I really like Coptic.
The language, I mean. It is a beautiful thing in itself, and it also opens doors to new dimensions of spiritual growth. When I hear it, I like to think about the words echoing down from at least 5,000 years ago, changing slightly every few centuries to be sure, but still their essence continues from generation to generation, through historical periods as diverse as that of the Hyksos and the Turks (who both ruled Egypt at different times). I imagine an Egyptian peasant chatting idly with his friend on a felucca on the Nile as they drift lazily past the temple of an ancient god, or kindly father gathering his wife and children around him on the roof at evening to pray and read the Bible to them in Coptic.
My son recently introduced me to a Bible system you can download for free called “e-sword” (www.e-sword.net). I already have two Bible programmes on my computer, so I wasn’t very excited, until he told me you can also download the Bible in heaps of unusual formats. So now, I have the Septuagint in Greek, the Old Testament in Hebrew and best of all: the Bible in Sahidic Coptic! OK, I can’t read Hebrew, and I’m on my L plates with Koine Greek, but these versions have little links for each word so that if you hover your mouse over it, it gives you an instant dictionary definition of the word.
Reading the Bible in another language often provides insights into the finer shades of meaning, especially if it’s in the original language used to write it in the first place. I use the Hebrew and Greek versions when I want to get to the bottom of a tricky or uncertain verse, or when I want to discover some of the alternative definitions of the words used that haven’t translated across to the English. For example, there are four different words in Greek that are all translated into the English language as “love”, and each one has a different meaning. CS Lewis has a famous book about this topic called The Four Loves.
There’s more: reading the Bible in Coptic tells me a little about how our ancient forefathers (and mothers) interpreted the Bible. A translation can tell you a lot about the translator. Many words in one language will have no directly equivalent word in another language, so the choice of words, the choice of shades of meaning in the translation tells you what the translator thought was most important in the original. Reading it in Coptic, you can imagine St Anthony walking into the Church as a young man and hearing those exact Coptic words thundering down from the lectern to pierce his heart with longing to follow Christ. The way the phrases are structured in Coptic builds a slightly different picture in my head to that I get when I read it in English.
That’s also why I pray a Coptic liturgy every Thursday. I’m still learning, so it’s only about three-quarters Coptic so far, but growing. There is something different about our liturgy when it’s prayed in Coptic. Perhaps it is because the melodies were made for these words. Or perhaps again it is the sentence structure and the use of the specific words chosen. I am not sure, but I do know that the Coptic liturgy is a precious jewel in our treasure box of Coptic heritage. It needs a lot of effort to learn the language and come to appreciate it, but in my experience, it is effort that is rewarded many-fold.
And finally, there are those who wish to bring Coptic back to life. What a great thing that would be! There are virtual communities out there, such as Remenkimi, who regularly communicate in Coptic – that’s right, they exchange Coptic language emails. Anyone who’s interested in learning more about Coptic will find a wealth of information at their website (www.remenkimi.com).
A word of warning: while the learning and use of Coptic in our spiritual lives can be greatly beneficial, some people can take it a bit too far and become fanatical about it. Coptic should never be forced upon people – it should be a choice they can make if they wish to. There are many who know not the slightest scrap of Coptic and still enjoy deeply fulfilling lives within the Coptic Church, and that is as it should be, for our Church is about Christ, after all, not a human language or culture. It may not be for everyone, but learning Coptic is worthwhile for those who are interested in languages, and those who are interested in authentically experiencing the ancient and unique Coptic spiritual heritage in all its native glory.
PS HH Pope Shenouda III Coptic Theological College offers courses in Coptic, Hebrew and Greek languages. I can also strongly recommend a “do-it-yourself” Coptic primer by Sam Younan enticingly titled “So You Want to Learn Coptic?“
21 Replies to “I Like Coptic.”
Thanks for the Blog Abouna!
I just thought I’d add something that I just learnt recently about a common coptic hymn.
We always sing Seven times every day, I will praise Your Name, with all my heart, O God of everyone. every sunday tasbeha, but it’s only recently that someone pointed out that the coptic of these verses were created in such away that the lines rhyme with each other! See for your selves!
Shashf ensop emmini
evol khen pahit tirf
Efnouti ente ni noti.
