:25 PM »

Quote
My criticism was not about the content of your post, but the fact that you seem to have a lot of disdain for the clergy of the Church that's reflected not just in the above post, but in a fair number your other posts that I've seen as well.

I despise any person, whether he/she is a lay person or he is a clergy, who approves, encourages and participates in any unorthodox worship or practice in the Coptic Orthodox Church. There are many clergy and laymen who fall under this category. It does not matter to me in what capacity this person is "serving" in the Church, whether it is the Patriarch or some kind of self proclaimed expert in Coptic language. He / she do not deserve any respect. 

If this person is in a position of authority, and he is well aware of the unorthodox practices, does nothing, having seen the harm done to the sheep, and having had time to correct the situation, he must be one of the following three:

1) A Traitor
2) A Weakling
3) An obtuse and ignorant person who does not appreciate the danger the Church is facing

Respect this? Never.

You can complete the list with other suggestions.

I make a distinction between those who are aiding heresy, and those who are fighting the good fight, even if they do not succeed because they have no support from their fellow clergy or from the already destroyed and Protestantized congregations. I have continuously praised Anba Rophael, Anba Macarius, Father Dawoud Lam3y and others, although in all probability their efforts will be undone by their enemies inside the Church. To fight and to fall injured or slain is honorable and worthy of praise.

 

 
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« Reply #70 on: December 19, 2013, 12:51:11 PM »

Antoinous' example was within the liturgy (the singing of "praise and worship songs" instead of Psalm 150 during communion; I would walk out of that, too), but the difference would be, Sheenj, that the cymbals actually do have a function within the liturgy as time-keeping devices (at least in my church, they only get brought out as necessary, not as ornamental decoration), and as such be considered to be a help in reciting the hymns. No such analogous role can be said of completely jettisoning the hymns in favor of Protestant worship songs...they're actually diametrically opposed...

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was just referring to the first part of his post, where he says:

Thank God for that, but it shouldn't be a part of our corporate worship inside or outside of the Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2013, 12:58:57 PM »

Ah. Forgive me; I missed that in the original post.

Anyway, he's right, all Devil's advocates aside. It would be foolish to think that we can hermetically isolate the worship within the liturgy from worship outside of it as though one won't affect the other. If I were to attend and participate in prayers in a mosque on Friday before going to liturgy on Sunday, I doubt anyone would pardon me on the grounds that it was outside of the liturgy. Outside of the liturgy is where literally all of the problems we are facing originate. But we cannot compartmentalize our faith in such a way and still be healthy. We've already seen what happens with that in the churches in DC, Canada and elsewhere. It's a huge problem.
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« Reply #72 on: December 19, 2013, 01:08:33 PM »

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was just referring to the first part of his post, where he says:

Thank God for that, but it shouldn't be a part of our corporate worship inside or outside of the Divine Liturgy.

I hope my post above answered your concerns.  It's not the idea of extra-liturgical singing I object to, it's the origin, content, approach and ethos of the material chosen.  Per our Pope and Holy Synod's instructions, all of the songs we utilize in our corporate worship - inside or outside of the Liturgy - should be Orthodox in every aspect.  "Rockin' out for Jesus" is not worship.  We don't need to bait our youth with sugar-coated poison to keep them in the Church.

It would be foolish to think that we can hermetically isolate the worship within the liturgy from worship outside of it as though one won't affect the other. If I were to attend and participate in prayers in a mosque on Friday before going to liturgy on Sunday, I doubt anyone would pardon me on the grounds that it was outside of the liturgy. Outside of the liturgy is where literally all of the problems we are facing originate. But we cannot compartmentalize our faith in such a way and still be healthy. We've already seen what happens with that in the churches in DC, Canada and elsewhere. It's a huge problem.

Very well said.  It "creeps".  And not only in the Coptic Church.  I visited an Indian Church once (I won't say where or in which faction) and the choir started singing a Protestant song as the people processed up to receive Achen's blessing at the end.  One of the priests turned to me and said sheepishly, "This isn't an Orthodox song.  They're not supposed to be doing this".  He looked so embarrassed, kind of shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head helplessly, I didn't know what to say.  I just kind of smiled and shrugged back.

