Happy Glorious Feast of the Resurrection 2013

    By Jeremy Monday, May 06, 2013

    Christ is Risen; Truly He is Risen!
    Ikhristos Anesti; Alithos Anesti!
    Pi-Ikhristos Aftonf; Khen O Methme Aftonf!
    !المسيح قام بالحقيقة قام

    This past Saturday night, H.H. Pope Tawadros II celebrates his first Easter Liturgy as the Pope and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

    Here is the Easter Papal Message for 2013:
    The Papal Encyclical for the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection 2013

    Khristos Anesti; Alithos Anesti!
    Pi-Ekhrestos Aftonf; Khen O Methmi Aftonf!
    Christ is Risen; Truly He is Risen!

    I congratulate you on the occasion of the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection, which is the Feast of all Feasts, the Joy of all Joys and the Delight of our lives. The Feast of the Resurrection comes after a long period of fasting; 55 days to be exact. This fast culminates in the Holy Week of Pascha, which is a period filled with prayer, fasting, and supplication. Subsequently, Great Friday arrives, during which we declare ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). Finally, Sunday, the Day of Light arrives… the Day of the Sun of Righteousness and the Resurrection of the Lord Christ from the dead.

    I would like to talk to you about three stages or three scenes from the Resurrection.

    The First Scene: (Exiting the Tomb) The scene of the Lord exiting the Tomb:
    Of course, each of the scenes is true historically, but it also has symbolic, spiritual, and contemplative meanings. Christ rose through the power of His Divinity, exited the tomb, and death had no dominion over Him. Christ offered His Resurrection to all; This Resurrection therefore, is the First Breath. Through this First Resurrection, He granted to every person who believes in the Cross, life, and enjoy his share in the Salvation and Redemption of the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The expression ‘Exiting the Tomb’ symbolizes leaving of the tomb of lust… the tomb of sin. For sin is like a tomb. When we read in the message of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians, chapter 5 verse 14, “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” ‘Arise from the dead’ signifies rising from the tomb of lust, from the tomb of sin. The sins mankind has faced throughout time, always appears pleasant. This appearance is deceptive; an outwardly appealing facade. While, simultaneously, it is brutal and destructive for man. Man can now say with the power of the Resurrection: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55) The First Scene therefore, is ‘Exiting the Tomb’, the tomb of lust.

    The Second Scene: (Rising towards Heaven) From ‘Exiting the Tomb’ to ‘Rising towards Heaven’:
    This is why Christ appeared many times on the day of His Resurrection; in the morning as well as the evening, and also throughout the forty days until our celebration of the Glorious Feast of the Ascension. In the Second Scene, ‘Rising towards Heaven’ the humanity in our Lord’s Resurrection, transcended earthly gravity, Earth was rendered ineffective; so too should we arise. Nothing hindered our Lord Christ in His Resurrection… neither shroud, nor darkness, nor fear, nor the boulder--nothing. So also we should not just discard sin, but we should yearn for the heavenly. St. Paul the Apostle said a very beautiful expression: “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). This desire, while on earth, is found in the man who constantly seeks that virtue of longing for eternal life. So the First Scene: Leave behind the tomb of sin The Second Scene: Long for the heavenly; Taste the beauty of heaven, and the earthly vanities will be worthless before me. One will have a spiritual life and spiritual sense, that overflows daily, making him look to heaven. This is commemorated every Liturgy when we say ‘You, who are seated, stand up’ and ‘Look to the east.’ That is the beautiful meaning in the Second Scene: our rising toward heaven.

    The Third Scene: (Bringing the joy of the Resurrection to every person) A scene that is also very beautiful.
    When Christ rose from the dead, as I mentioned, He appeared several times. In one of those times, He appeared to the two disciples of Emmaus the night of the Resurrection. Luke and Cleoppas were traveling on the road, and did not recognize the Risen Christ, but after He had left them, after the breaking of the Bread, they realized and exclaimed: “Did our hearts not burn within us?” (Luke 24:32). In other words ‘we sensed a special feeling in the presence of Christ but we are not able to express it, nor are able to describe it.’