Esos Pekhrestos pennoti
fe-etav-e ethvi pen-sowti
And it keeps going even through out the “Shere ne maria’s”.. That’s sooo cool! I was amazed how I’ve been singing this hymn how many times and I didn’t even know the depth of it!
hey abouna i was wondering where i could download the liturgy in coptic and possible have an english translation included aswell.
tasbeha.org has everything you could wish for!
I like Coptes because i found myself without any effort in this great ancient breed … all my ancestors are Coptes where do i go ???!!i like Coptes because they are good when they go to church on Sundays and sit on the same place all the time and if somebody took their regular spot seat ,oh my God , i like that aggressive look of that person whose regular seat was taken , indicating how dare do you take my seat place ???!! saying inside himself , you do not know that my regular spot ??!! i like coptes because it is a culture of winging and nagging all the time and i like them more when they talk all of them at the same time and nobody wants to try the listening sense which God gave it to them ??!! i like Coptes because they do not express their feelings to one another of appreciations , thankfulness, love and care when the occasion requires that ???! i like coptes even between husbands and wives , they do not express their feelings of love and care even by simple words ” for this new couples who wants to merry please go and attend that great course intended for that by the church “???!! we come back to our Coptic language and the church , the fact that if not for the coptic language in our mass and the regular lengthy mass kept as it is , you believe it or not our church will be closing doors as some other christian churches tried to cut short their mass because their congregations did not want to attend long masses and now the result a lot of their churches were already sold around the world …it is great to keep our ritual aspects as it is … it is really great not to touch our ritual aspects and keep our roots..we can use technology to improve our ritual aspects but we have to be careful not to touch our basics and our roots … the other day one of my colleagues in one of my trips to the bush asked me why do you follow Jesus Christ b??? i wonder if any of you had been asked this question before or even asked this question to ownself ??!! give it a thought , i hope your answer would not be simply ” i like Christ and i was born copte , this is a disappointment answer .. i will tell you next time of my answer to him if you are interested , keep good ..
My answer to the question , why i am a follower of Christ???? it is simply HE came up with great ideology , with great valid values and if anybody go back to the good news , the bible, the person will find those great values and promises for all creatures to live the bible on earth as holy persons and in the image of God and we keep going to heaven when the time comes ..Christ is the only way to heaven as the bible revealed, no other way …so pals read the bible and psalms all the time and focus on Christ all the time …the AgBia is great but not enough by itself , most people rely only in the Agibia !!! it is sad most of us miss a lot in the bible ” bible studies must peak a lot in our churches but must be done by qualified knowledgeable in this field so people to attend ” .. so all of us have to fight all the time not to loose sight of Jesus , be COURAGEOUS and stop and reflect within own self in regular self assessment , be HONEST and admit your sins in regular confessions after hard work in REPENTANCE by prayers , fasting etc.” most people they go to confession without any effort in repentance , so they fall very quickly in the same sin ” here might need the guidness and follow up of the spiritual father” i believe most fathers do not follow up even if the person takes a long time not coming back to confession ” , be DETRMINED to keep the image of God all the time and say the” DIFFICULT NO ” to own self and to others when you come across those bad things and bad habits which will distort our image as sons of God … learn the difficult no and always say no to the drugs , no to stealing ., no to whatever anything upset Jesus …we do not want to upset Jesus because we love him ….Confession is not a cycle of closing an account and opening another one and most likely might be filled up again with the same mistakes and sins , remember real repentance must precede that and must involve a lot of hard work…most of us attend regular confessions and we forget about the real repentance “which is the heart of the matter ” and nil input effort before we attend our confession ??!!!! priests themselves stress all the time in confession and not repentance and i believe a lot of our congregation they keep it as one thing in the confession and leave it to the priest to sort it, the repentance from the confession ???!!i wonder if any priest ask the confessor what effort did you do to combat this sin so far before you came to confession ?? if the person did not know and comes for guidness i wonder if any priest remember and follow up the salvation of that lost sheep ???!!
“i like Coptes because they do not express their feelings to one another of appreciations , thankfulness, love and care when the occasion requires that ???! i like coptes even between husbands and wives , they do not express their feelings of love and care even by simple words ” for this new couples who wants to merry please go and attend that great course intended for that by the church “???!!…”
I don’t think Romani your in a position to sit there judging and pointing out other peoples errors. Have you meet every person and couple in the Coptic community to make such improper allegations?