Thank God, we don't really see this stuff in the Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syrian or Armenian Churches.  It seems to be localized in the Coptic and Indian communities.  In God's time, it will atrophy and fall away.  Satan is only given dominion for a time.
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« Reply #73 on: December 19, 2013, 01:30:22 PM »


I hope my post above answered your concerns.  It's not the idea of extra-liturgical singing I object to, it's the origin, content, approach and ethos of the material chosen.  Per our Pope and Holy Synod's instructions, all of the songs we utilize in our corporate worship - inside or outside of the Liturgy - should be Orthodox in every aspect.  "Rockin' out for Jesus" is not worship.  We don't need to bait our youth with sugar-coated poison to keep them in the Church.

Yeah, thank you for bearing with me through my questions. After reading through your post, I think I can agree with pretty much all of the points you've made.
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« Reply #74 on: December 19, 2013, 02:05:26 PM »

I've been following this conversation with some interest; not knowing in depth the kinds of problems affecting the Coptic Church, however, I can't say it is very easy to follow.  Tongue  But Antonious Nikolas just raised my blood pressure a little bit:

Very well said.  It "creeps".  And not only in the Coptic Church.  I visited an Indian Church once (I won't say where or in which faction) and the choir started singing a Protestant song as the people processed up to receive Achen's blessing at the end.  One of the priests turned to me and said sheepishly, "This isn't an Orthodox song.  They're not supposed to be doing this".  He looked so embarrassed, kind of shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head helplessly, I didn't know what to say.  I just kind of smiled and shrugged back.

Thank God, we don't really see this stuff in the Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syrian or Armenian Churches.  It seems to be localized in the Coptic and Indian communities.  In God's time, it will atrophy and fall away.  Satan is only given dominion for a time.

That priest is right, and may his tribe increase.  Unfortunately, I've seen priests who "actively tolerate" or even promote the singing of such songs at precisely that moment (i.e., the veneration of the Cross at the end) because "at that point, the Liturgy is over".  Technically, this is correct: the liturgical dismissal has been given, and the veneration of the Cross at the end is not necessary, but customary (it is just as permitted to draw the curtain closed and have the people leave in peace).  But it completely ignores the fact that the music is heterodox in its lyrics and style and that you are giving the people mixed messages.  All they can see is that it is popular, catchy, gets people involved, etc....they view it as a pastoral issue (as if theology is not pastoral).  If there is any thought given to the theology of those songs by such priests, all that is demonstrated in the end is how limited and erroneous their theological and liturgical understanding is.  And the ecclesiastical and clerical culture is such that correcting errors is very much the uphill ascent to Golgotha, while imposing errors is easy.  Stavro's characterisation of such people as traitors, weaklings, or obtuse and ignorant persons opening the gate of the sheepfold to allow foxes to enter and roam freely, while sounding harsh, is unfortunately the truth.  At least there are Copts fasting and praying for their Church...       
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« Reply #75 on: December 19, 2013, 03:06:49 PM »

Yeah, thank you for bearing with me through my questions. After reading through your post, I think I can agree with pretty much all of the points you've made.

It's not "bearing with you", brother.  It's my pleasure to dialogue with you.  Smiley

In playing the devil's advocate, you're performing a valuable service.  We have to be able to give an answer to just these sorts of questions when they're put to us by the youth in their innocence or the corrupters of our Church for less than godly reasons.

I've been following this conversation with some interest; not knowing in depth the kinds of problems affecting the Coptic Church, however, I can't say it is very easy to follow.  Tongue  But Antonious Nikolas just raised my blood pressure a little bit:

Sorry, Mor!  Now I'm picturing you slowly and angrily counting to ten now, like Andy Panda's Pa.

That priest is right, and may his tribe increase.

Amen.  He really is a good man.  

