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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO KILL US: YOU ARE LOVED by BISHOP ANGAELOS, COPTIC BISHOP IN THE U.K..

the martyrs of Egypt
In the last three months there have been three terrorist attacks in England.  In Egypt, the population has been astonished at the way the Christian have reacted to much worse atrocities, and there have even been conversions to Christ.  The same has happened in Iraq and Syria.  The Christians there have had the courage to be different and to follow Christ's teaching,, often to a heroic degree, and there have been many martyrs.  Let us pray for them, help them if possible, and also pray that we to may give truly Christian testimony with our lives.

Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’
Source: The Coptic Orthodox Church UK

my source: Pravmir.com



BISHOP ANGAELOS, GENERAL BISHOP OF THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH | 31 MAY 2017
Reflection By His Grace Bishop Angaelos on recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and elsewhere

Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’


I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable.

This time, however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but you are loved.

You are loved by God, your creator, for he created you in his image and according to his likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to his plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message, for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ himself and Christians to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves and all those whom we meet along our path to a life of virtue and holiness and the love and forgiveness of all.

This, of course, is far from the reaction that many may have expected, but the Christian message is just that: to look at our world as through the eyes of God, who loves all and who desires that all be liberated through him.

I grieve, certainly for those who have lost their lives, for those who mourn and for those who will continue to be adversely affected by these tragic experiences; but I also grieve for a young man who sees it not only justifiable, but glorious, to take the lives of other young men and women and deprive his and their families of enjoying them as they grow and mature.

No family should lose a son in this way, even if they are partially or wholly responsible for his flawed ideology. This loss might be to that ideology, to incarceration as a result of his actions and choices or, in the worst case, in taking his own life, along with others, regardless of the great cost to those left behind. In the same way, no family deserves to lose children and members who merely go about their day to enjoy their God-given right to exist, whether it be by attending a concert, taking a pilgrimage to a monastery, simply walking through city streets, or in any other way.

I also grieve for those who considered it a victory to board a bus filled with pilgrims and execute children, women and men purely for refusing to denounce their faith, as we saw happen to Coptic Christians in Menia only yesterday [May 26].

What is increasingly obvious is that many of these attacks come about due to a loss of the meaning and comprehension of the sanctity of life, our own or that of others; so join me in praying for the brokenness of our world that causes parents to lose their children, children to lose their parents and humankind to lose the humanity for which it was created.

What is important is not that this message be read, but that it be communicated; not that it be accepted, but that it be understood as another perspective; and not that it should be fully embraced, but that it may create at least a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm and pain.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos is the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom








Bishop Angaelos: ‘Hungarian PM is wrong. We cannot only support Christian refugees’







BISHOP ANGAELOS, GENERAL BISHOP OF THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH | 03 SEPTEMBER 2015

A Coptic bishop has rebutted the claims of Hungary's Prime Minister who said migrants are mainly Muslim and threatened Europe's Christian roots.




Bishop Angaelos: ‘Hungarian PM is wrong. We cannot only support Christian refugees’

Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, told Christian Today he rejected Viktor Orban’s approach.

“As a Christian I could never justify a policy which only supported ‘our own’,” he said.
“The distinction should be based on people’s need, not their religion.”

Nationalist conservative Orban attacked EU immigration policy earlier today as misguided and dangerous. He warned the influx of what he saw as Muslim migrants posed a threat to Europe’s apparently Christian identity.

“Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims,” he said.

“Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian?”

“There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders,” he concluded.

Bishop Angaelos took Orban to task for his comments and called for governments and agencies to work collaboratively to tackle the needs emerging from “this humanitarian disaster.”

“I don’t think we can afford to be tribal at this moment,” he said.

“When talking about accepting people into countries, it should be the ones at the greatest risk. Often that is the Christians,” he added.

European Council president Donald Tusk also strongly disagreed with Orban’s understanding of a Christian approach to the crisis.

“Referring to Christianity in a public debate on migration must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice,” he said.

The cost to human life was brought to the fore yesterday when five children were among 12 Syrians who drowned off the coast of Turkey while trying to reach Greece.

Images of a washed-up body of a three-year-old boy, who died alongside his mother and five-year old brother, circulated widely on social media.


SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE COPTS

Etymology


The word Copt was adopted in English in the 17th century, from New Latin Coptus, Cophtus, which is derived from Arabic collective qubṭ / qibṭ قبط "the Copts" with nisba adjective qubṭī, qibṭī قبطى, plural aqbāṭ أقباط; Also quftī, qiftī (where the Arabic /f/ represents the historical Coptic /p/) an Arabisation of the Coptic word kubti (Bohairic) and/or kuptaion (Sahidic). The Coptic word is in turn an adaptation of the Greek term for the indigenous people of Egypt, Aigýptios (Αἰγύπτιος).[29]

The Greek term for Egypt, Aigýptos (Αἰγύπτος), is itself derived from the Egyptian language, but dates to a much earlier period, being attested already in Mycenean Greek as a3-ku-pi-ti-jo (lit. "Egyptian"; used here as a man's name). This Mycenaean form is likely from Middle Egyptian ḥwt-k3-ptḥ (Hut-ka-Ptah), literally "Estate (or 'House') of the Spirit of Ptah" (cf. Akkadian āluḫi-ku-up-ta-aḫ), the name of the temple complex of the god Ptah at Memphis.

The term is thus ultimately derived from the Greek designation of the native Egyptian population in Roman Egypt (as distinct from Greeks, Romans, Jews, etc.). After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, it became restricted to those Egyptians adhering to the Christian religion.[30]

In Coptic Egyptian, the Copts referred to themselves as ni rem en kīmi en khristianos (Coptic: ⲚⲓⲢⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ̀ⲛ̀Ⲭⲣⲏⲥⲧⲓ̀ⲁⲛⲟⲥ), which literally means "Christian people of Egypt" or "Christian Egyptians". The Coptic name for Egyptians, rem en kīmi (Coptic: Ⲣⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ), is realized in the Fayyumic dialect as lem en kēmi, or rem en khēmi in the Bohairic dialect; cf. Egyptian rmṯ n kmt, Demotic rmt n kmỉ.

The Arabic word qibṭ ("Copt") has also been connected to the Greek name of the town of Coptos (Κόπτος) (modern-day Qifṭ; Coptic Kebt and Keft). It is possible that this association has contributed to making Copt the settled form of the name.[31]

In the 20th century, some Egyptian nationalists and intellectuals in the context of Pharaonism began using the term qubṭ in the historical sense.[32]



History


The Copts are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. Although integrated in the larger Egyptian nation state, the Copts have survived as a distinct religious community forming around 10 to 20 percent of the population,[26][27][33][34][35][36][37] though estimates vary. They pride themselves on the apostolicity of the Egyptian Church whose founder was the first in an unbroken chain of patriarchs. The main body for 16 centuries has been out of communion with both the Roman Catholic Church (in Rome) and the various Eastern orthodox churches.[citation needed]

Foundation of the Christian Church in Egypt


According to ancient tradition, Christianity was introduced within present day Egypt by Saint Mark in Alexandria, shortly after the ascension of Christ and during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius around 42 AD.[38] The legacy that Saint Mark left in Egypt was a considerable Christian community in Alexandria. From Alexandria, Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria, as is clear from a fragment of the Gospel of John, written in Coptic, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the 2nd century, and the New Testament writings found in Oxyrhynchus, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 AD. In the 2nd century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, today known as the Coptic language, but known as the Egyptian language at the time. By the beginning of the 3rd century AD, Christians constituted the majority of Egypt’s population, and the Church of Alexandria was recognized as one of Christendom's four Apostolic Sees, second in honor only to the Church of Rome. The Church of Alexandria is therefore the oldest Christian church in Africa.

Contributions to Christianity


The Copts in Egypt contributed immensely to Christian tradition. The Catechetical School of Alexandria was the oldest catechetical school in the world. Founded around 190 AD by the scholar Pantanaeus, the school of Alexandria became an important institution of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus, and Origen, the father of theology and who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical studies. However, the scope of this school was not limited to theological subjects; science, mathematics and humanities were also taught there. The question-and-answer method of commentary began there, and 15 centuries before Braille, wood-carving techniques were in use there by blind scholars to read and write.