” i like coptes because it is a culture of winging and nagging all the time and i like them more when they talk all of them at the same time and nobody wants to try the listening sense which God gave it to them ??!! …”
You speak of Copts “whinging and nagging ” and then you post a whole forum reply of whinging, nagging and questioning the duties of the priests and weither or not they are looking after their congregation.
I’m sorry my friend but i think you are out of line.
” i like Coptes because they do not express their feelings to one another of appreciations , thankfulness, love and care when the occasion requires that ???! i like coptes even between husbands and wives , they do not express their feelings of love and care even by simple words ” for this new couples who wants to merry please go and attend that great course intended for that by the church “???!! ”
Romani have you meet evry person and couple in the Coptic Orthodox Church to make such Improper alegations?
Copts don’t show love or apreciation to one another??????
What kind of people have you been hanging around buddy?
Romani, following Christ because of his great ideals and values is not a valid reason because if you search you will find many religious figures, and many religions with the same ideals and values which we take for granted as being exclusively Christian.
You follow Christ because you have been given a grace to believe, a grace without which Christianity would perhaps seem foolish. This grace is available, but you only have genuinely want it or search for it. For those of us baptised and given this grace as children it is often taken for granted, but it is there.
There is a common misunderstanding among Orthodox Christians that the Bible is the be-all-and-end-all of the Christian faith.
The Church is not based on the Bible; the Bible is a product of the Church, produced by the Churches Apostles and Prophets. Divinely inspired, to be sure, but it is not the only thing through which the Church bases its teaching and doctrine. The Church relies not only on the Bible, but also the Holy Tradition and the Holy Fathers which were also divinely inspired and instrumental in establishing Christian doctrine.
Anyway, that’s off topic.
I too like Coptic!! I don’t understand it, I can’t read it, write it or speak it. But I love hearing it spoken!!
Mate Nathan what you wrote is great as our christian way of life and all those great fruits of the holy spirit are from all those great christian values which we got from the bible and as well what passed by hand from our holy fathers over the years ….. just that point that church is not based on the bible is not clear for me however i believe our main guide lines in our christian way of life based entirely on the bible and its great values and promises …i believe the church is one of the products of the bible with all its sacraments ” the good news ” the life of company with its head our lord Christ and all of us the members in that holy body … i believe the bible teaches us every thing A to Z in the right and the wrong in our way of life …i hope somebody else might share with own view and experience so we can learn more … every day we learn something …God bless …
I seem to again be the cause of a topic veering off course…anyway…
The view that the Bible is the sole authority is what brought on the Protestant Reformation.
We do source our Christian values from the Gospels and Epistles to be sure, but the Church produced the Bible, not the other way around. The Church existed for 325 years before the Bible as we know it came into existance. Before that time, there were different books and scrolls being read and circulated throughtout different Churches. It wasn’t until 325 AD at Nicea that the Univeral Church decided to have all Churches using the same texts, and the Bible as we know it was compiled with those texts which were deemed divinely inspired.
If the Church is the product of the Bible, then we should, as do the Muslims of their Koran; believe that the Bible descended from heaven as it is and that the Church was built around it. We know that is not the case. We know the Bible was written by different persons who were inspired by God to write the words they did.
The Bible is therefore a product of a Church which had already existed, compiled from different writings of different men who tried to explain or retell the Christian faith. Who knows, maybe someday in future another book may be written or discovered which will be deemed by an Ecumenical Council as Scripture, although I doubt that will ever be the case.
Anyway…that’s enough from me, I’m going back to the topic….I LIKE COPTIC….
Nathan thanks for this great valuable feed back information ..just i wonder what type of books used during the first 325 years of Christianity , i mean in that period before the official gatherings of the bible ???!! i wonder when our lord preached the good new with his disciples passed on the good news and then disciples received the holy spirit and the good news kept going all over the place , i believe all the information of the bible kept passing verbally from generation to generation till gathered in the bible …so the bottom line those preachings passed verbally before establishing the church and when then the church established on those gathered guide lines of the bible … those are my thoughts , i wonder if i am in the right track ???! so we come back to the way around that the church is the product of the bible ??? mate it is a bit confusing ???!!