    In the Third Scene, the person who tastes the Resurrection, discards sin and thirsts for the heavens, goes off to bring this joy of the Resurrection to every person. This is what we call the work of service, the work of evangelism. Joy resides in his heart and this delight compels him to share this joy with all. We read together in the Gospel of our teacher St. John in the Liturgy of the Resurrection: “and the disciples rejoiced as they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). The sight of the Resurrected Christ alone is a reason for exultation, and so we start conveying this joy and communicating it to others. One can express it by offering time, another by offering effort, yet another by offering ideas, and another by offering money. One might offer a vision for work, service, and evangelism, yet another might offer labor. These are all expressions of jubilation for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I would also like to mention that the expression ‘the dead’ does not just mean those whose souls departed their bodies. ‘The dead’ has many important meanings in our discourse on the Resurrection. For instance, man can be dead in thought, his thoughts can be dead, this is exemplified in the person of Saul of Tarsus. He believed that what he did was a service to God, but at a point, when Christ appeared to him while he was on the road to Damascus, he discovered that this was not the correct path. He stood in front of Christ and asked Him: “What do You want me to do, Lord?” (Acts 9:6) “What do You want me to do?” Saul arose and was transformed from Saul of Tarsus to Paul the Apostle. Let us learn from Paul the Apostle, how he went to serve and work actively, thus becoming a giant of evangelism.

    There is also another kind of death – spiritual death – he is alive and known, he comes and goes, but his spirit is dead. For example Zacchaeus, who thought happiness was found in money alone, this was his entire life. But when he met Christ, he rose from death and from the tomb of money that bound him. He rose and began to view things differently. His first act was to distribute half his wealth to the poor.

    Secondly, he said: “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I will restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8) Zacchaeus rose and was transformed from a sinful, greedy individual, to a saint and preacher in the name of Christ. A third kind of death, of course there are many kinds, but I will only talk about three, the third kind of death is death of the heart. So, death of the Spirit, death of thought, and now death of the heart. A dead heart is one that lacks emotion, one that is oblivious to sin. The closest example is that of Mary Magdalene. She was a sinful wanderer in the streets of Jerusalem, this woman was possessed by a dangerous enemy, the devil, but when she met Christ, she became a saint and an evangelist. She was the first person to witness and share the news of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. She rose and she was transformed.

    To summarize, the Feast of the Resurrection is an opportunity, for every person to arise from anything binding him. The Feast of the Resurrection is an opportunity to rejoice, and we all know that we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection for 50 days. These Fifty Days are considered as fifty Sundays. It is the joy of all our joys; it is our happiness and our pleasure. We live in the spirit of the Resurrection every day, in the morning, when we pray the Morning Hour prayer. The spirit of the Resurrection is also present every week on Sunday: ‘This is the day the Lord has made’ (Psalm 118:4), and every month we remember the Resurrection on the 29th day of the Coptic month, and every year during the Holy Fifty Days.

    Khristos Anesti; Alithos Anesti !


    H.H. Pope Tawadros II

    Video of the Papal Message (Arabic with English subtitles):

    Holy Week of Pascha 2013

    By Jeremy Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    This past Sunday started the Coptic Holy Week of Pascha for 2013, making Easter Sunday on May 5th -- which is considerably later than the Catholic Easter. This is because the Coptic calendar is a revised Julian calendar, where Easter is the first full moon following the northern vernal equinox (Spring).

    During last night's Nighttime Litanies, two litanies really stood out to me:

    O Lord, save Your people and protect them with the life-giving sign of Your cross. Raise the state of the Christians all over the world, and soften the hearts of their rulers towards them. Fill their hearts with compassion towards our bretheren, the poor, and the needy and take away from them all evil. We ask You, O Lord, hear us and have mercy on us.


    You are the fortification of our salvation, O Theotokos, the invincible fortress, take away the council of the adversaries, and turn the afflictions of Your servants into joy. Defend our cities, fight for the Orthodox kings and rulers, and intercede for the peace of the world and the churches. We ask You, O Lord, hear us and have mercy on us.

    - Holy Pascha, Nighttime Litanies

    I thought them very fitting given the recent Christian Persecutions happening in Egypt and elsewhere. We pray that God may have mercy upon us and hear the supplications of His people in Egypt and everywhere affected.

    And, continuing with tradition, I've come across two great resources for digital editions of the Holy Pascha Book that I hope will be useful and edifying to all. The first is one which I have shared on here previously, but I have updated it to include the Arabic font so that it renders properly on devices that don't have the font installed by default (typically mobile devices). The second is a sectioned series of PDFs that should make navigating during Pascha easier.