Unfortunately, I've seen priests who "actively tolerate" or even promote the singing of such songs at precisely that moment (i.e., the veneration of the Cross at the end) because "at that point, the Liturgy is over".  Technically, this is correct: the liturgical dismissal has been given, and the veneration of the Cross at the end is not necessary, but customary (it is just as permitted to draw the curtain closed and have the people leave in peace).  But it completely ignores the fact that the music is heterodox in its lyrics and style and that you are giving the people mixed messages.  All they can see is that it is popular, catchy, gets people involved, etc....they view it as a pastoral issue (as if theology is not pastoral).  If there is any thought given to the theology of those songs by such priests, all that is demonstrated in the end is how limited and erroneous their theological and liturgical understanding is.

Hey, I can't throw stones, brother.  As Stavro has pointed out on several occassions, we've got a few ourselves.  I think that we as Oriental Orthodox need to make sure that our priests are thoroughly trained and educated - in Orthodox seminaries - before sending them out as sheep among the wolves.  How many priests do we all know who've been educated either in Protestant seminaries (where they pick up all manner of bad praxis and heretical theology) or not at all, but simply ordained because we need them on the frontlines?  

And the ecclesiastical and clerical culture is such that correcting errors is very much the uphill ascent to Golgotha, while imposing errors is easy.


Very true and very well-observed.  How easy is it for an ignorant but well-intentioned servant to introduce youth activities that are inappropriate, heterodox, and based on something he saw on TBN or CBN (which he shouldn't be watching in the first place), and how hard is it for someone to come along and uproot that patch of lethal hemlock without bruising egos and looking like a cross between John Calvin and Darth Vader?

Stavro's characterisation of such people as traitors, weaklings, or obtuse and ignorant persons opening the gate of the sheepfold to allow foxes to enter and roam freely, while sounding harsh, is unfortunately the truth.

Stavro says a lot of things that sound harsh but are but are actually true.  

At least there are Copts fasting and praying for their Church...

Join us!  Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy.  We're one Church.  Let me know when, and I'm down to fast and pray for the Indian Church as well.  We'll announce it on returntoorthodoxy.com.  Just give me a couple of days first.  My head's swimming as I type this.  Wink
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« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2013, 03:28:45 PM »

Folks, I think that we sometimes cannot see past the externals. In my post about St John of Kronstadt, I failed to point out that his practice of conducting a common confession was not a common practice nor was it in the rubrics. He replaced individual confessions;penance/reconciliation with a common service. To some in the Church, he was an innovator, a Protestant may be.  Wink

I am not insinuating that y'all are not correct in your critique of the heterodox who make a doctrine of speaking in tongues and other such things. My point is that sometimes we see a strange thing and jump to conclusions. One such instance was when somebody reported female altar girls in a GOA church. The rhubarb that followed was a sight to behold; weeping, gnashing of teeth, doom and gloom... It turned out that these girls were never in the altar,although they indeed participated in the Great Entrance; they had sat in the front left pew and joined the procession only within the nave.
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« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2013, 03:35:38 PM »

I think that we as Oriental Orthodox need to make sure that our priests are thoroughly trained and educated - in Orthodox seminaries - before sending them out as sheep among the wolves.  How many priests do we all know who've been educated either in Protestant seminaries (where they pick up all manner of bad praxis and heretical theology) or not at all, but simply ordained because we need them on the frontlines?  

You nailed it, Antonious Nikolas. This is truly one of our biggest problems.

Sorry for not catching your and Remnkemi clearing up the charismatic language issue, but I'd really like to see it removed from your petition. I don't think I'm the only one to understand charismatic = speaking in tongues.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/fasting-cessation-charismatic-evangelical-influence/

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« Reply #78 on: December 19, 2013, 04:12:40 PM »

i agree with carl kraeff we need to see beyond the externals.
sometimes we need to really focus and confess our sins.

last time i went to church, it was to my friends' greek orthodox (eccumenical patriarchate) church.
(i call it greek orthodox as everything was in greek with very limited translation)
towards the end of the great entrance, i broke down weeping for my sins and was very deeply moved.
it was a great relief for me, as i hadn't wept for my sins for too long, not even at home as i did not really feel their seriousness.
so these things happen sometime, and we should not jump to conclusions.

antonious nikolas, are you not ethnically egyptian? how come you look egyptian, are you mixed race?
sometimes mid brown and pale brown people can be less obviously 'from outside'.
i thought one lady of indian ethnicity was coptic for ages, and wondered how she managed such really straight hair!
thank God, i never got around to asking her!