Romani, there were many books used by the different Churches before 325 AD which are not found in the Bible today. Sts Paul and Peter and John had supposedly written other epistles which were read, and Apostles like St Barnabus had also supposedly written an epistle which was commonly read in the Churches and is referred to in the writings of Fathers like Athanasius.
St Paul had supposedly also written his own version of his own heavenly Revelation. Then we have the Gnostic Gospel, which although unpopular and the cause of some contraversy, were also being circulated and copies of which have even been unearthed in monasteries like St Catherine’s in Sinai.
At the first Ecumenical Council, the Church decided that it was going to deem canonical a set of these books to be used by all dioceses, and the books which today make up the Bible, as well as those books known as the Deuterocanonical books were deemed Scripture.
The Church was established at Penetcost, before any of these books were written. The Gosepls and the Epistles were written in the years up to about 100 AD, when the Church had already been established.
Jesus established the Church, not the Bible. The Bible is the Church’s gift to the world, and not the other way around.
Mina , George and anonymous,it is great to hear your honest straightforward views … it might be a message for me from God …. please do not get me wrong , somebody has to be the bad bloke and point the finger at the problems , hoping things move in the right direction for our community ….. for years now , we were hoping church committees do their work in this area but i believe they learned to agree all the time or could be joined the apathy group as well ???!! God knows , too much ????!!…. anyhow it is not an easy task for anybody or committee to point the finger constructively and get the message across and get the work done …. !!!? back to our issue , first it is good to see involvement and that the blog nourish with different constructive views and the most important above all it is a healthy sign that a lot started to break the ice and that zone of lack of interest and at the end of the day who wants to improve will improve, every day we learn … .. …we can not deny that every where all communities and societies starve all the time for improvement to achieve the best of the best and it does not matter the background or education or age or sex or whatever for its members as always there is a room for improvement for all , so do you think our church came from vacuum with all those courses and lectures of awareness and education such as bible studies ,Christian Counseling , couple marriage education , middle age crisis , drugs , specialist people go and come and talk about relationships , domestic violence , high rate of divorces , separations ,specialist gambling and you name it such a lot of crisis and attitudinal problems .. so give it a thought , those front liners priests and those positive and honest people working behind the scenes and all those people volunteering their effort and time ,they know what they are doing in this specific area and i believe they have their own statistics, figures and plans .. i believe it is great and all of us as a community has a role to play and encourage those positive and constructive approach !!! second our culture is very ignorant in positive relationships , positive attitude “including myself at this age “at all levels and at different ages and in different areas in our life ..our church is strengthening those weakness hoping to prevent a lot of future problems which is great to have a healthy and happy community with less problems …still a lot of areas in our church needs a lot of attention and hard work … we rely on you young blokes and your positive involvement to do something …may our lord Jesus Christ guide us all to play our role and do our bit in our church community as real responsible and accountable Christians….i feel i can not give and take any more in this great blog …cheers ….
Thanks for mentioning e-sword. It is a pretty interesting software. Was wondering if there is any “Commentary” that is Orthodox, that we can utilise with it? I think at Shenouda’s Monastery, Abouna Anthony had some stuff for the New Testament on his e-sword?
I have been moved and inspired by the events of the passed few weeks in Egypt. It was amazing to see the courage displayed by the Egyptian people protesting against the brutality and injustices of the Mubarak regime
I was deeply saddend however to read that Pope Shenouda publicly supported Mubarak and his courrupt regime on state television
How can a man of god support such a tyrant ?
How can a christian leader publicly support a man who has reintroduced torture to the modern world, and turned Egypt in to the world capital for human rights abuses ?
How can a man who claims to be representing the teachings of christ support a dictator who in his time in power accumulated a personal wealth of seventy billon dollars , while the majority of the Egyptian people are living on less than two dollars a day ?
I ask myself this question , If Jesus lived in Egypt today ,would he have supported Mubarak or the protesters . I have no doubt in my mind that he would’ve been leading the protests in Tahrir Square , hand in hand with the poor the vulnerable the downtrodden, the Christian and the Muslem
He would’ve voiced his disproval of wrongdoings, oppression, and injustices loudly and courageously whatever the consequence
What a shame
Jesus’ agenda was never to overthrow the established order, so if he ‘lived in Egypt today’ he would never have ‘been leading the protests in Tahrir Square’.