    Please enjoy the following downloadable resources:
    If you have other resources that you think may be useful, or could use some help making them more accessible (such as embedding the Arabic font, etc), please let me know, or comment below. Thanks and God bless!

    How Terrorism Fuels Zeal

    By Jeremy Monday, April 22, 2013

    I don't know where to start. What can I do?

    The recent attack at the Boston Marathon is terrible and despicable and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected. The attack has garnered a lot of attention for many reasons, including how rare and unexpected it was.

    Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have a counterintuitive affect on its people. Instead of instilling fear and recreant reactions they tend to inspire unity, strength and resolution. Take, for example, the Boston Bruins opening ceremony, which was the first major sporting event in Boston following the attack:

    Does that sound like a people that have been terrorized? A people that have been shaken in what they believe in? Ah, on the contrary. It is the rekindling of the zealous spirit that all Americans share -- the pride and joy of standing united, despite our (many) differences, in opposition to those who envy our freedom. An echo of the same invigorated spirit we all shared in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    But why? Why do terrorist attacks have this positive affect on Americans? One of the many reasons is that because we have a government that, while often taken for granted, seeks immediate justice for unjust acts.

    Yes, we will find you. And yes, you will face justice. We will find you. We will hold you accountable. But more than that, our fidelity to our way of life, for a free and open society, will only grow stronger, for God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline.

    President Obama, 4/18/2013

    Obama's mention of the Timothy verse resonates so profoundly with how our Lord teaches us to react to those who wish harm upon us. We stand fearless because of God's spirit within us and we act in a powerful, yet loving and self-disciplined way.

    Unfortunately, this same reaction is profoundly more difficult when one doesn't have this same level of support and unity from his/her elected official. And even more difficult when these officials all but publicly condone such acts.

    St. Mark's Cathedral, holiest site for Egypt's indigenous Christians turned into a war zone. Source.

    On Sunday April 7th, 2013, Coptic Christians were terrorized at St. Mark's Cathedral in Egypt after a funeral service mourning the killings of recent victims of religious violence in the area. Muslim extremists threw rocks at the Copts who were angry and protesting coming out of the funeral. Police soon arrived on the scene, which actually made matters even worse. Eye witness, Amir Ramzi explains:

    So [we retreated back into the cathedral], thinking police would come to protect and separate the clashers. We were surprised to find that the police began to intervene and become another party to the conflict, attacking the Copts who were fighting back against the [Muslim] youth who were attacking them, and shooting gas bombs into the cathedral compound, which caused extreme poisoning, to the point that the ambulance cars were not enough to take the sick. Source.

    You can read more about what really happened on that day in Raymond Ibrahim's report here. Also view photo evidence of the public condoning of the violence by Egyptian officials here.

    Recently, His Grace Bishop David organized a public prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to pray for the victims of both the Boston bombings and the Christian persecution going on in Egypt right now. I was discouraged to see that a Google News search for some level of coverage of the historical event turned up no real results. It seems the only coverage were a few tweets and some announcements by participating churches.

    His Grace Bishop David at the April 21st Prayer Service
    It was a beautiful service that I hope will help shed more light on the atrocities that are happening right now in Egypt. HG Bishop David implored both the U.S. Government (which contributes $1.5bn in aid annually to Egypt) and the "elected" Egyptian Government to protect the indigenous Christian population -- which unfortunately has enacted a constitution full of holes that all but allow for the suppression of Christians and other non-Islamic religions in the country.

    As Copts and as Christians we stand together (with the gracious support of our sister churches) in united prayer as we beseech the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ to deliver His people from the hand of the persecutors and that He open the eyes of those born blind.

    So I asked myself, where do I start? What can I do? At the very least, I can help spread the word. At the most, I can pray. And I can ask you to do the same. God bless you and God bless the people of Egypt.

    But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;

    Matthew 5:44,45

    Christmas Story Tracker

    By Jeremy Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    The great people over at the YouVersion Bible App are doing something really interesting this year. Every time a YouVersion user reads one of the Christmas story verses, a star will be lit on the live map over at christmas.youversion.com.

    Interesting spin off of the NORD Santa Tracker and it's encouraging to see the map update in real time as people open God's Word and read about the true meaning of Christmas.

    But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

    - Luke 2:10,11

    Merry Christmas!