Another major contribution made by the Copts in Egypt to Christianity was the creation and organization of monasticism. Worldwide Christian monasticism stems, either directly or indirectly, from the Egyptian example. The most prominent figures of the monastic movement were Anthony the Great, Paul of Thebes, Macarius the Great, Shenouda the Archimandrite and Pachomius the Cenobite. By the end of the 5th century, there were hundreds of monasteries, and thousands of cells and caves scattered throughout the Egyptian desert. Since then pilgrims have visited the Egyptian Desert Fathers to emulate their spiritual, disciplined lives. Saint Basil the Great Archbishop of Caesarea Mazaca, and the founder and organiser of the monastic movement in Asia Minor, visited Egypt around 357 AD and his monastic rules are followed by the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, came to Egypt while en route to Jerusalem around 400 AD and left details of his experiences in his letters. Saint Benedict founded the Benedictine Order in the 6th century on the model of Saint Pachomius, although in a stricter form. Coptic Christians practice male circumcision as a rite of passage.[39]

Ecumenical Councils


The major contributions that the See of Alexandria has contributed to the establishment of early Christian theology and dogma are attested to by fact that the first three Ecumenical councils in the history of Christianity were headed by Egyptian patriarchs. The Council of Nicaea (325 AD) was presided over by St. Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, along with Saint Hosius of Córdoba. In addition, the most prominent figure of the council was the future Patriarch of Alexandria Athanasius, who played the major role in the formulation of the Nicene Creed, recited today in most Christian churches of different denominations. One of the council's decisions was to entrust the Patriarch of Alexandria with calculating and annually announcing the exact date of Easter to the rest of the Christian churches. The Council of Constantinople (381 AD) was presided over by Patriarch Timothy of Alexandria, while the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) was presided over by Cyril of Alexandria.

Council of Chalcedon


In 451 AD, following the Council of Chalcedon, the Church of Alexandria was divided into two branches. Those who accepted the terms of the Council became known as Chalcedonians or Melkites. Those who did not abide by the Council's terms were labeled non-Chalcedonians or Monophysites and later Jacobites after Jacob Baradaeus. The non-Chalcedonians, however, rejected the term Monophysites as erroneous and referred to themselves as Miaphysites. The majority of the Egyptians belonged to the Miaphysite branch, which led to their persecution by the Byzantines in Egypt.

In 641 AD, Egypt was invaded by the Arabs who faced off with the Byzantine army, but found little to no resistance from the native Egyptian population. Local resistance by the Egyptians however began to materialize shortly thereafter and would last until at least the 9th century.[40][41]

Copts in modern Egypt



Under Muslim rule, Christians were second-class citizens, who paid special taxes, had little access to political power, but were exempt from military service. The Copts were cut off from the mainstream of Christianity, but they were allowed to practice their religion unmolested. Their position improved dramatically under the rule of Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century. He abolished the Jizya (a tax on non-Muslims) and allowed Egyptians (Copts) to enroll in the army. Pope Cyril IV, 1854–61, reformed the church and encouraged broader Coptic participation in Egyptian affairs. Khedive Isma'il Pasha, in power 1863–79, further promoted the Copts. He appointed them judges to Egyptian courts and awarded them political rights and representation in government. They flourished in business affairs.

Some Copts participated in the Egyptian national movement for independence and occupied many influential positions. Two significant cultural achievements include the founding of the Coptic Museum in 1910 and the Higher Institute of Coptic Studies in 1954. Some prominent Coptic thinkers from this period are Salama Moussa, Louis Awad and Secretary General of the Wafd Party Makram Ebeid.

In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser led some army officers in a coup d'état against King Farouk, which overthrew the Kingdom of Egypt and established a republic. Nasser's mainstream policy was pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. The Copts were severely affected by Nasser's nationalization policies, though they represented about 10 to 20 percent of the population.[43] In addition, Nasser's pan-Arab policies undermined the Copts' strong attachment to and sense of identity about their Egyptian pre-Arab, and certainly non-Arab identity which resulted in permits to construct churches to be delayed along with Christian religious courts to be closed.[43]


Coptic Christianity in Sudan

Sudan has a native Coptic minority, although many Copts in Sudan are descended from more recent Egyptian immigrants.[6] Copts in Sudan live mostly in northern cities, including Al Obeid, Atbara, Dongola, Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, and Wad Medani.[6] They number up to 500,000, or slightly over 1 percent of the Sudanese population.[6] Due to their advanced education, their role in the life of the country has been more significant than their numbers suggest.[6] They have occasionally faced forced conversion to Islam, resulting in their emigration and decrease in number.[6]