Your disheartened attitude toward HH Pope Shenouda is one that I have heard many times since the Egyptian uprising, but you really need to think about it…
While the Church doesn’t mingle in politics, to survive it needs to play the political game. I have no doubt that HH’s ‘support’ of Mubarak was needed for the favour of the Church. As a Church, we support, we work with and we pray for the leaders of our country, whatever the circumstance may be.
And just think for minute, what if the uprising did not see the results that it did, and instead of the jubilance in the streets, the Nile were filled with the blood of millions for treason and dissidence…what would then have happened to the Copts if HH had spoken out against Mubarak? Who’s blood would’ve been shed first? Who would’ve bore the grunt of the iron fist? The Copts of course!!
HH cannot, if for nothing more than the safety of his people; rebel against the established order in a country where they are alredy discriminated against. He has to ‘play it safe’, he has to play the political game if his minority are to survive. It is absolutely foolish to expect him to show anything but support.
And it didn’t matter in the end anyway. The people got what they wanted. But like I said in the other thread, they should be careful what they wish for. Who knows what the next regime or government will be like….better the devil you know, I reckon…
I’m sorry this is a bit late…
Oh, is that what you think Nathan? I don’t know you, but I can only assume that you must have had a very privileged life, where your rights have been protected, where you could express yourself freely without being arrested or tortured, because only a person who has had these privileges could make such an insensitive and dismissive statement like “better the devil you know”. As a Christian you really need to ask yourself why a man claiming to be a representative of Christ’s Spirit on earth feels the need to lie in bed with a devil at all, whether that devil is known or not.
The Coptic Church has always prided itself on the fact that it was built on the blood of martyrs, brave men and woman who stood up to the brutal dictators of the day and would not compromise their faith even when facing torture and death. As true Christians, they put their faith in Jesus for His protection and not in another man, and certainly not one that is a brutal criminal like Mubarak. Wouldn’t that have been a wonderful testament of the Coptic Churches’ complete faith in God if Pope Shenouda had the faith to do that also?
The idea that Pope Shenouda’s endorsement of the dictator carried favour with the Coptic community is completely false and misguided. In fact since the fall of Mubarak it has come to light that there was no evidence to show the regime did anything at all to protect the Copts, in fact there is much speculation that most of the violence committed against the churches, for example, was committed by the regime. Check out the bombing of The Church of Two Saints at Alexandria, New Years Eve that killed 21 people and injured hundreds.
When I was in Egypt in 2011 I spoke to literally hundreds of people from wide and varied backgrounds – activists, university students, academics, television personalities, journalists and social commentators – and ALL of these people were convinced that it was a Government plot to frighten the population and to quell any thought of an uprising.
Not only did the Pope endorse Mubarak unconditionally for nearly thirty years, he would defrock any priest or bishop who voiced any protest against Mubarak or his security forces, who could arrest and torture anyone arbitrarily with total impunity. If you were a poor female for example, you had a very high chance of being raped; boys as young as eleven were raped, tortured and killed in police stations. For example, when a young boy from Luxor was caught selling tea, a cafe owner reported him to the police and the boy was arrested, tortured and raped for up to six hours. The boy later died from his injuries and no police ever went to trial over this abhorrent murder and abuse of power (Inside Egypt, by John Bradley).
The Pope was fully aware of these atrocities; to my knowledge he was never moved to voice any criticism – ever.
In 2011 I met a poor family who lost their son to cancer – they had to endure the pain of watching their son die in agony because they could not afford the painkillers required to relieve their son’s horrible pain. This devastated father explained to me that the medicine cost as much as a month’s wages.
While lining their own pockets with billions of dollars, the Mubarak regime did nothing to improve the plight of the poor. And although the Pope never once used his influence to demand better health services, he himself would travel to the United States and Germany in a private jet every three months for regular check-ups – clearly the Egyptian health system was not good enough for his holiness.
There is no doubt that Pope Shenouda was a charismatic, highly intelligent man, however that does not qualify him as a Christian.