    His Holiness Pope Tawadros II

    By Jeremy Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    This past Sunday, November 18th saw the official enthronement of HH Pope Tawadros II, who was elected as the 118th Pope and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark on November 4th.

    The ceremony was beautiful and filled with emotion as we mourn the passing of the late Pope Shenouda III and begin a new chapter in Coptic history with Pope Tawadros II.

    The entire Enthronement Ceremony can be viewed here, thanks to the stgeorgejc channel. You can also view the Altar Lot here, or the entire Altar Lot Liturgy here.

    Of particular note that I'd like to share is a Letter to the New Pope by Fr. Tadros Malaty, which elegantly explains the early controversy that developed as the new papal selection process began and how the faith and prayer of the Church withstood by God's grace.

    We came in touch with the amazing work of God, after the despair, the pessimism and the frustration that controlled the hearts of many people. God’s work was fulfilled in a very peaceful way. Everybody accepted it. People became joyous.

    It is not right for the believer to worry about the future of the Church. It is always in the Good Shepherd’s hand. He is the Lover of the salvation of mankind.

    The believer should not expect the new Pope to be an Icon for one of the previous Popes, no matter how holy he was. Everyone has his own personality which is bestowed by God, and has his own talents and is worthy to carry our Lord Jesus Christ’s icon and not a human icon.

    - Excerpt from Letter to the New Pope, Fr. Tadros Malaty

    May God continue to watch over His people and give guidance and wisdom to HH Pope Tawadros II as he leads the Church.

    5 Remaining Papal Candidates

    By Jeremy Monday, October 15, 2012

    Below is a brief biography of each of the 5 remaining Papal Candidates.

    Papal Candidates 118

    The timeline for the election is as follows:

    • A three-day fast on November 19-21
    • On November 2nd, the list of 5 will be voted on and reduced to 3 remaining candidates.
    • A three-day fast on November 26-28
    • On 2 December, one of three final nominees will be chosen by a blindfolded child, in accordance with Coptic papal tradition following mass at St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo's Abbasiya district.

    Shortly thereafter there will be a special ceremony to enthrone the newly elected Pope as the 118th Papal Seat.

    We pray that God guides us and appoints for us a new shepherd to lead His people in His wisdom.

    via davidbebawy.com, copticworld.com, fromallnations.org

    H.H. Pope Shenouda III

    By Jeremy Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    The Coptic Church grieves the departure of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. He was truly an inspiration to us all -- uniquely to bishops, priests, mothers, fathers down to the very youth of our Church. It would be difficult to find anyone who was not in some way touched, positively and deeply by the example HH has set before us. He truly is a remarkable servant of our Lord and he has somehow pushed each one of us closer towards our Good Shepherd.

    Below are His Holiness' words to his people after his departure:

    These words are words from His Holiness Pope Shenouda talking to his children. These are words of comfort and condolences to you all:

    I am your father and teacher, all of you my children,listen to my commandments, for I ask you my beloved children, preserve and look after the faith of the Holy Trinity.

    I ask my beloved children, love one another with a true love.
    I ask you my beloved, do good with all humanity.
    I ask my beloved children, do not let the world deceive you.
    I ask you my beloved children, do not fall short or “be not eager” in the service of the Lord.
    I ask you my beloved children, to pray without ceasing and tirelessly.
    I ask you o my beloved children, preserve your tongues from causing any division.
    I ask of you my beloved children, to preserve the Holy Baptism that was granted to you.
    I ask of you my beloved children, preserve your body pure for the Lord.
    I ask of you my beloved children, do not ever lamp weaken without light.
    I ask of you my beloved children, preserve the commandments that God gave to you.
    I ask of you my beloved children, that the fear of God be within you.

    God is witness, my beloved children, that I did not keep any of God’s words away from you…that I never ever slept my children, and be blamed by any one of you…that if you preserve and keep what I have told you, you will crush the head of the serpent and dragon. So hence, if you preserve and keep what I have said to you, you will eat of the goodness of the earth. So hence, if you preserve and keep what I have said to you, the shinning Cherobeam will guard you. So hence, if you preserve and keep what I have said to you, you will never lack of the Heavenly gifts.

    I ask of you my beloved children, to ask of Christ for my soul, that it may have comfort in front of Him, and do not count my short falls, unknowingly and unwillingly.