Modern immigration of Copts to Sudan peaked in the early 19th century, and they generally received a tolerant welcome there. However, this was interrupted by a decade of persecution under Mahdist rule at the end of the 19th century.[6] As a result of this persecution, many were forced to relinquish their faith, adopt Islam, and intermarry with the native Sudanese. The Anglo-Egyptian invasion in 1898 allowed Copts greater religious and economic freedom, and they extended their original roles as artisans and merchants into trading, banking, engineering, medicine, and the civil service. Proficiency in business and administration made them a privileged minority. However, the return of militant Islam in the mid-1960s and subsequent demands by radicals for an Islamic constitution prompted Copts to join in public opposition to religious rule.[6]

Gaafar Nimeiry's introduction of Islamic Sharia law in 1983 began a new phase of oppressive treatment of Copts, among other non-Muslims.[6] After the overthrow of Nimeiry, Coptic leaders supported a secular candidate in the 1986 elections. However, when the National Islamic Front overthrew the elected government of Sadiq al-Mahdi with the help of the military, discrimination against Copts returned in earnest. Hundreds of Copts were dismissed from the civil service and judiciary.[6]

In February 1991, a Coptic pilot working for Sudan Airways was executed for illegal possession of foreign currency.[48] Before his execution, he had been offered amnesty and money if he converted to Islam, but he refused. Thousands attended his funeral, and the execution was taken as a warning by many Copts, who began to flee the country.[48]

Restrictions on the Copts' rights to Sudanese nationality followed, and it became difficult for them to obtain Sudanese nationality by birth or by naturalization, resulting in problems when attempting to travel abroad. The confiscation of Christian schools and the imposition of an Arab-Islamic emphasis in language and history teaching were accompanied by harassment of Christian children and the introduction of hijab dress laws. A Coptic child was flogged for failing to recite a Koranic verse. In contrast with the extensive media broadcasting of the Muslim Friday prayers, the radio ceased coverage of the Christian Sunday service. As the civil war raged throughout the 1990s, the government focused its religious fervour on the south. Although experiencing discrimination, the Copts and other long-established Christian groups in the north had fewer restrictions than other types of Christians in the south.

Today, the Coptic Church in Sudan is officially registered with the government, and is exempt from property tax. In 2005, the Sudanese government of National Unity (GNU) named a Coptic Orthodox priest to a government position, though the ruling Islamist party's continued dominance under the GNU provides ample reason to doubt its commitment to broader religious or ethnic representation.


Copts in modern Libya

The largest Christian group in Libya is the Coptic Orthodox Church, with a population of 60,000.[7] The Coptic Church is known to have historical roots in Libya long before the Arabs advanced westward from Egypt into Libya.

MY CONTRIBUTION ON THE COPTS


The above information comes from Wikipedia and youtube.  Now is my turn.  The Coptic Church, along with the Syrian Orthodox, the Armenian Church, the Ethiopian Church, are “Oriental Orthodox”.   They are distinguished  by the strong Jewish flavour based on the fact that a large part of their converts in the early centuries were Jewish converts, the presence of a strong Christian literature in Our Lord's own language of Aramaic, and that their thought is more semitic than further west, so that the priests cover their  heads during liturgical prayer, they use a veil across the sanctuary, remembering the Jerusalem Temple, in place of an iconstasis or rood screen, and they use some Jewish observances..  The Coptic Church practices male circumcision, and the Ethiopian Church follows the food laws of the Jewish religion and observes Saturday as well as Sunday as holy days.


They reject the Council of Chalcedon and, for this, are cut off from both Eastern Orthodoxy and Rome; but both Catholic and Orthodox theological commissions have fairly recently but separately come to the conclusion  that the reason isn’t a difference of faith.  The truth is that the Chalcedon dogmatic formula, when translated from Greek into Aramaic, Syriac or Ge’ez, simply do not make sense.   They have no exact meaning for the Word “person”, and the word they use to translate it, while being only slightly different, turns the definition into a logical contradiction.

Because Egypt supplied grain for the whole Roman Empire, they were much more in contact with western Europe than the Greeks; and there is evidence in the religious carvings of Ireland and Scotland of Coptic influences in Celtic monasticism.   The remains of a coptic book were recently found in Ireland.

There are reasons to  believe that Our Lady has appeared in the Coptic Church, and it has its own charismatic renewal.




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