don't worry, i don't mind at all sticking out for being white (and i am paler than most white british people for some reason, i have to flee from the sun in summer to avoid pain and red blotches).
one of my friends (in a different coptic church i used to be in when i lived there) even gives herself the nickname 'white girl'!
we joke about it because many ethnic groups have suffered for their ethnicity at the hands of white people in history, so we can handle being in the minority.
i remember meeting her on a sunny day and offering her sun cream. it made us feel special to be different and need suncream!
we didn't get any real problems for not being egyptian, people are generally very kind and helpful.
the group i am in at the moment doesn't do any singing, as most people in it don't like to sing. so i don't need to combat any inappropriate songs currently.  Smiley

by the way, if anyone wants to find lots of singing in the coptic orthodox church, he or she should attend tasbeha - night praises.
on average, the singing goes on non stop for 2 - 3 hours! it is very moving and there is no dodgy theology.
i would strongly recommend it (the few weeks before Christmas is the best time to go, almost all churches, however small, hold it on saturday late eve).
voices are saved from over use by each verse being sang by one side of the church at a time, in a call and response fashion.
but if you like the song very much, you can sing all the verses, there are no rules against this!
i went to tasbeha the day before i wept for my sins, i think it helped a lot.

if you, sadly, can't attend a coptic tasbeha, go for vespers at your church and learn the songs.
 Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: December 19, 2013, 05:21:55 PM »

Folks, I think that we sometimes cannot see past the externals.

That's not what's going on here.  Please don't think that this is all about the 60 Minutes piece as an isolated incident or something silly that boils down to "style" or "externals", like a particular priest's manner of preaching.  Our posts in this thread aren't a kneejerk reaction to a one-off phenomenon that we happened not to like.  This is something that I for one have been quietly observing for a very long time.  I held my tongue for a very long time too, fasting and praying about it for years before I ever spoke up about it publically.  When I did, it was not with relish, but with caution and a certain degree of sadness.  I talked to my priest and bishop about it years before I posted anything on this forum or anywhere else.  Stavro has been dealing with it longer than some of us in this thread have been alive.  According to Dr. Armanios (and many other authorities on the subject) this is something that has been simmering since at least the late 60s-early 70s.  After much prayer, fasting and quiet contemplation, it's time to lance the boil...to at least have the conversation.

In my post about St John of Kronstadt, I failed to point out that his practice of conducting a common confession was not a common practice nor was it in the rubrics. He replaced individual confessions;penance/reconciliation with a common service. To some in the Church, he was an innovator, a Protestant may be.  Wink

Far be it from me to call him that.  May he pray for us at the Throne of God.  I'm no expert on this saint of God, but I doubt that what he was doing was inspired in any way by the spirit that motivates the Charismatic movement.  In fact, in the article I linked to in my other posts, Fr. Seraphim contrasts the authentic charisma of St. John with the demonic deception of the Charismatic movement and makes note of how those proponents of bringing the Charismatic movement into the Church misappropriate the legacy of saints like him, St. Simeon the New Theologian, and others.  I'm certainly not ascribing this behavior to you, but simply noting that what we're discussing in this thread is nothing like the actions of St. John or any other authentic action of the Holy Spirit within the Church.

His practice of corporate confession isn't unknown in Orthodoxy.  It seems to be pretty much the rule in the Armenian Church (every time I go, I do it).  What we're talking about here isn't at all like your story about St. John.  We know what is going on in our Church and we know where it came from.  Our bishops even say so.  H.G. Anba Suriel is an outspoken critic of what is going on and minces no words as to the origins of these activities.  It's not my place to link to it, but His Grace even posted a video of a sermon given by a priest that was lifted directly from the sermon of a mega-church pastor side-by-side with the original to reveal the origin of the heterodox teaching.

Again, none of us here deludes himself that he is another St. Athanasius and none of us even enjoys having these discussions in private, let alone in public.  It's just that we've been forced into the position of remaining silent and watching more of our youth be led astray or finally saying something.