Here is just one example: in 2007 the Council of Churches decided that it is not in accordance with Christ’s teachings to refer to Jews as Christ killers, and publicly apologized for hundreds of years of the persecution of the Jewish people. All the members of the council agreed to this except for – you guessed it – Pope Shenouda. In a television interview on April 8th 2007 he was asked if he would follow the western churches and cease from calling Jews Christ killers. He responded angrily, “Why should we, they are Christ killers”. Was he really blaming an entire race of people for something that happened 2000 years ago, and did he conveniently forget that Jesus himself was a Jew?
As for Jesus not being a revolutionary I have to ask, what bible did you read? There are several quotes in the new testament by Christ that leave absolutely no doubt that he was a revolutionary and a threat to the authorities. For example: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.” Matthew 10:34; Jesus told his disciples, “If you do not have a sword, go sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). When He was captured it was in the garden of Gethsemane, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this was not a pristine garden with flowers and fountains: it was a dark, thick forest where many fugitives went to hide from the authorities – criminals such as murderers, thieves, and the worst crime you could commit at the time, threatening the authority of Rome.
I have no doubt that if Jesus came today he would be utterly ashamed and appalled by all the frauds claiming to be representatives of his teachings when all they really seem obsessed with is their own temporal powers – if that is Christianity then count me out.
Wow. Why don’t tell us what you REALLY think? 🙂
While I think your analysis of the late Mubarak years has a lot of merit, I do think it lacks perspective. We must not ignore Pope Shenouda’s history with power and the experiences that formed his later attitudes. For example, are you aware that in his pre-monastic years he wrote a number of articles in the Church’s Sunday School Magazine (that’s right, Sunday School!) that were absolutely scathing of the hierarchy of the Church of the time? Many of the reforms Copts take for granted today in their Church only came about through extremely courageous and revolutionary campaigns like his. Then of course there is the well known feud between Pope Shenouda and Pope Kyrollos. When Pope Kyrollos warned the firebrand Bishop Shenouda to cease his weekly sermon which stirring up trouble and likely to bring reprisals from the government, Pope Shenouda refused and continued to preach, culminating in Pope Kyrollos switching off the electricity mid-meeting.
To characterise Pope Shenouda as somehow a Quisling collaborator with power is to ignore his courageous stance in his early papacy, when he was also scathing of Anwar Sadat, whose cosy relationship with the Brotherhood and other Islamists extended to allowing what had been an extremely good relationship generally between Muslims and Copts to begin its downward spiral to the sectarianism and persecution that we lament today. Churches were not being burned, Christians were not being kidnapped, and yet Pope Shenouda stood up to Sadat and spoke the truth, both privately and publicly in order to defend the Copts from what he and many others realised was a growing anti-Christian sentiment in Egypt that was being ignored and perhaps even surreptitiously supported by the Sadat regime.
What did he get for his efforts? You will remember the shock of his being put under house arrest in the early 80s and dozens of clergy and laity being locked up in prison without charge. I think that experience changed his attitude significantly. People who met him when he was under arrest for four odd years describe a man fretting over the consequences of his actions for others. He feared for the safety of the Church and its members, and seems to me to have been wracked by guilt that his boldness had only made things much worse for his congregation and his country. Viewed in the light of this history, it is perhaps not unsurprising to see him taking a much more cooperative and collaborative approach when he was finally released from house arrest under Mubarak.
Whether the collaborative approach worked or not is another question, but one that we should not ask too critically unless we have better solution to offer. There are some wild beasts in this world with whom no approach will ever produce a good result. You just have to learn how to stay out of their way.
Don’t assume, it only makes an ass out of….well I’m sure you know the rest…
Have we already forgotten the few cruel years that followed Mubarak, under the military rule and the rule of Morsi and the Brotherhood?
Morsi would still be in power today if he hadn’t made the foolish decision to take powers and property away from the military. The Egyptian military owns much property, it runs schools, factories and other organisations and controls a huge chunk of the Egyptian economy. So when they were having these powers taken from them, they would have nothing of it. That is why Sisi removed Morsi, it was not for “the will of the people”. If the military were acting solely for that purpose then they would have acted and removed Mubarak, but they didn’t. Why?
I still stand by my comment that HH Pope Shenouda had no choice but to support the regime of his time, if for nothing else but the safety of his people. We may take pride in being a church built on the blood of the martyrs but that doesn’t mean we should seek it, that doesn’t mean that our Pope should speak out and consequently lead his people to possible slaughter. That’s just stupid!