    (Then he directs his talks to the Bishops, clergy and priests)

    I ask for your love and I plead to your reverence, to absolve me from everyone. And now, I am far from you and left you, and I cannot see your faces. And now I ask of you all, that you exhaust yourselves in prayers for me, remembrance in the Holy Liturgies, that my Master may accept me to Him, and forgive me.

    And I ask Christ, the Great Shepherds of Shepherds, that he may elect for you a righteous shepherd according to His Will and heart, that he may shepherd you and your matters and watch for the salvation of your souls.

    Pope Shenouda III

    We pray that our Lord may repose the soul of our beloved father in the Paradis of Joy and to strengthen His Coptic Church more than ever. We ask and entreat our good Father to accept the prayers and supplications of His Holiness on our behalf.

    The Plagues of Egypt Series

    By Jeremy Friday, February 24, 2012

    Cleverly designed posters of the 10 plagues of Egypt by jergot+gotroch. Just loved the designs and thought behind each one of these and wanted to share. Enjoy and God bless!

    1 / Plague of Blood


    15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. 16 "And you will say to him, "The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now." 17 "Thus says the Lord, "By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 "And the fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul; and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.""" 19 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, "Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone."
    Exodus 7:15-19

    The rest after the break...

    H.H. Pope Shenouda III on Maspero Martyrs in Egypt

    By Jeremy Friday, October 14, 2011

    Because of their love for God and God's love for them, He allowed them to ascend to heaven before us.

    + H.H. Pope Shenouda III

    US-funded Egyptian Military Kills Civilians

    By Jeremy Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Help end Coptic persecution in Egypt
    This is deeply somber news. Unfortunately, things have not gotten any better since the January 25th protests. Please take a moment to read this letter to be sent to congress and consider signing your name to the petition.

    On Sunday, October 9, 2011, the Egyptian Army brutally attacked a peaceful protest in Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 24 civilians and injuring at least 300. In one case, a military tank ran over a protester's head, smashing it to pieces. Mina Daniel, a youth activist who protested in Tahrir for the 18 days of the January 25th Revolution and survived, was among those killed during today's protest. Thugs have also attacked the Coptic Hospital in El-Daher, Cairo, where the injured are being treated. The protesters were made up of Muslims and Christians protesting the burning of a church in Aswan, Egypt.

    Continue reading...

    Sign on Petition2Congress.com

    Another petition requesting that the $1.3B in US annual aid to Egypt be cut off until something is done about these acts can also be found here.

    The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church under the leadership of Pope Shenouda III met with seventy Bishops, on Monday October 10, 2011 in the Papal residence, Cairo, Egypt to discuss the events of the prior day in front of Maspiro where 24 of our beloved children were killed and at least 200 injured.

    Coptic Christians feel that their problems are always being repeated without accountability and without the due justice of the law.Eyewitnesses & countless photographs and videos recount how the Egyptian Military used armored vehicles to mow down peaceful protesters.

    WE PLEA to the President, and Congress, to push for a full investigation,to bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to cut off military aid until FULL COMPLIANCE.

    Continue reading...

    We pray that God may have mercy and accept our repentance and bring all this to a peaceful resolution.

    UPDATE: Here's another petition. Please consider signing...

    Let There Be Light!

    By Jeremy Thursday, September 22, 2011

    This incredible charity is setting out to provide light to the poor using an ingenious light source — solar powered soda bottles. Brilliant!

    Check out the video below to learn more:

    And, visit the website to see how you can help out:

    "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."
    (Genesis 1:3)

    Golgotha - Good Friday 2011

    By Jeremy Saturday, April 23, 2011

    32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
    35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:

    “They divided My garments among them,
    And for My clothing they cast lots.”

    36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:


    Matthew 27


    By Jeremy Tuesday, April 19, 2011

      3 He is despised and rejected by men, 
          A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 
          And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; 
          He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 
           4 Surely He has borne our griefs 
          And carried our sorrows; 
          Yet we esteemed Him stricken, 
          Smitten by God, and afflicted. 
           5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, 
          He was bruised for our iniquities; 
          The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, 
          And by His stripes we are healed. 

    Isaiah 53

    Contemplation on Paschal Hymn "Thine is the Power" by H.H. Pope Shenouda III

    Hosanna in the Highest

    By Jeremy Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your King is coming to you;
    He is just and having salvation,
    Lowly and riding on a donkey,
    A colt, the foal of a donkey.

    Zechariah 9:9