I am not insinuating that y'all are not correct in your critique of the heterodox who make a doctrine of speaking in tongues and other such things. My point is that sometimes we see a strange thing and jump to conclusions. One such instance was when somebody reported female altar girls in a GOA church. The rhubarb that followed was a sight to behold; weeping, gnashing of teeth, doom and gloom... It turned out that these girls were never in the altar,although they indeed participated in the Great Entrance; they had sat in the front left pew and joined the procession only within the nave.

Carl, I truly wish it were that simple and that we were mistaken.  I really and truly do.  Unfortunately, it's not and we're not.  I think that most of us posting here are eyewitnesses to what we're complaining about, and more than one of us has spoken to bishops and others in authority who have confirmed our fears and even told us about things that were worse than what we had seen with our own eyes.

It may no longer be the case in the Eastern Orthodox Church (as I've heard and read it was in the 1970s) but it is a fact that unfortunately, there are quarters of the Oriental Orthodox Church that have adopted heterodox teaching materials and practice, and it has to stop.  May the same merciful God who caused this poison crop to wither in the Eastern Orthodox Communion now do the same for His children in Oriental Orthodoxy.

Sorry for not catching your and Remnkemi clearing up the charismatic language issue, but I'd really like to see it removed from your petition. I don't think I'm the only one to understand charismatic = speaking in tongues.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/fasting-cessation-charismatic-evangelical-influence/

Would you say that "speaking in tongues" is the only example of Charismatic influence, or would hyper-emotionalism, certain forms of music, et cetera, also fit the bill?  I know that I for one have heard music originating in Charismatic circles played at Coptic youth events, and have seen publications by writers affiliated with Charismatism utilized in some of our meetings.

Mabsoota, your sweet posts never fail to make me smile.  Thank you!  Smiley

i agree with carl kraeff we need to see beyond the externals.

This is true, my dear sister, but as I explained to Carl, and as I think you already know, those of us complaining of Protestant influence on our beloved Church aren't judging by externals here.  This is an issue we've been dealing with for years.  Most of us could even provide hard evidence of inappropriate materials, activities, et cetera, utilized in certain quarters of the Church, but won't do so because we don't want to call anyone out in public.  We want to fix the problem, not the blame.

sometimes we need to really focus and confess our sins.

Amen.  This is true.  I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.

last time i went to church, it was to my friends' greek orthodox (eccumenical patriarchate) church.
(i call it greek orthodox as everything was in greek with very limited translation)
towards the end of the great entrance, i broke down weeping for my sins and was very deeply moved.
it was a great relief for me, as i hadn't wept for my sins for too long, not even at home as i did not really feel their seriousness.
so these things happen sometime, and we should not jump to conclusions.

Glory to God, my dear sister.  We're not running around pointing fingers at everyone who cries in church shouting "prelest!"  We're not Matthew Hopkins readying our ducking stools.  It's unfair to characterize us in that way.  H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie used to weep before the altar.  We're talking about something different: a clear, discernible, traceable heterodox influence in our Church that has to stop.

antonious nikolas, are you not ethnically Egyptian?

No, I'm not ethnically Egyptian. If you want my origin story, either pm me or buy a copy of Marvel Team-Up # 74.

egyptian, people are generally very kind and helpful.

This is true.  They've been gracious allowing a beggar like me into the Church they've paid for with their blood.  God bless Egypt, His people.

the group i am in at the moment doesn't do any singing, as most people in it don't like to sing. so i don't need to combat any inappropriate songs currently.  Smiley

Glory to God.

by the way, if anyone wants to find lots of singing in the coptic orthodox church, he or she should attend tasbeha - night praises.
on average, the singing goes on non stop for 2 - 3 hours! it is very moving and there is no dodgy theology.
i would strongly recommend it (the few weeks before Christmas is the best time to go, almost all churches, however small, hold it on saturday late eve).
voices are saved from over use by each verse being sang by one side of the church at a time, in a call and response fashion.
but if you like the song very much, you can sing all the verses, there are no rules against this!
i went to tasbeha the day before i wept for my sins, i think it helped a lot.

