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Call To Action!

My Beloved Brethren, Peace and grace.
The Great Fast is a season of repentance and return to God. Through the intercessions of St. Mary and the cloud of witnesses, I pray that this fast will be different in the depth of its spirituality and how you experience God. At the end of it, I hope that all of us can say with the man born blind, “Now I can see.” Amen.
Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Brothers and Sisters, the youth of our beloved Church:
“How disappointed Christ must be in the church that does not answer to the calling of leading the whole world to His love and to a new life in Him. The cause of this terrible sin among Christians is a result of the lack of understanding of the great debt that was forgiven us. We live as though what Christ had done for us was of little value… ” [St. John Chrysostom]

This is why we write this letter—to unite us with one purpose Continue reading

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Hinderance in Prayer!

During prayer there sometimes occur moments of deadly darkness and spiritual anguish arising from unbelief of the heart (for unbelief is darkness). Do not let your heart fail you at such moments, but remember that if the Divine light has been cut off from you, it always shines in all its splendour and greatness in God Himself, in God’s Church, in heaven and on earth, and in the material world in which “His eternal power also and divinity” are visible. Do not think that truth has failed, because truth is God Himself, and everything that exists has its foundation and reason in Him.

Only your own weak, sinful and darkened heart can fail in the truth, for it cannot always bear the strength of the light of truth, and is not always capable of containing its purity, but only if it is being, or has been, purified from its sins, as the first cause of spiritual darkness. The proof of this you may find in yourself. When the light of faith or God’s truth dwells in your heart, only then is it tranquil, firm, strong, and living; but when this is cut off, then your heart becomes uneasy, weak as a reed shaken by the wind, and lifeless. Do not pay any attention to this darkness of Satan. Continue reading

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Fathers Love Letter!

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27 Continue reading

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Fr Shenouda Mansour – On ABC Radio!

Fr Shenouda Mansour You may recall that on new years’s day this year, a Coptic church in Alexandria was bombed as the worshippers were leaving mass, and 21 people were killed. The Alexandrian governor accused al-Qaida of being responsible, though no group has claimed responsibility.

Since January 25th, Egypt has been in a complex progress of rapid political change. But of course Egypt sits in the Middle East – having a border as well as peace with Israel. Its stability is crucial to the whole region. Though it is a Muslim majority nation, Egypt also has the largest single group of indigenous Christians in the Middle East- the Copts. At least 9% of the 80 million Egyptians are Coptic Christians – roughly equal to the whole population of the state of Israel.

The Copts split from the rest of the church very early – at the council of Chalcedonin AD 451. The council of Chalcedon met to discuss the incarnation of Christ and declared that Christ was “one hypostasis in two natures” (i.e., one person who shares two distinct natures). This became standard orthodoxy for Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches from then on. It was a highly divisive issue at the time- even though the reasons for the original argument may not be so clear to the modern mind. Continue reading

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In the past 24-48 hours the Egyptian Army, the force that is supposed to unite the people has showed its clear intention against the Coptic Christians. In the aftermath of the January 25th revolution, prisoners were released into the wadi natroun desert where several Coptic Monasteries are present.

Following orders from the police force and army to protect themselves, Monks from St Bishoy’s Monastery built a brick fence within their own property and land to keep these prisoners out of the monastery. Yesterday the army took grievance to this, using ridiculous force they opened fire on the monks and waged a militia style attack on the monastery and its inhabitants.

Using live ammunition they fired without any regard for human life injuring many and wounding one priest severely while bulldozers rammed through the fence. To cap it off the injured where prevented from being taken to hospitals until the operation was over. Continue reading

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Severus of Antioch

The holy father St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, departed. He was from Asia Minor. His grandfather, whose name was also Severus, saw in a vision someone telling him, “The child who is for your son will strengthen Orthodoxy, and his name will be after your name.” When his son had this saint, he called him Severus. He was taught the Greek wisdom and church subjects.

Once, the saint was strolling outside the city, a shut-in saint came out of his cave crying, “Welcome to you Severus, teacher of Orthodoxy, and Patriarch of Antioch.” Severus marvelled at how he called him by his name, for he did not know him before, and how he foretold what would become of him.

Severus grew in virtue and became a monk in the monastery of St. Romanus. The fame of his righteousness and his ascetic life spread out. When the Patriarch of Antioch departed, the bishops had a consensus to ordain him the Patriarch of the city in the year 512 A.D. The church was illuminated by his teachings which spread to all the universe, and he was one of the fathers who attended the Universal Council at Ephesus. Continue reading

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US Senate Condems Jan 1 Attacks

In response to the tragic terrorist attack against Coptic Orthodox Christians at al-Qideseen Church in Alexandria during New Year’s Eve prayers, the United States Senate has passed Senate Resolution 22. According to its sponsor, Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), the resolution “condemns the New Year’s Day attack; calls on Mubarak to identify, locate, and prosecute – to the fullest extent of the law – the criminals responsible for this horrific attack; and urges the Egyptian government to work toward religious freedom and equality of treatment for all Egyptians.”  The resolution passed the Senate unanimously on January 31, 2011.

You may download the full text of the Resolution as a PDF here.

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Pope Shenouda’s Statement On The Egyptian Revolution!

On 15 February 2011 Pope Shenouda met with a small committee of the Holy Synod that released the following statement:

The Coptic Church praises Egypt’s honest youth, the Youth of 25 January who led Egypt in a resilient white revolution and sacrificed precious blood, the blood of the nation’s martyrs who were hailed by Egypt’s leadership, army and people. We too offer condolences to their parents and members of their families.

The Coptic Church praises Egypt’s brave Army and the High Council of the Armed Forces for their statements aimed at protecting Egypt both domestically and internationally. We support its position in dissolving parliament and the Shura council and in seeking to restore order.

We believe that Egypt should be a democratic civil country that selects its parliament through free and fair elections that represent all classes of the population. Continue reading

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Getting Ready For Lent!

When a man leaves on a journey, he must know where he is going. Thus with Lent. Above all, Lent is a spiritual journey and its destination is Easter, “the Feast of Feasts.” It is the preparation for the “fulfillment of Pascha, the true Revelation.” We must begin, therefore, by trying to understand this connection between Lent and Easter, for it reveals something very essential, very crucial about our Christian faith and life.

Is it necessary to explain that Easter is much more than one of the feasts, more than a yearly commemoration of a past event? Anyone who has, be it only once, taken part in that night which is “brighter than the day,” who has tasted of that unique joy, knows it. [...] On Easter we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as something that happened and still happens to us. For each one of us received the gift of that new life and the power to accept it and live by it. It is a gift which radically alters our attitude toward everything in this world, including death. It makes it possible for us to joyfully affirm: “Death is no more!” Oh, death is still there, to be sure, and we still face it and someday it will come and take us. But it is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death, made it a passage — a “passover,” a “Pascha” — into the Kingdom of God, transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory. [...] Continue reading

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