I see in HH Pope Tawadros a lot of the courage and outspokenness of Pope Shenouda in his early years, but I ask myself why this is the case seeing as he was brought up in the Pope Shenouda years when all the clergy were taught and told to say everything was fine and dandy. I have come to the conclusion that it is not him trying to find his own way or put his own stamp on the church and his papacy. When Pope Shenouda was freed from house arrest by Mubarak, his approach had completely changed and he was no longer the outspoken individual that he was prior. This in my own opinion was probably due to the fact that his release came with conditions that he keep his mouth shut or face the consequences, otherwise he would have come out blazing. HH Pope Tawadros is not under the same restrictions.
So yes, better the devil you know… There’s a new “devil” in the presidential palace in Cairo who seems for now to be doing the right thing. I think that we need to start praying that he is going to find a way to hang on to power for as long as possible, otherwise the Egyptian people could possibly live through hell and chaos again in eight years time.
I would like to interject, Akmal, Father and Nathan –
Regardless of the perspective;
If there is a ‘devil’, Nathan, then refer to, John 3:27 “John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. ” furthermore, according to Proverbs 13:22
…The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. NKJV
This seems to be the case where the summation of the events happening in Egypt has actually benefited the true Copts, and the righteous in the longer term; as we see in history repeatedly –
Where a tyrant order has seemed to demand power, and oppress the country; where the backlash has caused unity to come over the country. An example for the rest of the world in the face of adversary.
As Akmal has said, “The Egyptian military owns much property, it runs schools, factories and other organisations and controls a huge chunk of the Egyptian economy.”
The events that have happened in Egypt have allowed for the military to gain even more control now; benefiting the country. Allowing for greater economic stimulation, such as the Suez Canal development for economic recovery. Testimony to previous verses.
Nathan you refer to a new devil in the presidential palace, and a relative hypothesis of chaos in eight years time for the Egyptian people. Seeing how Akmal has said that, “The Coptic Church has always prided itself on the fact that it was built on the blood of martyrs, brave men and woman who stood up to the brutal dictators of the day and would not compromise their faith even when facing torture and death.” Which I agree with, is it not a good thing to have a devil to do all the work of getting riches for the righteous? (Ie. those who trust in Jesus), as our Holy Popes have done before us? Instead of praying, Nathan, for this new “devil” to hang on to power, why not pray in thanks for God’s wisdom in letting the “devil’s” deal with all the hard work and confusion in government – and granting their bounty to His chosen?
Nathan, you speak of Pope Shenouda as being “gagged” after his release from house arrest, “When Pope Shenouda was freed from house arrest by Mubarak, his approach had completely changed and he was no longer the outspoken individual that he was prior. This in my own opinion was probably due to the fact that his release came with conditions that he keep his mouth shut or face the consequences, otherwise he would have come out blazing.” – Yet I believe his faith was unshaken and he just trusted in God’s word; which has seemed to be the right thing; I mean.. you know someone by the fruits of their labour,
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matt 7:17 NKJV
Father, your mention of this feud is new to me, “When Pope Kyrollos warned the firebrand Bishop Shenouda to cease his weekly sermon which stirring up trouble and likely to bring reprisals from the government, Pope Shenouda refused and continued to preach, culminating in Pope Kyrollos switching off the electricity mid-meeting.” Hearing it for the first time it shows me how two people who can disagree on something, end up being an example of God’s wisdom in his choice of those to be in Coptic papacy – to convey the message of continuing to strive to preach God’s word no matter what, regardless of the pressure to stop – even from your elders and leaders – ie. Do not put your trust in princes nor in sons of man …. but rather in God and his commandments – to preach no matter what; to be a martyr!
The Coptic church is unshakeable, built in a furnace of furnaces – giving out the finest metal. Trust in the blacksmith, ie. Jesus, to prune the vines, and to be the good vine dresser – whatever happens in Egypt, I do not believe it right to speak of devils as those in power, nor speak of politics and speak of what may be to come – it may cause people to question God’s power in this and causes you, instead, to be the judge, hypocritically speaking.
But rather, like Pope Shenouda and those before, and after him – trust in whom God elects no matter the situation – everything works for good for those who love God!