if you, sadly, can't attend a coptic tasbeha, go for vespers at your church and learn the songs.
 Smiley

Amen and amen.  I love Tasbeha.  We need to cultivate a love of our Orthodox hymnography in the youth because, as H.G. Anba David says, “In the hymns of the Church, we find all the theology, and dogma, and doctrines of the Church…we do not only want our young people to be good Christians, but we want them to be Orthodox Christians”.
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« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2013, 05:33:33 PM »

just to clarify, i didn't want to depict you as someone who wants to avoid all crying or emotion in church.
i am sorry if it looked that way.

i want other people reading this thread to realise that the issue is complex and that we orthodox Christians are ok with emotion, just not ok with mass hysteria.

i used to be an active member of 'charismatic' protestant churches for about 7 years, and i attended many others since with friends and relatives.
the last time was when an american tv evangelist came to uk and i spent the whole 'service' wanting to hide under the seat!
the loud continuous music and flashing lights made me think i had got lost and ended up the wrong side of eternity!
(why are these tv evangelists not linked to any main stream churches? each one seems to have his / her own denomination!)

having said this, in case anyone thinks i am out to get protestants, when i last visited a protestant church ('evangelical' side of anglican church) with friends,
i was so impressed with the sermon on the incarnation of Jesus Christ that i gave the preacher a booklet i had in my bag which was a youth version of explaining the natures of Christ in an orthodox way,
with references to the church councils. the preacher seemed genuinely interested as he was a student of theology.
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« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2013, 05:59:09 PM »

just to clarify, i didn't want to depict you as someone who wants to avoid all crying or emotion in church.
i am sorry if it looked that way.

i want other people reading this thread to realise that the issue is complex and that we orthodox Christians are ok with emotion, just not ok with mass hysteria.

No harm done, sister.  And your point is well taken.  Smiley


(why are these tv evangelists not linked to any main stream churches? each one seems to have his / her own denomination!)

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« Reply #82 on: August 18, 2014, 11:08:36 AM »

Glory to God!  Thanks to the intercession of St. Simon the Tanner and Pope St. Abraam, Fr. Abanoub, the priest of the church discussed in this thread and featured in the 60 Minutes piece (the Muqattam church) has put a halt to the singing of Protestant songs in the parish, as well as the performances of Evangelical singers.  I am thankful to God that everywhere I look it seems the trend of Protestant influence on our Coptic Orthodox Church and youth is being reversed.  I can hardly contain my joy.  We are off to a good start, but there is still much work to do.  Let us continue to fast, pray and work hard for the cessation of Protestant influence in our Oriental Orthodox communion. May God bless, strengthen and reward Abouna Abanoub and may St. Abanoub's prayers be with him.  Let this also serve as an example to those who say this sort of thing can't be reversed now, that the youth (and some priests and servants) are too attached, et cetera.

http://www.arabwestreport.info/year-2014/week-24/54-awr-daily-overview-june-17-2014-new-cabinet-swears-today

http://www.arabwestreport.info/year-2014/week-25/62-awr-daily-overview-june-23-2014-death-sentences-appealed
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 11:09:01 AM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #83 on: August 18, 2014, 12:33:43 PM »

Quote
I can hardly contain my joy.

Me too.

It is Anba Abanoub, a newly ordained bishop for Mukatam, and not a priest, who is fighting the good fight of faith in Mukatam. A war has been waged against him since he stopped the Protestant songs in this church. A page dedicated to him on facebook has videos with more details. 
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« Reply #84 on: August 18, 2014, 12:43:38 PM »

Dearest to Christ Stavro, can you kindly provide a link to the FB?  How can we support Sayedna?  We need more bishops like Anba Abanoub (may God strengthen and protect him) here in North America.

God bless this bishop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCVBS3ZTAcQ
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 01:09:40 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #85 on: August 18, 2014, 04:21:48 PM »

Dear brother,

try this page:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1413943978879763
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« Reply #86 on: August 18, 2014, 07:04:23 PM »

Thank you, Stavro.  May God send us more angels like this.  May He send one here to the USA.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/bishop-abanoub-takes-stand-orthodoxy-muqattam/
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 07:21:42 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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